Monday Night Football

Monday Night Football on ESPN- 49ers at Cardinals

ESPN’s Monday Night Football returns tonight as the Arizona Cardinals host the San Francisco 49ers..  Kick-off is 8:30p.m. ET with Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, and Lisa Salters.

Pre-game action begins at 6:30p.m. ET with Monday Night Countdown.  Chris Berman will host with analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson and NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter. On-site host Stuart Scott, analysts Trent Dilfer and Steve Young, contributor Rick Reilly and Salters will add to the show.

From ESPN PR, here are the anticipated highlights for the show:

  • ‘Gruden Extra’ with Larry Fitzgerald:  Since entering the National Football League in 2004, Larry Fitzgerald has been one of the league’s top wide receivers.  He passed the 10,000 career receiving yards mark earlier this year, but more importantly, he has been a team leader for the Cardinals.  This week, the Pro Bowl receiver sits down with Super Bowl-winning coach Jon Gruden in the MNF bus to discuss the Cardinals season.
  • Rick Reilly Feature on William Gay: William Gay was just seven when his mother was shot and killed by his step-father, a senseless act of violence that turned his life upside down.  Today, the Cardinals cornerback helps others affected by domestic abuse in Pittsburgh, the home of his former team, reports Rick Reilly.
  • Jim Harbaugh Soundtracks:  In just his second season, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has infused his personality into his football team.  This week’s Soundtracks features in-game audio from Harbaugh during his team’s week six loss to the New York Giants.

Monday Night Football on ESPN, October 1, 2012

The Dallas Cowboys host the Chicago Bears tonight on Monday Night Football on ESPN.  Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, and Michelle Tafoya have all the action beginning at 8:30p.m. ET.

Pregame action begins at 6:30p.m. ET with Monday Night Countdown.  Chris Berman will host with analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson and NFL InsidersChris Mortensen and Adam Schefter. On-site host Stuart Scott, analysts Trent Dilfer and Steve Young, contributor Rick Reilly and Salters will join the Countdown crew from Cowboys Stadium.

From ESPN PR, here are some of the highlights of tonight’s show:

  • ‘Gruden Extra’ with DeMarcus Ware:  The Cowboys All-Pro defensive end sits down for a one-on-one interview with MNF’s Gruden.
  • Soundtracks – Brandon Marshall:  The Chicago Bears wide receiver is wired for in-game audio during last week’s victory over the Rams.
  • Rick Reilly Feature – The Cowboys Cheerleaders: In his weekly feature, columnist and Monday Night Countdown essayist Rick Reilly presents the story of the Cowboys cheerleaders, one of the most famous cheerleading squads in the world.

Monday Night Countdown on ESPN- September 17, 2012

ESPN will prepare for its telecast of the Broncos at the Falcons on Monday Night Football with pre-game coverage at 6:30p.m. ET of Monday Night Countdown.

Chris Berman will host with analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson  NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter will report league news and updates.  Stuart Scott, Steve Young and Trent Dilfer will be on-site from Atlanta.  MNF sideline reporter Lisa Salters will report from the Georgia Dome.

From ESPN PR, here are some of the features scheduled for the show:

  • In “Gruden Extra,” MNF’s Jon Gruden sits down with quarterback Peyton Manning ahead of his second start for the Denver Broncos to review Manning’s first game, a home win vs. the Steelers, his comeback to pro football after missing the 2011 season, and life in his new town.
  • Ron Jaworski’s film room segment will focus on Manning.
  • Rick Reilly features the Mayor of Denver, Michael Hancock, whose deep connection to the Broncos dates back to the team’s run to Super Bowl XXI when the then-17-year-old Hancock served as the team’s mascot.
  • “Soundtracks” features in-game audio of Falcons head coach Mike Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan, who since coming to the Falcons in 2008, have combined to lead the team through a period of sustained success.

Chris Berman and Trent Dilfer to Handle ESPN MNF Opening Nightcap

ESPN announced today that Chrie Berman and Trent Dilfer will be in the booth for the second half of its season-opening NFL double header on September 10th.  The pair will work the telecast featuring the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders with a kick-off set for 10:15p.m. ET.

The new ESPN two-man booth featuring Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden will have the opener which will pit the Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens.

