How Jon Gruden's Relentless Praise Is Ruining Monday Night Football

Chris Trapasso@ChrisTrapassoAnalyst IAugust 22, 2012

photo courtesy: Associated Press
photo courtesy: Associated Press

If Jon Gruden were the sole voter to determine the NFL's All-Pro team, each conference's roster would simply include all the pros. 

At least it seems that way. 

For the last three years, football fans have been inundated with Gruden's relentless praise—so much so that it's ruining the American institution that is Monday Night Football. 

To some, Gruden's just the eccentric commentator who brings a unique perspective to the broadcast as a former Super Bowl-winning head coach. 

To others, his incessant compliments for every player shown on an instant replay are reminiscent of the shrill noise of nails down a chalkboard.

Furthermore, and most importantly, his never-ending optimism for what seems like all 22 players on the field makes warranted admiration indecipherable from the absolutely nonsensical. 

This isn't a knock on Gruden's coaching past, knowledge of football or passion for the game itself. He was known as an extremely dedicated head man, certainly understands the X's and O's of football and is undeniably passionate.  

If he's so plugged in to the NFL game, why does he feel the need to water down MNF by throwing out positive analysis like "participation awards" in today's youth sports?

What Gruden needs to understand is football fans are smarter than ever before, and they weren't necessarily ever considered "stupid," especially when it came to their favorite team.

Being optimistic is one thing. Saying "I really like (insert name)"—regardless of a guy's past history or skill level—then diving into what is clearly erroneous analysis following every snap is downright embarrassing.

Sometimes, it's almost as if ESPN has the biggest, most ill-informed fan of each Monday Night Football contestant calling the game with Mike Tirico every week, gushing over the organization's true stars and inaccurately characterizing typically inconsistent and victimized role players as Pro Bowlers after one solid play. 

Gruden can't be afraid to examine an out-of-position defender, someone who inexplicably missed a tackle or a guy who's having a down year. 

The facts should speak for themselves, and an objective eye is what ESPN owes its legion of viewers. 

Gruden's an intrinsically entertaining football mind and personality. On the surface, he should be fantastic for television. But the bright lights of Monday Night Football have paralyzed him with fear in voicing a negative opinion. 

It's OK, Jon. You can break down a nickel cornerback who's having a bad night or state the accuracy issues the backup quarterback who's replacing an injured starter has had while failing on three other NFL teams.

We all want Gruden's unique insight, but not if he continues to make a case for seemingly every player as an All-Pro.