Monday Night Football

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Monday Night Football
ESPN Monday Night Football logo
Format Sports
Created by Roone Arledge
Directed by Chet Forte (1970–1986)
Larry Kamm (1987)
Craig Janoff (1988–1999)
Drew Esocoff (2000–2005)
Chip Dean (2006–present)
Starring Commentators:
Mike Tirico
Jon Gruden
Lisa Salters
Studio hosts:
Chris Berman
Stuart Scott
Mike Ditka
Keyshawn Johnson
Cris Carter
Tom Jackson
Steve Young
Trent Dilfer
Ray Lewis
Opening theme "All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night" by Hank Williams, Jr. (1989-2011)
"Heavy Action" by Johnny Pearson (2011-present)
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 44
No. of episodes 684 (games)
Production
Producer(s) Roger Lewin
Jay Rothman
Suzy Kolber (uncredited) (2006–present)
Location(s) NFL stadiums
Bristol, Connecticut (studio)
Running time 3+ hours
Production company(s) National Football League
ABC Sports (1970-2005)
ESPN (2006-present)
Broadcast
Original channel ABC (1970-2005)
ESPN (2006-present)
Picture format 480i 4:3 (SDTV) (1970-2010),
480i 16:9 (SDTV) (2011-present),
720p (HDTV)
Original run September 21, 1970 – present
External links
Website

Monday Night Football (MNF) is a live broadcast of the National Football League on ESPN. From 1970 to 2005 it aired on ABC. Monday Night Football was, along with Hallmark Hall of Fame and the Walt Disney anthology television series, one of the longest-running prime time commercial network television series ever, and one of the highest-rated, particularly among male viewers.

Monday Night Football can also be seen in Canada on TSN and RDS, and in most of Europe on ESPN America. On September 7, 2013, The NFL announced that British Eurosport would show Monday Night games live for the 2013 and 2014 seasons.[1] In most of Australia it airs on ESPN Australia, in Portugal on SportTV 3 and SportTV HD and on TV 2 Sport in Denmark, and in some other regions of the world outside the U.S. on ESPN International. A Spanish-language version airs on ESPN Deportes in the U.S. and on ESPN International in Latin America. The games are also made available on regular over-the-air television stations in each participating team's local market so that households without cable television can still see the telecast. Is also available in Portuguese on ESPN Brasil.[2]

As of October 8, 2012, the Monday Night Football franchise had aired a total of 667 games.

On September 8, 2011, the first day of the 2011 regular season, ESPN extended its contract for Monday Night Football for another eight seasons, giving it rights to the broadcasts until 2021. The new deal, valued between $14.2 billion and $15.2 billion, also gives them rights to expanded highlights, international and digital rights, and possibly a Wildcard game.[3] Cable television operators condemned the new contract, noting that ESPN has the highest retransmission consent fees of any national cable television channel, nearly five times higher than the nearest competitor (TNT), and raises fees on an annual basis.[4]

On April 22, 2014, the NFL announced that it had exercised the option in ESPN's new contract to air a wild card playoff game in the 2014-2015 season. It will be the first NFL playoff game ever to be aired on cable. ESPN will also hold exclusive rights to the Pro Bowl from 2015 through 2022 as part of the new rights agreement.[5][6]

Overview[edit]

After 43 years, there now have been a total of 730 games televised by the Monday Night Football franchise.

List of announcers[edit]

Scheduling problems[edit]

To avoid any scheduling unfairness where, just before the first playoff game, a team may have five days off and others six, there is no Monday night game during the final week of the regular season. From 2003 until 2005, one game was played on Thursday and another Monday under the Monday Night Football banner. Starting in 2006, when the series moved to cable, two games are played on the opening Monday night to capitalize on fan interest during "NFL Kickoff Weekend".

Monday night games early in the season are often highly anticipated since records are new, teams usually are showcasing fresh talent and potential, and storylines coming into the season are often played out as fans try to see if these hyped teams are up to form. Since no one knows during the first month of the season if a team is indeed good, or will rebound from a difficult start, interest is usually high for the first few weeks of the MNF season.

