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Are You Ready for Some Football?
As you may have heard by now, the NFL is shaking up Monday Night Football. Gone after 35 years is Monday Night Football on ABC. Coming in is MNF on ESPN and NBC is taking over Sunday Night Football. ESPN or no ESPN, Monday Night Football is dead. ESPN may have two revenue streams, allowing it to pay $1.1 billion, but it's going to seem no different from a Thursday night or any other weeknight football game.
MNF was a lot of fun with Howard Cosell and Dandy Don, and Al Michaels is the best play-by-play man in football. But over the years, MNF had lost its luster. For some reason, critics love to take every stab they can at it. Whether it was Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf, Boomer Easison, Brent Musberger, Chris Berman, Eric Dickerson, Lisa Guerrero, Dan Fouts, or Dennis Miller, nothing ever fit this perfect image of "Monday Night Football." Then we finally get the best team possible, with Michaels and John Madden, but people complained that the games weren't good enough. Our expectations for Monday Night Football were just too high.
Losing Monday Night Football on ABC is like the girlfriend you break up with, who's great in bed, but her personality has gone stale. The new MNF on ESPN could very well have Michaels and Madden, and it will be a solid viewing experience for the hardcore football fan, nothing more.
In the meantime, Sunday Night Football is now where it's at. NBC will get preference on games for the final seven weeks, and they'll broadcast the nation's most popular sport to the largest possible weekly audience. We expect Bob Costas to have a role on the new SNF, probably as play-by-play man. Expect NBC to make a play for Madden. If he doesn't come through, they might bring back Paul McGuire, and potentially add a third man. In the meantime, we feel horrible for Mike Patrick, an excellent broadcaster on ESPN's Sunday Night Football, who at the moment is left out in the cold. We're sure he'll find another great job though.