ESPN's search to replace Jon Gruden on Monday Night Football may start with Peyton Manning
Once and for all, the Grumors can finally end. We no longer have to worry about Jon Gruden’s name being attached to job openings year in and year out after he successfully parlayed years of rumors into an insane 10-year, $100 million deal with the Raiders.
So the question now for ESPN is who will replace Gruden in the booth for Monday Night Football?
According to ESPN executive Stephanie Druley, who was recently interviewed by Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch, Matt Hasselbeck and Peyton Manning are among the names the company will explore. Druley also added that ESPN would like to have this search conclude by spring.
While Hasselbeck, currently employed by ESPN, may be a more viable option to replace Gruden on Monday Night Football, it sounds as if Manning is the one ESPN would most like to fill the role. Whether Manning is interested in the position is the real question.
Here’s a an excerpt from Deitsch’s piece that touches on Manning and ESPN’s interest in the Tennessee legend:
The white whale for all NFL television rightsholders is Peyton Manning, who has not shown any interesting in broadcasting so far. Asked whether the network would reach out to Manning on the remote chance he was interested, Druley said that Manning is aware of ESPN’s interest but nothing beyond that at this time. “We like Peyton Manning,’ Druley said. “And we would be foolish not to talk him.”
There’s been much speculation that Manning will attempt to join the front office of an NFL franchise in the future, so the question he may have to ask himself is if taking this job will get him any closer to that goal. When Manning hit free agency a few years ago, he wisely chose Denver based on several criteria, but perhaps most important was the presence of John Elway.
If Manning hopes to follow in Elway’s footsteps off the field as well as he did on it, he likely won’t be joining the broadcast booth anytime soon.