Positively Gruden: Best Quotes from the MNF Booth (Vikings vs. Jets)

To say that ESPN’s Monday Night Football coverage is prone to hyperbole would be, well, the biggest understatement in the history of sportswriting.  From this point forward, The Wise Guy will be chronicling the choicest quotes of Tirico Suave, Jaws, and Mr. Positivity himself, Jon Gruden.  Special emphasis tonight will be the announcers’ tiptoeing around the elephant (so to speak) in the room, Favre’s ill-advised multimedia text messages to former Jets employee Jenn Sterger that were, er, intercepted by Deadspin.com.  At the end of the broadcast, we’ll rate the announcing hyperbole on the standard rainbow scale: with grades of either single rainbow, double rainbow, or double rainbow all the way.


Gruden, during video pregame session with L.T.: “I’ve seen you pop guys faces off . . . do you feel like you have one of the best straight arms in the league?”

During the rain delay filler time, Stu Scott, Steve Young, and company have been moved to what looks like a tunnel under the stadium.  They stand awkwardly in a semi-circle, passing the mic around like a doobie as each one talks.  Yes, it’s the World Wide Leader in Sports!

Oh look, it’s the Gruden/L.T. segment again.

Finally, the teams are out, and they get into a fight!  Keyshawn, after a pregame skirmish started by the Vikings: “usually the team that starts the fight is usually the one that gets a beat down on the field.”

First Quarter

Tirico leads the broadcast with the Favre Jenn Sterger story..  I’m impressed.

Gruden: “I think Adrian Peterson, just like you guys, is the guy in pro football running the ball.”

Gruden, after a Sanchez sack: “This Ray Edwards, he’s the Rodney Dangerfield of this front four.”

Second Quarter

Gruden: “This D’Brickashaw Ferguson, he’s got arms that hang down to the ground”

Gruden, making excuses already: “Brett’s out of rhythm.  You have to wonder if Brett is healthy.”

Gruden, after LT has a (pretty routine) blitz pick-up: “Look at the way LaDanian Tomlinson sticks his face in there.  You gotta love those things.”

Jaws: “Mark Sanchez loves to go to Dustin Keller in crunch time”

[Missed final two minutes of first half to watch end of the Giants-Braves game and Bobby Cox’s swan song.  Please comment below if anything absurd was said.]

Gruden, after Sanchez’s second straight bad pass: “it’s tough to play quarterback in New York, I’ll tell you what.”

Third Quarter

Tirico, after a horrible Favre fumble: “that’s the record for most fumbles in a career by one player.”  Another dubious distinction for Favre.

Gruden: “It’s fun calling plays when you’ve got a back like this.  LaDanian Tomlinson, come on in.  Come play back for the Jets.”

Gruden: “Greene is the hammer, and this guy (LT) can do just about anything in the football game you want.”

Gruden: “There are no holes in that defense.  Look at Shaun Ellis.  Try running the ball with him in there. . . . And when you throw the ball, you’re throwing to the best secondary in the National Football League. Good luck.”

Gruden, after two straight completed passes (two straight!) from Favre: “All of a sudden the legend finds a hot hand.  And when it gets hot, it can be magical.”

Jaws, upon Favre reaching 70,000 yards mark: “I cannot even fathom that.  That is amazing, amazing!  70,000 yards.”

Jaws, after Smith’s long return: “Is there anything this guy can’t do? He can run, he can throw, he can catch.”

Gruden: “I can’t say enough about this Minnesota Vikings defense.”

Gruden: “This big guy (Adrian Peterson) can run.  That’s what he did in the offseason was work on his speed.”  I thought he worked on his hands.

Fourth Quarter

Jaws on Peterson: “Every play is the last play of his career.”

Jaws on Ryan: “I would never be surprised by Rex Ryan. He’s an impressive dude, man.” Favre then throws a touchdown, of course.

Gruden, after LT breaks a tackle for a four-yard run, inexplicably complimenting the defense: “These Minnesota Vikings, these front four, Pat Williams, Kevin Williams, Ray Edwards, and Jared Allen.  Scary.”

Gruden, “Ladanian Tomlinson, Tony Richardson, they’re mentoring this kid Shonn Greene.  A lot of people think he can do it all in the National Football League.”  By my count, that’s 17 guys in this game who can do it all.

Jaws, “The awareness of Brett Favre is just incredible.”

Gruden, after Favre to Harvin touchdown, “God, I’d love to see Favre get the ball back.”

Gruden, re Jets, “I don’t think they want Brett Favre to have another chance.” Thank you for stating the obvious.

Tirico, “That’s a clock management F on that play.  Terrible.  Clock management, you don’t need to know football to manage the clock.  That’s a no-brainer.”

Gruden, “Once again Antonio Cromartie is matched up one on one against Randy Moss.  I love this game!”

Gruden, after Favre’s pick 6, “Heck of an effort by Brett Favre.”

Jaws, “You know the one thing about Brett Favre, he’s gonna keep firing.  The guy has amnesia.  He’s gonna try to make a play.”

Jaws, “He’ll get it in the end zone.  He’ll take a shot.  That’s the way he plays the game.”

Final Grade:  Double Rainbow.  We were in single rainbow territory with a truly dreadful game until Favre got his mojo going in the second half.  Just one more drive, and it would have been a true gunslinger lovefest in the booth but, as with Jenn Sterger, Favre made one final ill-advised pass that did not connect . . .and was left with nothing to hold onto but himself.