Tha Sports Junkies 101

Jon Gruden and Monday Night Football Crew Preview NFL Season

Jon Gruden donbjacobs via


Jon Gruden, Sean McDonough, Lisa Salters, and Monday Night Football producer Jay Ruthman hosted a conference call for ESPN previewing the 2016 NFL season this morning.

The NFL season is upon us, which means Monday Night Football is back. This will be the programs 47th season on television and their 11th season with ESPN. Jon Gruden and the Monday Night Football crew took some questions about the upcoming season.

Sean McDonough is entering his first year on the Monday Night Football crew, where he will be only the fifth play-by-play voice in the programs history. He will debut on the first Monday Night game of the year when the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Washington to face off against the Redskins. He opened the call talking about his excitement heading into the season.

“I am very humbled and honored to be joining this iconic sports franchise. . . I’ve known Jon and Lisa for a little bit, admired them mostly from afar. Having spent a lot of time with them this summer, its going to be even more fun than I thought.”

Most of the questions were directed towards Jon Gruden, who is entering his 8th season as a color commentator for Monday Night Football. He was asked about the state of the future for teams, as well as quarterbacks in the NFL and how they will change the game. With the Pittsburgh Steelers set to play the first Monday Night game of the season, Gruden made some bold comments when asked about Mike Tomlin and company.

“[Tomlin] has been able to adapt to change. . . Offensively, lets be honest, the rubber meets the road with Roethlisberger and the skill that they have. You can say Roethlisberger is as good as anybody playing. I personally think Le’Veon Bell is the best back in all of football. And I got Antonio [Brown] #1 on my team also. So they are loaded, and they can outscore you, and if their defense can continue to be creative and get stops, they are going to be in the playoffs again, and thats a credit to Mike certainly and their entire organization.”

On November 21st, Mexico City will host the Oakland Raiders and Houston Texans in what will be the first ever Monday Night Football game hosted outside of the country. With the Raiders possibly moving to Las Vegas, Gruden commented on his feeling about the move.

“The Las Vegas Raiders? I don’t know, man. Thats hard for even me to imagine. The Oakland Raiders has a real place in my heart, I’d hate to see them leave. I love where they are, I love the tradition of the Raiders and I’m getting teared up right now thinking about them moving. I certainly understand their situation and I hope it all works out for them. If Las Vegas were to acquire the rights to the Oakland Raiders, I would think that would be interesting.”

Continuing with more on the Raiders, Gruden commented on how Derek Carr is ready to make a leap this year to propel his team to the playoffs. Following his assessment of the Raiders and Derek Carr, I asked Gruden which player in this draft can possibly follow a similar path that Carr has throughout his very young and promising career.

“Carr broke all of my cameras, when we had our Gruden QB camp. We had a little camera in the bullseye, he hit the camera three times in a row and we couldn’t film anymore of the shoot. I don’t think theres anybody in this draft that throws the ball like Carr, he comes down the pipe. . . [Dak] Prescott is the one guy that has a chance to really flourish, because the opportunity number one, and the supporting cast number two. . . I would say Prescott would be the one guy this year to keep an eye on.”

Jon Gruden will continue to be a teacher in the booth throughout the NFL season, and the Monday Night Football crew will travel across the country (and outside the country) to bring primetime football to everybody’s television. Monday Night Football will open the season with a double header featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Washington Redskins at 7:10 pm ET, followed by the San Francisco 49ers squaring off against division opponent Los Angeles Rams at 10:20 pm ET on ESPN.