Sept. 8 Monday Night Football Doubleheader Game
The familiar trio of Mike Greenberg, Mike Golic and Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Ditka will call the West Coast game for the second consecutive year in ESPN’s season-opening Monday Night Football doubleheader — Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders on September 8 at 10:15 p.m. ET. The game will follow the Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers telecast at 7 p.m.
Greenberg and Golic, hosts of ESPN Radio’s popular Mike & Mike in the Morning, teamed with Ditka to call the Arizona Cardinals-San Francisco 49ers game on ESPN during the 2007 NFL kickoff weekend. This year’s Broncos-Raiders game marks the 15th meeting between the longtime AFC West rivals on MNF, the most-played match-up in the history of the NFL primetime series. Standout running back Darren McFadden, the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft, is also expected to make his pro debut for the Raiders.
ESPN’s main commentator team of Mike Tirico and analysts Ron Jaworski and Tony Kornheiser will make its regular-season debut with the Vikings-Packers game, the night the defending NFC North champions officially retire Brett Favre’s jersey at Lambeau Field and likely start the season with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback.
“Greenberg, Golic and Ditka made a great team last fall, and we look forward to reuniting them in the Monday Night Football booth to kick off the 2008 season,” said Norby Williamson, executive vice president, production, ESPN. “They have great familiarity with one another and all three have their own passionate opinions about the NFL, which translates well to fans.”
Greenberg, an unabashed and lifelong fan of the New York Jets, joined ESPN in September 1996 as an anchor for ESPNEWS, and today he regularly anchors SportsCenter. He and Golic were named co-hosts of Mike & Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio on December 30, 1999. The popular program is now carried by more than 375 affiliates nationwide. They have also co-hosted ESPN Radio’s NFL Draft coverage and appeared together in the primetime special Mike & Mike at Night, the primetime series League Night, and currently online as characters in ESPN.com’s Emmy Award-winning “Off Mikes” animated-short series. In 2007, Greenberg and Golic also teamed together to call Arena Football League games.
Golic, a nine-year NFL veteran (1986-93) who played defensive tackle for the Houston Oilers, Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins, joined ESPN in 1995 as an NFL reporter/analyst for Sunday NFL Countdown. In addition to co-hosting ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning, he has worked as a game and studio analyst for Arena Football and college games, and contributed to ESPN’s NFL Live and NFL Draft coverage. Golic served as an analyst for ESPN’s NFL preseason telecast of the Colts-Falcons game in Tokyo in 2005, and he worked as an analyst for Jacksonville Jaguars pre-season games (1995-98).
Ditka, the Pro Football Hall of Fame player and Super Bowl-winning former coach of the Chicago Bears, has been with ESPN since 2004 as an NFL studio analyst. He has appeared on a variety of programs, including Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown, NFL PrimeTime, Monday Quarterback on ESPNEWS and The NFL Huddle on ESPN Radio. No stranger to big NFL games, Ditka has three rings in six career Super Bowl appearances as both a player and coach. He also coached in the highest-rated and one of the most memorable games in MNF history on Dec. 2, 1985, as the Miami Dolphins beat his then-undefeated Bears, 38-24, spoiling Chicago’s chances of an undefeated season.
Senior coordinating producer Tim Corrigan, who oversaw ESPN’s season-opening MNF doubleheader games the past two seasons, as well as three ESPN NFL telecasts in 2005, will produce the Broncos-Raiders telecast with director Mike Schwab.
ESPN’s Monday Night Football
ESPN’s Monday Night Football is the most-watched series in cable television history and the only NFL series nominated for a Sports Emmy in the Outstanding Live Sports Series category both the past two years. In two seasons on ESPN, Monday Night Football has registered nine of the top 10 all-time biggest household audiences in cable history, led by the New England Patriots-Baltimore Ravens telecast (12/03/07), which attracted cable’s largest audience ever (12.5 million homes and 17.5 million viewers). For the 2007 season, MNF averaged an 8.6 rating and 8,277,000 homes (11,230,000 P2+); the accompanying “Monday Night Surround” content on ESPN.com sparked an increase of Monday traffic to the site of 36% over the previous season.