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ESPN Extends Gruden as 'MNF Analyst'

Somehow Spider Y 2 Banana has translated into a multiyear contract extension for Jon Gruden as Monday Night Football's lead analyst.

Gruden, along with boothmate Mike Tirico, announced at halftime of the New Orleans Saints-Chicago Bears game last night that the employment deal is now co-terminus with ESPN's rights deal with the NFL franchise through the 2021 seasson

The announcement should end the parlor game that typically has Gruden's name linked annually with various NFL coaching openings. Gruden, who ranks Spider Y 2 Banana among his favorite play calls, coached the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 11 seasons, capturing the Super Bowl XXXVII crown with his second team defeating his previous employer.

Since joining ESPN in May 2009, Gruden has tackled four Sports Emmy Award nominations in the best analyst category, while helping MNF earn four show nominations for best live series.

Additionally, he has been widely praised for his groundbreaking SportsCenter Special: Gruden’s QB Camp series, which has become part of ESPN’s annual coverage in the lead-up to NFL Draft. Over the past five years, he has conducted in-depth, one-on-one interviews and film sessions with top quarterback prospects such as Andrew Luck, Johnny Manziel, Cam Newton and eventual Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson.

Gruden has also contributed to ESPN’s NFL Draft and Super Bowl week coverage, major college football bowl games and other platforms. Next month, he will be part of the MNF team that calls ESPN’s first-ever NFL Playoff game, as well as the NFL Pro Bowl on Jan. 25.

“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 John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president, programming and production. “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.”

"Being a part of Monday Night Football alongside our ESPN crew is a dream job," said Gruden. “I love calling big primetime 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.”