Since the MNF schedule is set in April and cannot be changed, the league and network cannot guarantee a late season match up will have any significance or be highly anticipated. Teams thought to be good during the off-season could be out of playoff contention by mid-season; a prime example occurred in 1999, when the 49ers and Falcons both entered the season's final MNF game with 4–11 records. It had seemed like a good pre-season matchup since the Falcons had played in the previous season's Super Bowl and the 49ers coming into the 1999 season had posted 16 consecutive 10-win seasons. It is also possible for a team like the 1999 St. Louis Rams not to be scheduled for a Monday night game because of its dismal record the year before, and many other NFL teams (such as the 2004 Chargers with zero primetime games) have had huge unforeseen turnarounds that result in lack of MNF attention (these teams generally receive multiple MNF spots the year after their breakout success, which is great for viewers if those teams continue to play well, and not so great if they return to mediocrity or worse). However, the forecasting abilities of the NFL's schedule-makers have exhibited uncanny proficiency. Many MNF games occurring later in the season feature at least one team that is either headed to the playoffs or must win the MNF game to clinch a playoff spot.

The problem of having a national spotlight game which during the season's most critical weeks late in the year probably would not show the most important game of the week was long known by the League and Network. As a result of this, the League wished to move the "Game of the Week" idea to Sunday nights as to make flex scheduling possible. This was a move which would ultimately mean the end of Monday Night Football on ABC. (Cable games are protected from the NFL's flexible scheduling rule adopted for the 2006–07 season. The new rule applies only to CBS, Fox, and NBC's Sunday night games.) The League currently has no interest in expanding flexible scheduling to include Monday Night Football, citing the logistical issues of moving games back and forth between Sundays and Mondays.

Franchises with the most appearances[edit]

The franchise with the most Monday night appearances is the Miami Dolphins, followed by the Dallas Cowboys.

The most common Monday Night Football pairings are Broncos vs. Raiders (17 match-ups as of 2013), Cowboys vs. Redskins (will meet for a 16th time in 2014) and Dolphins vs. Jets (will meet for a 13th time in 2014).

Candlestick Park in San Francisco has hosted the most Monday Night games, including its 36th and final Monday night game on December 23, 2013. Among the active stadiums following the conclusion of the 2013 season, Sun Life Stadium will have hosted the most games with 32.[7]

Franchise with the most victories[edit]

The San Francisco 49ers won their 44th Monday Night game with a 27-6 win over the Washington Redskins on November 25, 2013[8]

As entertainment[edit]

Monday Night Football has continued to provide as much entertainment as sports throughout its run. In addition to the extra cameras, the show has also pioneered technological broadcast innovations, such as the use of enhanced slow motion replays and computerized graphics.

Celebrity guests, such as former Vice President Spiro Agnew, singers Plácido Domingo and former Beatle John Lennon, President Bill Clinton, and even Kermit the Frog, were often featured during the game to "liven up" the broadcast. The December 9, 1974 contest featured a rare instance of two celebrities entering the booth, with Lennon being interviewed by Howard Cosell and California governor Ronald Reagan speaking with Gifford, with Reagan explaining the rules of American football (off-camera) to Lennon as the game went along. However, the late 1990s and early 2000s saw an even more increased reliance on the entertainment factor. Some halftime shows, featuring popular music stars, were broadcast in full rather than being ignored in favor of analysis of the game by the commentators, as in previous seasons.

Hank Williams, Jr. reworked his country music hit "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight" to be included in the telecast's introduction as "All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night". (The original introduction music was an organ-based piece called "Score", written by Charles Fox and recorded by Bob's Band.) In addition, Edd Kalehoff modernized the classic "Heavy Action" theme in 1989. It was Williams, Jr. who literally had the last word on ABC's last broadcast, with his rendition of Don Meredith's famous line, "Turn Out the Lights, The Party's Over", shown as the broadcast ended.[9] On October 23, 2006, Hank Williams Jr. shouted the catchphrase, live, on top of the "Cowboy star" at the 50-yard line of Texas Stadium before kickoff of the Dallas Cowboys game that evening.

In December 1980, one of the most memorable moments of MNF occurred when Cosell announced in a news flash that John Lennon had been shot and killed in New York City. MNF was the first national broadcast to announce his death.

