I grew up loving Monday Night Football like any other teenage sports enthusiast. Waiting patiently for that music to start and the highlights of the two teams about to play, and all surrounded by the pronounced voice of Howard Cosell. This was the only good thing about Mondays and was a weekly ritual in my household with my father and I. In the 70’s and 80’s television was dominated by the major networks, (NBC, ABC, CBS) and cable stations were still a few years away. MNF became synonymous with ABC and led resurgence for the fledgling station. MNF became the longest running program in the history of the network entering its 17th season in 1986 (SBD, 2005).
In 2005 ABC and the NFL announce the end of their 36-year MNF partnership (SBD, 2005) leaving the door open for ESPN to ink a MNF contract from 2006-13 for 8.8 Billion. The Walt Disney Company owns both ABC and ESPN and saw how lucrative MNF could be on cable (espn.com, 2005). ESPN has taken a bit of history with then to the cable arena and that was the nail in the coffin for standard TV, as we know it. Hour long shows and sit-coms on cable are one thing but MNF? I continue to watch like all other sports fans do, but something just isn’t the same. Where is the symphonic music during the introductions? Where are the highlights of the two teams about to play? In this day and age of in your face flash, I guess I can’t blame ESPN for flooding the screens with light flashes equipped with blips and bleeps or even terribly acted skits just before a game (see link) to amuse the masses. I just wish they would keep things authentic like their predecessors on ABC.
Link to MNF skit on ESPN: