Bill Simmons’ NFL column includes a special shout-out to ESPN personality Jon Gruden this week. Simmons went on a short tangent while praising Tony Romo to bash Gruden for his bland commentary and probably excellent hand-shake-fulness. Via The Ringer:
One of the many best things about the Romo-on-TV era? He exposed color analysts like Jon Gruden, ESPN’s handsomely paid star who won’t ever criticize a quarterback or a coach, isn’t funny and rarely offers anything beyond generic bullshit. ESPN loves Gruden because ESPN is run, for the most part, by middle-aged white guys who spent the past 15-25 years living in central Connecticut. Every time Gruden strolls into a production room or a broadcast truck, starts doling out firm handshakes and remembers everyone’s names, they probably react like they just saw Chris Rock on stage in 1997.
Quick tangent: When I did NBA Countdown for two years, every so often during the playoffs when we were on location, the suits would show up to offer “support”—usually in Miami, not so coincidentally. They’d arrive at our preshow meeting wearing blue dress shirts and khaki pants. Usually there were two of them, and again, they were always dressed the same. I nicknamed them the Blue Shirt and Khaki Police (or BSKP for short). They’d sit in our meetings, offer nothing, then spend the rest of their time recapping the previous night’s dinner at Prime 112.
You know what Jon Gruden is probably great at? Buttering up the Blue Shirt and Khaki Police!
Hey man! How are ya! How’s the family? So glad you enjoyed last week’s Gruden Grinder! Love ya bro!
This… sounds 100% accurate actually. From Bill Simmons having a problem making nice with executives in khakis to Jon Gruden somehow having a magnetic personality in the eyes of those same executives.
I understand singling Gruden out because he does Monday Night Football and works for ESPN, but we shouldn’t forget that Romo has blown just about every other color guy out of the water. How is it that Romo is the only affable and knowledgeable guy announcing the NFL? He’s been doing this two months. Gruden is bland, sure, and is probably hedging in case another dream job comes along, but what is everyone else’s excuse?