2000s[edit]

2006 summary[edit]

For its 2006 debut on ESPN, Williams, Jr. re-recorded the MNF opening theme with an all-star jam band that included Brian Setzer, Little Richard, Questlove, Joe Perry, Clarence Clemons, Rick Nielsen, Bootsy Collins, Charlie Daniels, Steven Van Zandt and others. The 2006 telecast generally began with a cinematic tease produced by Rico Labbe, Michael Sciallis and Jason Jobes. It was during one of these teases that Barack Obama spoofed his announcement for the 2008 Presidential candidacy in favor of his hometown Chicago Bears in their game against the St. Louis Rams.[10]

The tease is followed by the show open produced by Los Angeles-based The Syndicate called Transformation. It features computer-generated imagery showing a city being transformed into a football stadium and passers-by on the street turning into players, coaches, fans, and officials set to an updated orchestral treatment of the "Heavy Action" theme song. The sequence begins every week with a different celebrity walking down the street, picking up a glowing football helmet with the ESPN logo on the side and saying, "I'm ready for some football! Are you?", thus beginning the transformation process. Celebrities for 2006 included Arnold Schwarzenegger, Matthew Fox, Hugh Hefner, Paris Hilton, Spike Lee, Ashton Kutcher, Samuel L. Jackson, Ludacris, Jack Black, Kiefer Sutherland, James Belushi, Ben Stiller, Tyra Banks, Carmen Electra and Eva Longoria.

Also, the stars returned in full force to the booth, though this proved to be the major criticism of ESPN's first MNF season. On the opening weekend, Arnold Schwarzenegger, another celebrity turned California governor, was in the booth at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland, California; before that, Jamie Foxx appeared at FedExField in suburban Washington, D.C. Following them have included NBA basketball superstar Dwyane Wade, Basketball Hall of Fame player Charles Barkley, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Jeff Gordon, comedian Jimmy Kimmel (whose opening words to Joe Theismann were "how's the leg?"), actor Sylvester Stallone, director Spike Lee, hip hop artist Jay-Z, and MNF theme singer Hank Williams, Jr.

2007 summary[edit]

ESPN cut back to only one opening tease for the 2007 season. Williams Jr. and the all-star band returned, only this time they played in a "juke joint" set on a country road. The lead singer arrives in a GMC Yukon truck (GMC paid for product placement) with the license plate "BOCEPHUS", which is Williams' nickname. The Syndicate's computer-generated tease was removed and replaced by short pre-taped films focusing on a team or player in the game. Some of them have featured actor Jamie Foxx.

The guest visits continued: Barkley returned to the booth on September 17 in Philadelphia. Other guests throughout the season have included Kimmel (another returnee), Drew Carey, Miley Cyrus, Russell Crowe, and Terry Bradshaw. In addition, Gordon was a halftime guest on the game just before the season-ending Ford 400 and was joined by teammate Jimmie Johnson.

When the game ends, Williams returns to say, "See you in (city that is the site of the next week's game)." Both the open and close contain helmets of the participating teams, organized in the style of a concert poster.

2008 summary[edit]

Despite the de-emphasis on entertainment on the overall telecast, ESPN did bring back Hank Williams, Jr. for his 20th season as part of the opening. This time, the open was set in a private residence. At the end of the song, Williams Jr. touched a foot pump which supposedly contained the helmets of that night's participating teams. The helmets were launched from the home toward the stadium at which the game was held. Through computer-generated imagery, the helmets "land" at midfield during a live shot, and then explode. The "exploding helmets" gimmick was also used at various times in the 1980s and 1990s during the pre-game tease. Williams Jr. then appeared again at the end of the game to promote the next week's matchup.

ESPN also continued to promote upcoming albums through its use in bumper music. On September 29 (Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers), ESPN used "Another Way to Die", a duet between Alicia Keys and Jack White of the White Stripes. The song was part of the soundtrack for the 2008 movie Quantum of Solace, the latest in the James Bond series.

Monday Night Football celebrated their 600th game on Monday, October 20, 2008 in a game where the New England Patriots defeated the Denver Broncos 41–7.

The 39th season of MNF ended December 22, 2008 in Chicago, when the Bears beat the Green Bay Packers, 20–17, in overtime.

2009 summary[edit]

For the 40th season of Monday Night Football, Hank Williams, Jr. is seen on the steps of a building (presumably a museum), surrounded by dancers, football fans, and statues/busts patterned after those at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The statues begin to move and dance along with everyone else in the scene.

