Monday Night Football may finally have the winning formula after a comic, a columnist, and Cosell.
ESPN announced today that former Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden will replace Tony Kornheiser in the broadcast booth for the upcoming season of Monday Night Football beginning with the preseason in Arizona on August 13 in a Super Bowl rematch between the Cardinals and world champion Pittsburgh Steelers.
Gruden, 45, joins Mike Tirico and long-time ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski.
The regular season opener will be a doubleheader as the New England Patriots host division rival Buffalo at 7 pm followed by the San Diego Chargers visiting the Oakland Raiders at 10:15.
Kornheiser, who began his tenure in the booth in 2006, will remain at ESPN in his spot as co-host of Pardon the Interruption with Michael Wilbon.
With a documented history of a fear of flying, Kornheiser said to ESPN:
"I am totally grateful for the MNF opportunity that I truly enjoyed the last three seasons," he said. "I feel we got better each year. My fear of planes is legendary and sadly true. When I looked at the upcoming schedule it was the perfect storm that would've frequently moved me from the bus to the air. I kept looking at the schedule the past month and wanted to find a way to quietly extricate myself."
During his tenure as the third man in the booth, many fans criticized Kornheiser and found him to be just as bad as comedian Dennis Miller who joined ABC's football broadcast team in 2000 with Al Michaels.
Gruden was fired by the Raiders after the 2001 season and took the Buccaneers to a victory in Super Bowl XXXVII the very next season against Oakland.
The former Mike Holmgren apprentice was let go in Tampa after a 60-57 regular season record, three division titles, and one Super Bowl victory.