Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A strange void on Monday nights

Something doesn't seem right with the world when Monday Night Football, which for 35 years has been a staple of prime time network television in the fall, will exist no more as we know it after this year. The latest bids for NFL contracts were announced yesterday, and MNF will move to ABC's sister network, ESPN, which means that the coveted Monday Night game will no longer be on free local television.

Compensating for this new reality will be the fact that Sunday Night Football, which has served for many years as one of ESPN's staple programs, will lead the return of the NFL to NBC, which for years covered the AFC with vastly superior coverage to CBS. MNF has long functioned as the NFL's version of the old Major League Baseball Game of the Week precisely because it was on network television and was the featured game that week, and the only one that day. It will be interesting to see if the Sunday night game can fill that void.

Something seems strangely wrong with the sporting landscape not to have an NFL game on network television on Monday nights. MNF has become such a staple of the American sports landscape, that not having it as we know it will leave us a huge void in the world of sports culture, a void a doubt NBC can fill, no matter how hard they try.


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