Monday Night Football History

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The National Football League has easily surpassed baseball as the most popular sport in the United States, and it is no longer a game that is played on just Sundays. The league now claims Thursday and Monday as well, and it’s Monday Night Football that has helped to grow the sport tremendously. 

Looking at the NFL odds just means a little bit more when the game you are looking at is set to take place on Monday Night Football. This used to be the biggest game of the week, but the action has started to get watered down a bit in recent years. 

Monday Night Football has gone through some changes over the years, but it has been and will continue to be one of the best nights of the week. The NFL has gotten other sports to change schedules because it has absolutely dominated that time slot for decades. 

September 21, 1970, was the first-ever Monday Night Football Game, as the NFL wanted to showcase one special game of the week. Beginning in 1970 and lasting all the way through 2005, ABC had exclusive broadcasting rights for the weekly game. 

ESPN was able to reach an agreement with the NFL in 2005, and that continues to be the television partner of Monday Night Football. This has turned into a much larger broadcast than originally planned, as there are now simulcasts and other ways to tune in.

Beginning in 2022, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman are the voices of MNF, and they join a pretty impressive list as former broadcasters. Keith Jackson and Howard Cosell were the two original broadcasters, but there were plenty of other big names on that list. 

The NFL schedules Monday Night Football games when the original schedule comes out, but not for the final few weeks of the season. Those final weeks of the season all have flex scheduling, and that gives the league the freedom to look for bigger games.

Before leaving ABC, Monday Night Football was one of the longest-running television shows on network television. 

Legendary Song

While the Vegas NFL odds have clearly helped to make this a popular event, the intro song might have been even more of a reason. From 1989-2011, NFL fans were tuning in well before kickoff to hear Hank Williams Jr. sing a version of “All My Rowdy Friends are Coming Over Tonight.”

After getting canceled as the theme song for MNF in 2011, the league brought the famous song back for the 2017 season. This song was a chart-topper for Hank Williams Jr., but it was made even more famous every Monday night in households throughout America. 

The NFL was able to change the introduction video every week to look at the teams that were playing, and it was a perfect way to kick off a big night of football. 

Thursday Night Just Hasn’t Worked

In an effort to take over another night of the week, the NFL has also released Thursday Night Football. This was a more controlled environment for the league as it was initially broadcast on the NFL Network but has since moved to Amazon Prime.

Thursday Night Football just hasn’t worked out in the same way that MNF has, and there have been a number of poorly played games. Safety has been a concern for those players and teams suiting up on Thursday night, and the viewership is much worse than MNF. 

Getting NFL lines on an extra day is always good, but TNF just isn’t as good as Monday night. 

Monday Night Football Trivia

Since Monday Night Football has been around since the 1970 season, there have been over 53 years of NFL football played. If you are ever going to discuss MNF with one of your friends, there are some interesting pieces of trivia that you might want to know. 

The most common matchup on Monday Night Football has been the Denver Broncos and the Las Vegas Raiders. In second place is the intense NFC East Division rivalry between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Commanders. 

The 2010 Philadelphia Eagles hold the MNF record for points in a game, as they scored 59 against Washington that season. A matchup between the L.A. Rams and Kansas City Chiefs in 2018 is the highest-scoring game of all time as the two teams combined for 105 total points.

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