Monday Night Moves: Kornheiser Out, Gruden In

Former NFL head coach Jon Gruden, who led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to victory in Super Bowl XXXVII, will join Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski in ESPN’s Monday Night Football booth, replacing Tony Kornheiser, who is leaving after three years.

Gruden will also contribute analysis throughout the year on ESPN Radio and other platforms, as well as being a part of ESPN’s 2010 Pro Bowl telecast and Super Bowl and NFL Draft coverage.

Gruden was an NFL head coach for the past 11 seasons with the Oakland Raiders (1998-2001) and Buccaneers (2002-08), posting a career record of 100-85 and capturing five division titles. He worked as a guest analyst with NFL Network earlier this year, during the NFL Draft and Scouting Combine.

Kornheiser cited airplane travel as the reason behind his departure, saying in a prepared statement, “My fear of planes is legendary and sadly true. When I looked at the upcoming schedule, it was the perfect storm that would’ve frequently moved me from the bus to the air. I kept looking at the schedule the past month and wanted to find a way to quietly extricate myself.”

Gruden was grateful for the opportunity, saying in his own statement, “This is a tremendous opportunity and I am very excited to be associated with ESPN and Monday Night Football. I grew up a fan of Monday Night Football and, whether I’ve coached on Monday night or watched, I’ve hardly missed a game all these years. To join Mike and Jaws in the booth and to work alongside this top-notch team is going to be a real thrill.”

Monday Night Football will kick off its 40th season in September.