Jon Gruden has signed a mutli-year contract extension to remain with ESPN, the network announced during halftime of Monday night's Saints-Bears telecast. The deal will keep him with the Worldwide Leader and, in the network's words, "out of coaching" through 2021, which is the length of ESPN's Monday Night Football contract.
“Jon has been a game-changer for ESPN and for Monday Night Football, entertaining and engaging fans with his vast knowledge of the game and his dynamic personality,” said ESPN executive vice president John Wildhack said in a statement. “Jon has quickly become one of the premier analysts in all of sports and we’re thrilled he’s made this long-term commitment. We look forward to having him as part of our NFL presentation for many years to come.”
Gruden's role with ESPN allows him to stay involved with the game - calling 16 Monday Night games a year, his Gruden QB Camp series and his work with the NFL Draft - while also allowing him the ability to enjoy his free time and his money. Lots and lots of money. They're not trotting him out to Bristol to work an NFL Live shift on a Tuesday in the middle of February, for example. Here's front and center when it matters, and then he goes away.
Likely playing in both the network and the coach's minds is that Gruden has a chance to become this generation's version of John Madden. Only 51, Gruden is already in his sixth with Monday Night Football and the new contract will keep him in place through 13 seasons, when he'll only be 58. There is the potential for Gruden to put in a full 25 years as the color voice of Monday Night Football.
“Being a part of Monday Night Football alongside our ESPN crew is a dream job,” said Gruden. “I love calling big prime-time games every week and spending time with the best players and coaches on the planet, while also finding new ways to teach and talk about football year round. There’s no place I’d rather be.”