Former Washington coach and one-year Jaguars offensive coordinator Jay Gruden concedes that he won’t be coaching this year. He’d like to try his hand at media work. In a recent interview with Ben Standig of TheAthletic.com, Gruden demonstrated the kind of candor he’d bring to a studio or a broadcast booth.
Asked whether Gruden has the ability to predict the next play, if he were broadcasting a game, Gruden said publicly what almost every other game analyst has said privately in recent years regarding Tony Romo’s propensity for prognostication.
“I could do it every time,” Gruden said. “He’s only right like 30 percent of the time. Those are usually pretty obvious, I mean. Nobody talks about the times when he’s wrong, but when he’s right, ‘Holy cow, he’s a genius.’ Oh, come on, man. Sure, it’s a run. Nope, it’s a pass. Sorry, I was wrong.”
As George Steinbrenner once said regarding George Costanza, “Hire this man.”
Jay Gruden told the truth, at least as other game analysts see it. Those who played the game, who continue to study it, and who have access to practices and productions meetings, often know exactly what’s going to happen before it happens. They just don’t say so.
Romo recently told Richard Deitsch of TheAthletic.com that the former quarterback reduced the parlor-trick aspect of calling games in 2020.
“I think I’ve probably done it less on purpose a little bit,” Romo said regarding telling the audience what the play will be before it happens. “I don’t consciously try and do it or not do it. I like to be able to do multiple things, and it goes back to what I think people at home want to feel or hear about their team. I’m telling them the truth about everything I see, and you’re not always going to say the right thing or do the right thing. But I do feel like I care and want them to enjoy their game. I take into account anything I do when something might be too much or too little. It’s just a feel. It’s just instinctual. You might be right in the sense that I probably have throttled that back a little bit. But there’s always a time I’ll bring it out, especially if it’s a fun time to do it.”
The reality remains that most game analysts can do it, and that most choose not to. Most also choose not to publicly gripe about Romo doing it (and getting widely praised for it), due to the largely unspoken convention within the broader broadcasting fraternity that they don’t call each other out.
Jay Gruden has yet to hear about that one, apparently. Here’s hoping that he never does. Gruden would be great in a booth or a studio if he’s willing to not pull punches — and in turn to take whatever heat he may get from those who don’t like what he said.