Classic TV & Movie Hits
|Monday Night Football|
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By 1968, the NFL was becoming very popular in the United States as a broadcast television sport. Games were and still are mainly played on Sunday afternoons. Then-Commissioner of the NFL, Pete Rozelle, began to envision the possibility of playing at least one game during prime time for a greater TV audience, and approached both the CBS and NBC TV networks with the idea. Both networks rejected it, as they already had successful prime time programming in place. (Reportedly, NBC turned down the idea when comedian and talk-show host Johnny Carson became incensed that a football game, if it lasted longer than the allotted three hours, would pre-empt a portion of his popular show, The Tonight Show). Even so, a few Monday night games were actually played in 1969, but were only telecast locally; that is, to the market of the visiting team (all home games were "blacked out" until a federal law was passed in 1971 permitting such games to be broadcast so long as all tickets to the game had sold out; the change took effect the following year).
As there were three major networks at the time, this left only ABC, where producer Roone Arledge immediately saw possibilities for the new show. Arledge set out to create an entertainment "spectacle" as much as a simple sports broadcast. Chet Forte, the director of the program for over 22 years, ordered twice the usual number of cameras to cover the game. He created the "color man" position and used graphic design within the show as well as "instant replay". The controversial and idiosyncratic sports broadcaster Howard Cosell commented on the action, along with veteran football commentator Keith Jackson and former player Don Meredith. Monday Night Football first aired on ABC on September 21, 1970, with a match between the New York Jets and the Cleveland Browns, in Cleveland, Ohio.
The show has run ever since, and the NFL has obliged by scheduling its best teams and biggest stars for that night, so as to gain maximum exposure; however, the league has sometimes been criticized for reflexively excluding teams that had finished near the bottom of the previous season's standings from the Monday night schedule; examples include the 1981 season, neither of whose two Super Bowl teams—the San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals—had played on Monday night that year, and 1999, when the St. Louis Rams won the Super Bowl after not having appeared in a Monday night game during that regular season.
Often, the previous year's Super Bowl champion will be scheduled to play in the first Monday night game of the season, usually at home—although in 2003 the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who had won the Super Bowl the season before, were made to open their season on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles, in what was the first regular-season game ever played at Lincoln Financial Field. (The Buccaneers nevertheless won the game, 17-0).
There have been occasions when two Monday night games were played simultaneously; this scenario would most commonly arise in October where an NFL team's home stadium is also used by the same city's baseball team, and the latter had reached the playoffs or World Series, forcing what was to have been a Sunday afternoon football game to be moved to Monday night; in these cases, the game so moved would be televised only in the market of the game's visiting team (and also in that of the home team provided the game sold out), with the rest of the nation's viewers watching the originally-scheduled Monday night game for that week.
Show Description Credit: Wikipedia
|> Airing History & Information|
|Premiere||September 21, 1970|
|Format/Time||Color / 60 Minutes|
|Upcoming Airs||Not currently airing|
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