The transition to Williams Jr. is a book, with the chapter number (in Roman numerals, sequentially with each week) and a tag line about the game to be played that night.

At the end of the song, Williams Jr. plugged in the cords, thereby launching animated "helmets" into space. The helmets were launched from the building toward the stadium at which the game was held (with the exception of October 5, 2009, when the helmets zoomed towards Brett Favre instead), passing the International Space Station. And just like the previous season as mentioned above, the helmets "land" at midfield during a live shot and then crashed into each other. Williams Jr. appeared again at the end of the telecast to promote the following week's matchup, and the book closed, signifying the end of the "chapter," or game.

The scene was filmed in the summer of 2009 at The Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee.

Before Williams Jr. appears, Frank Gifford gives a short vignette about a memorable moment in the history of Monday Night Football featuring one or both of the teams playing that night's game.

The 40th season of Monday Night Football ended December 28, 2009 with the Minnesota Vikings-Chicago Bears game in Chicago. The Bears defeated the Vikings in overtime, 36–30. The telecast ended with a vignette that featured Gifford taking a look back at highlights of the last 4 decades – and the 40th season – of MNF. After that, the book closed, signifying the end of the season. The 40th season was the highest-rated and viewed season of MNF since ESPN acquired the rights to the broadcast.[11]

2010s[edit]

2010 summary[edit]

The opening was identical to the previous season, except for the final scenes. This time, Williams Jr. turns a wheel filled with paint and then, through computer-generated imagery, colors blast into the air and the helmets containing logos of participating teams are revealed. The helmets stay on top of the building. In one other minor difference, the chapter numbers in the "book" are Arabic numerals, not Roman ones. Gifford is providing new vignettes and the Parthenon scenes are repeated from the year before. The 2010 season marked Williams' 22nd as part of the telecast open.

In an unusual coincidence, both games which had the New York Jets as a home team at New Meadowlands Stadium (now MetLife Stadium) were delayed by heavy rain and lightning. The first time, September 13 against the Baltimore Ravens, the game was delayed 25 minutes; the second delay, prior to the October 11 contest against the Minnesota Vikings, lasted for 40 minutes. Prior to the 9/13 game, the last ESPN telecast to encounter weather problems was on October 2, 1999 (a Sunday night) when lightning halted Seattle Seahawks at Kansas City Chiefs during the second quarter. The first delay forced ESPN to again use ESPN2 for a game telecast, this time for the Chiefs' home opener against the San Diego Chargers. As in 2007, the broadcast was shifted to ESPN once the first game was over.

The game between the Jets and the Vikings was both Brett Favre's first game in East Rutherford since his only season there in 2008 and marked Randy Moss' return to the Vikings. Moss played only four games for Minnesota until he was waived on November 2.

2011 summary[edit]

The opening sequence was set in a closed-studio setting, with Hank Williams Jr. (in his 23rd year) performing with a band in front of a live audience with large video screens in the background. The end of the opening sequence has team logos of that night's participants transitioning into the new ESPN Monday Night Football logo before going to a live shot. On October 3, 2011, ESPN pulled the theme song after Williams appeared on the Fox News Channel program, Fox & Friends, where he compared a golf outing involving Barack Obama, John Boehner, Joe Biden, and John Kasich to "Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu."[12][13] On October 6, 2011, it was announced that Williams would no longer be singing the theme song, and that "All My Rowdy Friends" would no longer be used as its theme, as Williams still owns the song. A statement from ESPN said that the network has "decided to part ways with Hank Williams Jr. We appreciate his contributions over the past years. The success of Monday Night Football has always been about the games and that will continue."[14] Williams commented on the matter: "After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made my decision... By pulling my opening October 3, [ESPN] stepped on the toes of the First Amendment Freedom of Speech, so therefore me, my song, and All My Rowdy Friends are out of here. It's been a great run."[14] With Suzy Kolber reassigned to the new studio show NFL32, and Michele Tafoya having left ESPN for NBC Sunday Night Football, the sideline reporter position was a rotating one.

For the second year in a row, and third time overall, the beginning of the 10:15 p.m. ET game (Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos) was shown on ESPN2 as the game that began at 7 p.m. ET (New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins) ran past the scheduled time period.

