Ron Jaworski has signed a five-year extension with ESPN for a new, expanded multiplatform NFL analyst role that includes appearances on Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown, NFL Matchup, NFL-branded specials, Mike & Mike in the Morning, Pardon the Interruption, and other platforms and shows throughout the year. Also, ESPN’s Monday Night Football will have a new two-person commentator team for the first time during the 2012 NFL season with Mike Tirico and analyst Jon Gruden.
Jaworski, the former Philadelphia Eagles standout quarterback, will have a greater year-round presence on ESPN in his new role. In addition to appearing weekly on both Countdown shows and Matchup, Jaworski will make regular appearances on SportsCenter (primarily Sundays and Mondays), NFL Live, NFL Kickoff, Mike & Mike, and the PTI’s “Five Good Minutes”. He will also be featured in ESPN’s annual NFL Draft and Super Bowl week coverage, in addition to having his own NFL-themed SportsCenter Special shows highlighting his expert analysis and X’s and O’s film evaluations.
Jaworski has covered the league from virtually every angle since joining ESPN in 1990, including sideline reporter, game-site reporter, host, and both studio and game analyst. He served as a MNF analyst the past five seasons.
“I am grateful for having the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of working on Monday Night Football the past five seasons with Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and so many other talented people behind the scenes who make the show so great, and I look forward to bringing my passion and knowledge of the game to more fans in more places than ever before on any and all football topics,” said Jaworski.
“I thank Ron for the great contributions he has made to Monday Night Football and look forward to the many ways he will enhance our studio presentation from our NFL-branded shows to SportsCenter,” 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.”
With Jaworski’s new role, Tirico, one of the industry’s top play-by-play voices, and Gruden, the dynamic Super Bowl-winning head coach, will combine to give ESPN one of the top duos in NFL broadcasting. In addition to working alongside Jaworski the past three seasons on Monday nights, Tirico and Gruden have called a number of college football bowl games together, including the 2011 and 2012 Outback Bowl games, and the 2011 BCS National Championship (with Todd Blackledge) on ESPN Radio. They will make their regular season MNF debut on September 10.
The Tirico-Gruden pairing marks just the sixth time in MNF’s 42-year history that sports television’s signature series will feature a two-person commentator team. In addition, this will be the first time in 15 years that ESPN has used a two-person lead team on its NFL game coverage. The last was Mike Patrick and Joe Theismann who called Sunday Night Football games together from 1988-1997.
ESPN’S MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
ESPN’s Monday Night Football has ranked as the most-watched series on cable television for six straight years, drawing 14 of the 2011 calendar year’s 20 biggest cable household audiences, and 13 of the top 20 among viewers. ESPN’s 17 Monday Night Football telecasts in 2011 averaged a 9.7 rating (8.4 US rating), representing an average of 9,589,000 households (13,252,000 viewers – P2+), according to Nielsen. Additionally, ESPN ranked as the No. 1 network each Monday night last season among the coveted key male demographics (M18-34 and M18-49). Since its debut on ESPN in 2006, MNF has registered seven of the top 10 all-time biggest household audiences in cable history (three Bowl Championship Series college football games – which also aired on ESPN – occupy the other top 10 spots).
* Quotes from Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden on today’s announcement on ESPN Front Row