Welcome to another rendition of “Positively Gruden,” where we chronicle the top absurdities, hyperboles, and just plain weirdness from America’s favorite fawning former coach. This week’s match-up, the Packers and Vikings, promised to serve up the perfect Molotov cocktail of Grudenisms, blending the flawless Packers offense with the hapless Vikings, which meant Gruden would have no choice but to fill the blowout void with his commentary. And, indeed, the game did not disappoint on any of these fronts.
Before we get to our to Grudenisms, however, I’d like to take a step back and consider what makes ESPN’s MNF announcing crew so different from any other booths in sports. Just take a five-minute sampling of any MNF broadcast, and try to count the dead air. Ok, let me save you the time. THERE IS NONE! Now, it goes without saying that three-man booths inherently will involve more conversation than a two-man version, but the MNF crew is a three-man booth on speed. Check that, on ecstasy, cut with crystal meth. Gruden and Jaws are not content to simply analyze the game; rather, they engage in a constant one-upmanship of soliloquys that conforms the game to the (lengthy) preconceived points they want to make. Gruden is obviously the focus of this column because his statements are so damn colorful, but Jaws is just as culpable. (Maybe some day we’ll have a “Jubilantly Jaws” column.). Just once, I’d like to see, er, these guys take a breath and have an actual conversation where they listen to what each other says and then respond.
Of course, then I wouldn’t have any material for this column. So ignore everything I just said.
Here are some of the best Grudenisms from last night’s blowout:
“Charles Woodson is a wrecking machine tonight”
“Don’t tell me that Jared Allen’s motor isn’t running HOT right now. He’s made plays in the running game; he’s made plays in the passing game. Pro Bowl defensive end. Heading back.”
After a Rodgers bullet TD pass to Greg Jennings, “I mean that’s just brilliance right there. That’s just the shredder, right there.”
After a Rodgers-Kuhn TD, “This might be the most unselfish football team playing today.” (Wait, is this basketball? I thought the point of football was to pass.)
On Percy Harvin’s upper body strength, “He’s like Marvin Hagler, the boxer”
Channeling his inner Lionel Ritchie, “Jared Allen will not quit, you gotta admire that trait about him. It’s all night long. That’s one of my favorite songs too, by the way.”
“You know what I like about this Christian Ponder is he’s got a vibe about him. A lot of quarterbacks they get in the huddle and they say the play and it’s like you’re doomed, it just sounds like it’s gonna be a bad play. But this guy he gets in there, and he’s like ‘red right make 19, naked right drag slide on 1.’ He presents the plays authority. Great command and leadership for a young quarterback.” (And on the next pass, of course, Ponder throws a pick.)