2012 summary[edit]

Lisa Salters was named the permanent solo sideline reporter for the 2012 season. Also, color commentator Ron Jaworski did not return to the program. As a result, Jon Gruden became the solo color commentator, with MNF going back to a two-man booth for the first time since its final season on ABC (2005). MNF's opening graphic sequence, which showed the helmet logos of the game's 2 participating NFL teams and then the program's logo, was seen before the Monday Night Football Launch segment.

2013 summary[edit]

The opening animation sequence begins with an image of a 2014 GMC Sierra (GMC paid for product placement) and then goes into a timeline of historical events that occurred during the Monday Night Football era, including some highlights of MNF games from the previous 43 seasons (1970-2012). At the end of that graphic is the helmet logos of that night's 2 participating teams and finally, Monday Night Football logos from 1970 to the present. The 80-second opening animation sequence, which also featured Pac-Man, Darth Vader and President Ronald Reagan, was created by actor/filmmaker Peter Berg.

Digital on-screen graphics[edit]

Prior to 1997, Monday Night Football had a limited graphics package. A CGI-based intro began being used in 1984, with on-screen graphics still limited to basic text.[15][16] In 1988, the entire graphics package was updated significantly to be more in line with the rest of ABC Sports. The "clashing helmets" intro was introduced and on-screen graphics consisted of italicized text underlined in red.[17] It was updated in 1994, the year the network hosted Super Bowl XXIX, with a more box-like design.[18] A permanent score bug would not be introduced until 1997.

1997–2005[edit]

As previously mentioned, Monday Night Football began using a score bug in 1997, the second network to do so after NFL on Fox began in 1994. Prior to this, the graphics package was limited, but followed a basic "ketchup and mustard" color scheme of red and yellow. The first scorebug had the numeric scores inside a gray box and the time contained in a red capsule-shaped bug, with a special box-like font.[19] This design was used through the 1998 season.

ABC hosted Super Bowl XXXIV for 1999, and updated their graphics package to more closely resemble those of sister station ESPN. ABC began using extended abbreviations for team names (TENN, VIKES, PACK, and FINS instead of TEN, MIN, GB, and MIA), as four-letter and five-letter abbreviations were used on ESPN coverage. The result was a larger scorebug with a more conventional font.[20] It was slightly modified in 2000 to have a border that was more in line with the red and yellow color scheme.[21]

Monday Night Football changed its graphics in 2002, the year the network hosted Super Bowl XXXVII. The scorebug was a solid color, with a more rounded shape, and a horizontally compressed font. ESPN's graphics were no longer similar to those of ABC's (with ESPN instead using a gray and black design with rounded corners).[22] In 2005, the final year on ABC, Monday Night Football began using a bar on the bottom of the screen rather than a scorebug. All information was contained on a single line.[23]

2006–present[edit]

In 2006, ABC Sports was rebranded as ESPN on ABC, and Monday Night Football was moved to ESPN. ESPN changed its entire graphics package to a red and black design, but its NBA and NFL coverage used its own design. For football, a dark gray, metallic scorebug was used and was placed in an unorthodox location; the center of the bottom of the screen. It was used from 2006 to 2007. In 2008, a new rectangular scorebar that spanned the entire screen was used.

The 2008 design was short-lived. In 2009, ESPN rebranded its network-wide graphics to a metallic design. Monday Night Football was given a new scorebar to go along with the changes; though it was not the same scorebug as ESPN's college football coverage (which would follow upon the beginning of the bowl season). It was used from 2009 to 2010. The timeout indicators were added in Week 4 of the 2009 season. For the 2009 season only, a "40th anniversary" logo was incorporated into the bar, with the "40" displayed as if it were a yard marked on a football field's 40-yard line. It was in place of the down and distance marker when it was not being used.

Since 2011, a black, metallic scorebar has been used. The current bar is considerably larger than most scorebars including the previous one (although its sizes has varied, becoming significantly wider, yet thinner in 2012). For the first time, team logos are incorporated, placed to the left of the team's abbreviation. For ESPN's first pre-season game of 2012, the timeout indicators were also accompanied by two smaller red lamps to the right, indicating the number of play challenges remaining, but these were unexpectedly removed the following game.

On September 10, 2012, Monday Night Countdown began using MNF's graphics scheme.

Scoring records[edit]

  • Longest Hot Streak
    • From 1970 through 1981 the Oakland Raiders had a record of 18-2-1 in Monday Night Football Games. Following the 1981 season they moved to Los Angeles and their dominance slowly began to decline.

