NFL Specials: Who Will Replace Jon Gruden on Monday Night Football?

by Kevin Roberts
on January 8, 2018
All odds that are referenced in this article were taken from BetOnline at 11:01 am CT on 1/8/2018. These odds may have changed since the time of this writing.

At one point in time, there were probably NFL prop bets dealing with where Jon Gruden would coach next. Some dealt with a possible move to college football (namely the Tennessee Volunteers), while others specifically named the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

These props could be found across the web for years, too. As much of an icon as Gruden had turned into as the head man on Monday Night Football’s weekly production, he was constantly remembered as the guy that helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win their first ever (and only) Super Bowl title.

Needless to say, whenever a big coaching vacancy popped up, he was routinely tossed into the conversation. Gruden always denied interest and year after year, he remained in the booth.

Nine years later, however, Chucky is back in the NFL. Recent reports have confirmed officially that he and the Oakland Raiders agreed to a 10-year, $100 million contract.

It took some time for it to truly come to fruition and Gruden was of course hesitant to admit it, even as recently as Saturday:

Everything is out in the open now, however, as Gruden has officially assumed his post and is back to lead the Raiders.

While it will be interesting to see how he shakes things up and where Oakland goes from here under his guidance, there is a new NFL prop out there now that he’s finally moved on from MNF.

Who Will Replace Gruden?

Top NFL betting sites like BetOnline are already wondering aloud who might replace Jon Gruden as the head color commentator on Monday Night Football.

There have been a lot of changes in the MNF production over the years, but the mainstay has been Gruden, who has been personable, informative and genuinely innovative.

Every analyst is at risk of disappointing some fans, but Gruden was one of the better commentators on the scene, across the board. The MNF crew now has the tough task of finding a suitable replacement, presumably to work alongside play-by-play man, Sean McDonough.

There are a lot of options to consider, but here are the best bets BetOnline lists with their current odds:

  • Peyton Manning (+250)
  • Kurt Warner (+450)
  • Louis Riddick (+450)
  • Matt Hasselbeck (+700)
  • Bruce Arians (+800)
  • Tim Tebow (+1000)
  • Jesse Palmer (+1000)
  • Randy Moss (+1200)
  • Ron Jaworski (+1400)
  • Boomer Esiason (+1400)
  • Dan Fouts (+1600)
  • Jim Harbaugh (+2000)
  • Phil Simms (+2000)
  • Rex Ryan (+2500)
  • Mike Golic (+2800)
  • Scott Van Pelt (+10000)
  • John Madden (+10000)
  • Greg Cosell (+10000)
  • Bill Belichick (+10000)

This is a very interesting list, both because it has some pretty strong candidates and it’s also full of options that simply don’t have a chance in nabbing this job.

Ideally, bettors would have an “any/field” bet to consider with this NFL prop bet, as there are surely some other outside candidates that could be floated as replacement options.

Going off of this list, though, it’s probably safe to rule out three of the final four options with bloated +10000 odds to replace Gruden.

Belichick isn’t going anywhere. There have been rumors of a rift in New England, but he’s built a dynasty and it’d truly be shocking if he left it at this point.

John Madden isn’t a realistic option, either. Madden is 81 and has been retired from broadcasting since 2009. A return to the MNF scene isn’t impossible, but it feels highly improbable.

Scott Van Pelt is certainly a viable option in terms of knowledge, personality and the way the ESPN alum carries himself, but he’s already a huge star for regular programming on the network. It wouldn’t make sense for ESPN to uproot him from a successful spot at this point.

Greg Cosell doesn’t seem like a bad choice, as he’s a huge name in the industry and has loads of broadcasting experience. He’s highly regarded as a brilliant NFL mind, too, but it’s unclear how he’d be received in a national spotlight.

Other names on this list don’t make much sense. Esiason, Fouts, Golic, Jaworski and Simms all have the experience and knowledge to handle the job, but they also have positions they fill currently and would be arguable downgrades from the more likable Gruden.

Palmer and Tebow could be interesting young guns to start over with, but again, these are two key cogs in ESPN’s college football programming. It might not make sense to take a big piece out of their NCAA puzzle, just to fulfill needs in their weekly NFL show.

Bruce Arians is really only mentioned because he’s freshly retired and may want to get into broadcasting. He may do just that, but he and Rex Ryan aren’t really equipped for such a huge role so quickly.

Jim Harbaugh is an odd mention here. He’s stationed at Michigan with the Wolverines and has exhibited no intention of bolting anytime soon. If he did, it’d make more sense for him to latch on with an NFL team as a head coach, instead of inserting himself into the Monday Night Football booth.

Kurt Warner and Matt Hasselbeck are two more palatable options, but they lack excitement and don’t have the same draw Gruden does.

In fact, of this entire list, the only talent that may offer the total package is Peyton Manning. Arguably one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, Manning has displayed elite ability on the field, but has also developed his celebrity persona in commercials and Saturday Night Live skits.

If Monday Night Football wants a replacement for Gruden that will carry wit, knowledge and reel fans in with their personality, Manning is probably the pick. Manning doesn’t have experience with broadcasting, but he’s hosted award shows and knows football as well as anyone.

After seeing how successful Tony Romo has been as a color analyst in his first season on the job, the idea of Manning being an instant hit makes sense. Manning is the understandable favorite and for me, the easy pick if you’re placing early bets.

Pick: Peyton Manning (+250) 

There are just a couple of problems here. For one, the value isn’t staggering. If you want to bet hard on Manning, I’d suggest picking 1-2 value plays in this list to stretch things out.

Secondary options like Bruce Arians and Tim Tebow could be worth a shot.

Again, I’d really like the option to either expand this list with additional options, or at least have a “field” bet. There are other big names that could rise up in the near future.

Jay Cutler is probably done in the league after flaming out with the Miami Dolphins this year, Brett Favre has always been a huge name for broadcasting conversations and there is also a long line of analysts that could vie for this coveted position.

For now, Peyton Manning is in the lead and when you look at the big picture, he absolutely makes the most sense in this current crop of options.

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