ESPN commentator Jon Gruden has a quirky habit — some might call it an annoying tick — of referring to players as “this guy.” Instead of calling a player by their last name, which is a widely accepted practice that goes unnoticed by viewers, Gruden will often introduce some fluff-piece factoid about a player by saying, “This guy is the toughest player I’ve ever seen” or “I think this guy is the best player I’ve seen this year.”
How often does Gruden do this? A lot. The fine folks at Sportgrid kept track during last night’s Jets-Texans preseason game, and they counted 11 instances where Gruden said “This guy.” They kindly put the instances together in a montage video.
* Gruden had a total of 11 “This Guy”s, up from 5 last week. Our tally was a bit different than this one, which had Gruden clocked in at 14 total.
* Broken down by quarter, Gruden had none in the 1st, 7 in the 2nd, 4 in the 3rd, and none in the 4th.
* Most of Gruden’s “This Guy”s occurred during a five-minute span in the 2nd quarter, leading us to believe that ESPN’s producers saw his dangerously low output from the 1st quarter and relayed a dramatic “WE NEED MORE ‘THIS GUY’S” plea into the MNF booth.
* We did not count borderline occurrences or slightly altered versions of “This Guy,” such as “These Guys” or “That Guy,” because we’re trying to do serious work here, and if we start counting such occurrences we’ll be headed down a “slippery slope.”
* All of the “This Guy”s were lead-ins to an overwhelmingly positive point about the player in question.
It could be worse. He could refer to players as “that hump,” which I’d be inclined to do.