And so ends the Tony Kornheiser experiment on Monday Night Football. ESPN announced today, in a bit of a surprise, that Tony Kornheiser was stepping down as a color commentator on Monday Night Football. The network has replaced him with former head coach Jon Gruden. Prior to this Gruden helped with the NFL Network's 2009 NFL Draft coverage.
It's safe to say that Tony Kornheiser had his detractors. Personally I thought he had his good moments, but there was a lot of inconsistency. When the network added Ron Jaworski to the booth, it further amplified the problem. I understand wanting a mix of football knowledge and random knowledge, but it just never quite clicked completely. I'm a big fan of Jaworski in the booth because he brings serious football knowledge to the table. I enjoy Kornheiser's work on Around the Horn but it just didn't quite cross over. It seems like with TK and Dennis Miller the network was trying to force the Howard Cosell non-sports type of guy in there.
It will be interesting to see how the 3-person booth works now with the addition of Jon Gruden. The pluses? Well, I was actually somewhat entertained by Gruden during the NFL Draft. I only watched NFL Network coverage and while he certainly has room for improvement, I thought he brought a little something to the table. He brought some insight and he brought a good sense of humor.
The drawback to Gruden being in the booth? As a young former coach, doesn't it seem likely that he wants to get back into coaching sometime soon? Awful Announcing made a good point in that this could easily be a one or two year fill-in. How can you develop significant on-air chemistry, knowing there's a good chance you'll be replacing this guy sooner rather than later?
So what do you folks think about this? Were you happy with Tony Kornheiser? Happier with Gruden? It certainly has me intrigued for now, which I guess is a good start for them.