Air times[edit]

From 1970 to 1997, ABC's Monday Night Football coverage began at 9 p.m. EST/EDT, with game kickoff typically coming seven minutes after the hour. In 1998, coverage was moved forward to 8 p.m. ET, with a pre-game show titled Monday Night Blast and hosted by Chris Berman from the ESPN Zone restaurant in Baltimore preceding the start of the game at 8:20 p.m. This was done mainly to address ABC's inability to find a suitable 8 p.m. lead-in program for MNF since the 1992 ending of MacGyver (not even two other series from Paramount TelevisionThe Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and The Marshal – which produced MacGyver, saw success, despite the former's ties to Paramount's Indiana Jones film series), and to allow stations to start their late local newscasts nearer to their regular times. Poor ratings caused this experiment to be dropped after one season, with MNF once again moving to 9 p.m. in 1999, though in many NFL markets, the 8pm ET hour from 1999 until 2006 was replaced by affiliates with locally produced sports discussion and coaches shows programmed locally, with ABC programming in that hour moved to late night or weekend slots; by the end of the ABC run, the 8pm timeslot was filled with either newsmagazines and short-lived reality television programs which failed to make any ratings headways due to affiliate pre-emptions.

From 1970 to 1995, ABC affiliates in Seattle (KOMO) and Portland (KATU) aired MNF games on a one-hour tape delay starting at 7 p.m. PST/PDT (games normally started 9 p.m. EST/EDT-6 p.m. PST/PDT) in order to accommodate local newscasts (unless the Seattle Seahawks were playing, in which case the game would be shown live). The practice, long opposed by viewers and ABC, was ended in 1996. The Seattle ABC affiliate then tried to accommodate having to show their news earlier than the other TV stations in the city by marketing it as "KOMO 4 News Primetime," touting it as a way to watch the news at a more convenient time than evening rush hour. Additionally, this practice was done in Hawaii, where ABC affiliate KITV/Honolulu delayed the game until 6 p.m. HST, meaning either 11 p.m. or midnight eastern depending on which side of the daylight saving time date the game was played. Thus, the game, which was broadcast live on local radio starting at 3 or 4 p.m., was almost over before it aired on television. In the case of Guam, KTGM, the ABC affiliate in that U.S. territory, aired MNF live on Tuesdays at 11 a.m., which is due to Guam's being a day ahead of the United States.

On ABC, the demand to broadcast Monday Night Football games live across the United States was difficult to reconcile with other prime time programming, which is usually set to begin at a certain local time regardless of time zone. On the East Coast, with MNF beginning at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, there was an hour of primetime in which to schedule regular programming. However, on the West Coast, the games lasted from 6:00–9:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (or in the case of Seattle and Portland 1970 to 1995, 7:00–10:30 p.m.), leaving little or no time for additional network programming on Monday. Thus, network shows scheduled for prime time on the East Coast were broadcast at various hours on the West Coast. Most affiliates pushed the network shows to immediately after the game; however, KABC in Los Angeles postponed them until 10 p.m. from at least the mid-1990s until 2005 to show trivia contests and other sports shows produced locally (the longest-tenured such show was Monday Night Live hosted by Todd Donoho). Meanwhile, KOMO, one of the stations that tape-delayed MNF in most cases, broadcast new episodes of the series Coach on Saturday afternoons (usually reserved, coincidentally enough, for college football telecasts; much of the series took place on a fictional college campus).

Since ESPN took over the coverage in 2006, games normally have a kickoff time of 8:30 p.m. ET. However, when ESPN airs a doubleheader in the first week of the season, the games start at 7 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. ET. There have been issues with local stations in the ESPN era where home market stations airing the ESPN simulcast are in most cases ABC affiliates and have to pre-empt Dancing with the Stars due to airing coverage of the game; this both forces the affiliate to air that program immediately after the local news, and the program's telephone and Internet voting coordinators to keep a late-night voting window open for the market or markets where Dancing with the Stars was pre-empted. In some cases the program is moved to an affiliate's sister station to air live instead. (For example, until 2011, when NBC affiliate KARE took over local airing duties, if the Minnesota Vikings were playing a MNF game simulcast on ABC affiliate KSTP, sister independent station KSTC aired DWTS live.)

