Jon Gruden: Walking The Fine Line Between Analyst And Homer

  • Mohammed Rahman

The best thing ESPN‘s NFL coverage might be Jon Gruden. There is nothing more exciting to a layman football enthusiast than to see Gruden passionately break down plays with the telestrator. We learn as we watch when Gruden’s on. He knows the fans dig the nuts and bolts of the game, and that’s all he speaks.

The criticism of Gruden, however, is that he isn’t critical at all of players and coaches. In the broadcasting booth, no QB has ever made a bad decision in his eyes. For Broadcaster Gruden, Charlie Whitehurst is the second coming of Johnny Unitas. Yet we know he can be critical – after all, as a coach, he went through more quarterbacks than underwear.

Richard Deitsch, media critic for Sports Illustrated, recently tweeted, “I am begging ESPN to create a channel featuring Jon Gruden praising every American.” Said tongue in cheek, Deitsch obviously is hinting at Gruden’s tendencies to be a homer, while still thinking it can translate to broadcasting gold.

In fact, Gruden’s interviews of top QB prospects of the 2010 draft class were Hard Knocks-esque. Gruden hasn’t lost an ounce of credibility because his passion jumps off the screen.

Gruden had a successful coaching career in the NFL, and one would assume he’d like another shot. Taking shots at current players and former colleagues isn’t a good way to land a head coaching job down the road. But only doing the complete opposite, even if that’s how you truly feel, means opening yourself up to stronger criticism for your announcing work – like a certain ESPN colleague of Gruden.