Sports Take: MNF

Michaels, Theismann, Kolber, Tafoya to crew MNF

I realize that 2006 is a whole year away, but this is already upsetting me.  Not so much that Theismann is color-comentating MNF (although I can’t stand him in the booth), but more-so that it’s a reminder that MNF will be going from Network Broadcast on ABC this year to ESPN cable next year.

For the last 35 years, Monday Night Football has not only become one of the biggest regular sporting events, but also has become a fixture of our culture.  I realize there are those of you who don’t like football and couldn’t care less, but at the same time you likely know the catch phrase "Are You Ready for some Football?" or listening to classic MNF theme (or the other one done by Hank Williams Jr. – that changes every week depending on who’s playing).  But I guess in the last few years ratings haven’t been what they once were, and network execs, getting frustrated with not being able to put the magic formula together (which included the likes of Dennis Miller and Lisa Guerrero), it looks like the execs over at Disney/ABC have decided to turn over the reigns to their little brother, ESPN.

I understand that this is not as big a deal, because this is happening today and not ten years ago.  With the evolution of cable & satellite television, cable has grown from being a luxury to almost becoming a basic utility.  Even my parents have broken down and are now watching cable.  ESPN reaches a lot more homes than they used to during the late 80’s & mid 90’s, but at the same time there’s still that aura of prestige that goes with watching sports on Broadcast Television.  I’m disappointed when I think about what kind of crappy reality show, boring sitcom, or whatever random drama series is going to take the place of storied Monday Night Football.

Out of all this I think Madden got the best end of the deal.  "Sunday Night Football" on NBC isn’t going to be Monday Night, but it’s BROADCAST,  and it’s got Bob Costas doing the pre-game show.  It’ll be interesting who they will be pairing John Madden up with.  Maybe they’ll dust off Patt Sommerall, recharge his batteries and re-load his operating system to get him back in the booth with our trailer-driving analyst.

My only other disappointment is that CBS didn’t lose their rights to the AFC games.  If I have to hear Phil Simms flip-flopping during the broadcast one more time in his hill-billy redneck tone one more time…

By the way, Broncos Band Camp starts Friday morning.. Only 41 more days until the regular season opens!