Commentators[edit]


Foreign-language versions[edit]

Spanish version[edit]

Since 2006, a Spanish-language telecast is also broadcast on ESPN Deportes, the Spanish version of ESPN and on ESPN Latin América featuring NBA and NFL play-by-play announcer Álvaro Martín, Super Bowl winner Raul Allegre as color commentator and John Sutcliffe as the field reporter. This is the same crew of La NFL Dominical, the Spanish version of ESPN Sunday Night Football, until 2005. The announcers of the second game of the 2006 doubleheader were Eduardo Varela (play-by-play), Robert Abramowitz (color) and Georgina Ruiz Sandoval (field reporter). Preceding the game NFL Esta Noche (NFL Tonight), the 30-minute pre-game show, can be seen on both networks.

The four booth announcers called the 2007 season opening games from ESPN's Bristol, Connecticut headquarters while watching games on monitors. None of them traveled to the game sites and there were no sideline reporters in the early weeks. Sutcliffe would later report from the game sites. Allegre did not work the season finale between the Broncos and Chargers; he was replaced by Abramovitz.

In 2008, Martin and Allegre only travelled to the Cowboys-Eagles game, during the NFL's celebrations of the Hispanic Heritage Month.

Portuguese version[edit]

Since the 1990s, ESPN Latin America has a feed in Portuguese language targeted to their viewers in Brazil. Ivan Zimmermann (play-by-play), André José Adler (play-by-play), Roberto Figueroa (color), Marco Alfaro (color) among others, were the announcers broadcasting from ESPN's headquarters. Since 2006, the structure of the Brazilian feed was merged with ESPN Brasil and the broadcasting is made from São Paulo. The current announcers are Everaldo Marques (play-by-play) and Paulo Antunes (color). Ari Aguiar (play-by-play), Rômulo Mendonça (play-by-play), Paulo Mancha (color) and Eduardo Agra (color) occasionally fill-in.

Radio broadcasts[edit]

Monday Night Football has also been carried on national radio networks over the years. The Mutual Broadcasting System aired the games initially, with Van Patrick (19721973) and Lindsey Nelson (19741977) announcing. CBS Radio took over in 1978 with Jack Buck and Hank Stram commentating. After a two-year stint (19851986) with Don Criqui and Bob Trumpy calling the games on NBC Radio, Buck and Stram resumed with CBS Radio in 1987. In 1996, Howard David and Matt Millen replaced Buck and Stram. Marv Albert and Boomer Esiason were the MNF radio voices from 2002 to 2009, with Kevin Harlan replacing Albert in 2010.

In the 1990s, CBS Radio purchased a controlling stake in Westwood One, which in turn had bought out both the NBC and Mutual networks. As of 2008, Westwood One was no longer controlled by CBS, but the network retained its NFL broadcast rights. In 2011, Westwood One was purchased by Dial Global.

The Spanish-language broadcast is carried on ESPN Deportes Radio.

TV ratings[edit]

The highest-rated Monday Night Football telecast on ABC was the Miami Dolphins' victory over the previously undefeated Chicago Bears on December 2, 1985, which drew a national Nielsen rating of 29.6 and a share of 46. ABC's lowest-rated MNF game was the St. Louis Rams' defeat of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on October 18, 2004, which drew a 7.7 rating.

During the 1995–1996 TV season, Monday Night Football averaged a 17.1 household rating. Its main competitor, Murphy Brown, averaged a 12.3 rating.[24]

The highest-rated Monday Night Football game on ESPN, and the highest-rated program in U.S. cable television history at that time, was the Minnesota Vikings' defeat of the Green Bay Packers 30–23 on October 5, 2009, with a rating of 15.3. The game featured the much-hyped matchup of Vikings quarterback Brett Favre facing his longtime former Green Bay team. ESPN noted in a press release that the telecast "was watched by more than 16.8 million people. The previous record was more than 13.6 million viewers for 2008's Monday night game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. This was subsequently beaten by ESPN's coverage of the 2011 BCS National Championship Game. ESPN also stated that the game drew the highest rating in the network's 30-year history. The 15.3 rating beat the 14.4 for a Bears-Vikings game on Dec. 6, 1987, during ESPN's first season of televising NFL games".[25] ESPN's lowest-rated MNF game to date was the New York Giants' defeat of the Atlanta Falcons on October 15, 2007, which drew a 5.7 rating.

