At the end of ESPN’s coverage of the Titans upset win over the Chiefs in Kansas City, Sean McDonough offered a heartfelt, touching goodbye to outgoing analyst Jon Gruden.
Gruden will be announced this week as the next coach of the Oakland Raiders, and thus was working his last game for ESPN; McDonough made clear that Gruden was liked and respected not just by his broadcast partner, but by everyone involved with ESPN’s NFL production.
“Coach as we wrap this one up, all of us last night in our production meeting had a chance to tell you what we think about you, and how much you’ve meant to us and to Monday Night Football, and what a great way to send you off. Appropriately so. Good luck with the Oakland Raiders. It’ll be tough for a lot of us on the crew to be impartial when we go into those production meetings and see you next year.”
The handshake wasn’t the greatest, but who could blame them? McDonough’s voice broke down in a less opportune moment shortly before, when the Chiefs thought they had a fumble return for a touchdown that would have potentially saved the game; it was clearly not a fumble upon replay, but McDonough went full Gus Johnson on the call nevertheless:
Gruden took a lighthearted shot at McDonough later on, during what felt like a pre-send off, of sorts:
It was a fun final game for the McDonough/Gruden combination, and whoever ESPN tabs to fill the role will almost certainly not do the job like Gruden did, for (mostly) better and for worse.