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ESPN removes Jaworski from Monday Night booth

2009 - Monday Night Football wardrobe fitting

June 25, 2009 - New York, New York - Canali: (l to r) Jon Gruden, Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski ESPN’s Monday Night Football anchor team, John Grudin, Ron “Jaws” Jaworski, and Mike Tirico visit the showroom of clothing designer Canali to be fitted for their 2009 football season wardrobe on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 in New York. Credit: Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ESPN

Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ESPN

ESPN issued a press release on Wednesday entitled: “Ron Jaworski signs five-year extension for new, expanded multiplatform analyst role.”

They buried the lede.

Jaworski’s expanded role won’t include the job he’s most famous for: Monday Night Football. ESPN is moving to a two-man booth in 2012: Jon Gruden and Mike Tirico.

(As Jaws might say: “S---")

Jaworski will be in the studio for ESPN’s many offerings, including Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown.

“I thank Ron for the great contributions he has made to Monday Night Football,” said ESPN President John Skipper. “With two strong analysts in Ron and Jon, these moves will better utilize their strengths and benefit our entire NFL presentation.”

It’s an interesting decision considering that Gruden could seemingly leave ESPN any year and Jaworski will continue to have a big role in the company. Perhaps the network has a replacement in mind (Trent Dilfer?) if Gruden leaves.

We’re headed for an inferior product. I enjoy Gruden in the booth a lot more than Florio, but it was still very valuable to have Jaworski’s X’s and O’s approach there to question Gruden. ESPN says this is not a demotion for Jaworski, but that’s a hard sell. It’s ESPN’s most valuable property and Jaws would surely have loved to remain a part of it. They are choosing to take him off.

This will mark the fourth booth lineup in seven seasons since ESPN took over Monday Night Football.

One thing we like about ESPN’s release: NFL Matchup will be back next year. That’s a relief. Jaworski is one of the best analysts around, so perhaps he’ll raise the level of discourse on the other pregame shows.