ESPN's third season of Monday Night Football was the most watched series on cable television in 2008. It set an all-time cable viewership record for the third straight year and drew the year's three biggest cable household audiences and 13 of the top 15. In three seasons on ESPN, Monday Night Football has registered seven of the top 10 all-time biggest household audiences in cable history, led by the Eagles-Cowboys telecast on 9/15/08, which attracted cable's largest household audience ever (an average of 12,953,000 homes).

ESPN's 17 MNF telecasts in 2008 averaged an 8.9 rating, representing an average of 8,679,000 households (11,962,000 viewers), increases of 3%, 5% and 7%, respectively, vs. 2007 (8.6; 8,277,000 and 11,230,000).[26]

NFL Playoffs[edit]

On April 22, 2014, the NFL announced that it had exercised the option in ESPN's new contract to air a wild card playoff game in the 2014-2015 season. It will be the first NFL playoff game ever to be aired on cable. The MNF team of Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, and sideline reporter Lisa Salters will call the game. It will be held on Saturday of Wild Card Weekend.[5][27]

Pro Bowl[edit]

ESPN's new broadcast deal with the NFL, signed in 2011, gives ESPN exclusive rights to air the Pro Bowl from 2015 through 2022. The games will be called by the MNF crew of Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, and sideline reporter Lisa Salters.[5][28]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ NFLUK: British Eurosport To Air NFL's Monday Night Football in the UK
  2. ^ Shapiro, Leonard; Maske, Mark (April 19, 2005). "'Monday Night Football' Changes the Channel". Washington Post. p. A1. 
  3. ^ Updated: ESPN Kicks Off New Eight-Year, $14 Billion NFL Deal Multichannel News September 8, 2011
  4. ^ Atkinson, Claire (September 10, 2011). Cable operators rip ESPN's $15B rights deal with NFL. "The New York Post". Retrieved September 11, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/10821899/espn-air-1st-nfl-playoff-game-2015
  6. ^ Pro Bowl#Television
  7. ^ "What to Look For — A Look Back (Week 5)" (PDF). National Football League. December 23, 2013. Archived from the original on December 24, 2013. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  8. ^ http://www.ninersnation.com/2013/11/26/5146960/49ers-monday-night-football-wins-nfl-history
  9. ^ http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/10612536/ns/sports-nfl/
  10. ^ Goldfarb, Zachary A. (December 17, 2006). "On 'Monday Night Football,' An Announcement From Obama". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on October 10, 2011. 
  11. ^ "ESPN's Highest-Rated and Most-Viewed Season of Monday Night Football". The Futon Critic. December 29, 2009. Retrieved April 30, 2013. 
  12. ^ Martinez, Michael (October 5, 2011). "Hank Williams Jr. apologizes for Hitler-Obama comparison". Entertainment (CNN.com). Retrieved 2011-10-07. 
  13. ^ "ESPN pulls Williams from MNF opening". ESPN.com. October 4, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-07. 
  14. ^ a b AP, via Yahoo: "Hank Williams Jr. out on Monday Night Football", October 6, 2011.
  15. ^ "1983 Monday Night Football intro". 
  16. ^ "1984 Monday Night Football intro". 
  17. ^ "1988 Monday Night Football intro". 
  18. ^ "Monday Night Football, 1994". 
  19. ^ "Monday Night Football, 1997". 
  20. ^ "Super Bowl XXXIV". 
  21. ^ "Monday Night Football, 2000". 
  22. ^ "Super Bowl XXXVII". 
  23. ^ "Super Bowl XL". YouTube. 
  24. ^ Complete TV Ratings 1995–1996
  25. ^ Favre's matchup with Packers draws record television audience
  26. ^ Breaking News – Monday Night Football: Most-Watched Series on Cable
  27. ^ http://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/04/espn-nfl-playoffs-tv-nbc-wild-card/
  28. ^ Pro Bowl#Pro Bowls .282014.E2.80.93.29
  • Gunther, Marc, and Bill Carter. (1988). "Monday Night Mayhem: The Inside Story of ABC's Monday Night Football." New York, NY: Beech Tree Books. ISBN 0-688-07553-3

External links[edit]