Prior to the regular season debut, Berman and Dilfer will also call the Arizona Cardinals-Tennessee Titans MNF preseason game on Aug. 23rd.

“I have worked with Boom for four years now and I’ve never been around someone who loves the NFL more than him,” said Dilfer. “I firmly believe that his passion and mine for the game of football will translate to the audience.”
ESPN has had a number of broadcaster combinations through the years for the second half of these opening NFL double headers.  Here are all the combinations since 2006:
Year Game ESPN Commentators
2006 San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders Brad Nessler, Ron Jaworski and Dick Vermeil
2007 Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers Mike Greenberg, Mike Golic and Mike Ditka
2008 Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders Greenberg, Golic and Ditka
2009 San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders Greenberg, Golic and Steve Young
2010 San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs Nessler and Trent Dilfer
2011 Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos Nessler and Dilfer
2012 San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders Chris Berman and Dilfer
There will be a lot of debate over ESPN’s decision as we get closer to opening night. And as much as I would rather see someone other than Berman for this game, it is only one game and most viewers watch for the action on the field, not the announcers in the booth.  We who analyze sports media sometimes forget that.

2012 ESPN Monday Night Football Schedule

I am back from my break only to find that the 2012 NFL schedule was unveiled this week.  In case you have not seen the releases, here is the 2012 ESPN Monday Night Football Schedule:

Date Time (ET) Teams
Aug. 9 8 p.m. Green Bay Packers at San Diego Chargers
Aug. 13 8 p.m. Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Raiders
Aug. 20 8 p.m. Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots
Aug. 23 8 p.m. Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans
Regular Season    
Sept. 10 7 p.m. Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
  10:15 p.m. San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders
Sept. 17 8:30 p.m. Denver Broncos at Atlanta Falcons
Sept. 24 8:30 p.m. Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks
Oct. 1 8:30 p.m. Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys
Oct. 8 8:30 p.m. Houston Texans at New York Jets
Oct. 15 8:30 p.m. Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers 
Oct. 22 8:30 p.m. Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears
Oct. 29 8:30 p.m. San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals
Nov. 5 8:30 p.m. Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints
Nov. 12 8:30 p.m. Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers
Nov. 19 8:30 p.m. Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers
Nov. 26 8:30 p.m. Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles
Dec. 3 8:30 p.m. New York Giants at Washington Redskins
Dec. 10 8:30 p.m. Houston Texans at New England Patriots
Dec. 17 8:30 p.m. New York Jets at Tennessee Titans
Dec. 22 (Sat.) 8:30 p.m. Atlanta Falcons vs. Detroit Lions

Jaworski Signs Five Year Extension With ESPN, Will Leave MNF Booth

ESPN has announced that NFL analyst Ron Jaworski has signed a five year extention with the network, a deal which will expend his role with the WWL, but remove him from the Monday Night Football (MNF) broadcast booth.

Under his new duties, Jaworski will make multi-platform appearances including Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown, NFL Matchup, Mike & Mike in the Morning, Pardon the Interruption and other NFL branded specials.  

The new Monday Night Football booth will encompass play-by-play voice Mike Tirico and analyst Jon Gruden.  Jaworski had been part of a three man booth for MNF for the last five seasons.

“I am grateful for having the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of working on Monday Night Football the past five seasons with Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and so many other talented people behind the scenes who make the show so great, and I look forward to bringing my passion and knowledge of the game to more fans in more places than ever before on any and all football topics,” said Jaworski in a press release.

“I thank Ron for the great contributions he has made to Monday Night Football and look forward to the many ways he will enhance our studio presentation from our NFL-branded shows to SportsCenter,” said ESPN President John Skipper. “With two strong analysts in Ron and Jon, these moves will better utilize their strengths and benefit our entire NFL presentation.”

Photo Courtesy ESPN

MNF Wins the Night Again for ESPN

ESPN has announced that the ratings for this past Monday Night Football’s (MNF) match-up between the Giants and Saints registered a 10.7, winning the night in all of television.

The rating represented an audience of 14.4 million viewers.  Locally, New Orleans had a rating of 61.0 ratings (split between ESPN and WDSU.  New York had a local rating of 15.7 (split between ESPN and WWOR)

Through twelve weeks of the season MNF has an average rating of 9.8 with an average audience of  13.2 million viewers.