The 41st season of Monday Night Football will kick off on ESPN with a doubleheader Monday, September 13 – Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets (7 p.m. ET) and San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (10:15 p.m. / 9:15 p.m. CT) – and will continue with a total of 17 prime-time games. Following a successful season that delivered the 15 biggest cable household audiences of the year, ESPN’s MNF schedule will feature all 12 playoff teams from 2009, including both the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints and AFC champion Indianapolis Colts.
In the first game of the nationally televised ESPN week 1 doubleheader, Mark Sanchez and the Jets will host Joe Flacco and the Ravens. The Jets advanced to the AFC Championship last season, while Baltimore reached the AFC Divisional playoffs. The matchup will be the first prime-time regular season game in the New Meadowlands Stadium and the first of three MNF appearances for the Jets, the NFL’s most aggressive franchise this offseason having added former NFL MVP LaDainian Tomlinson, Super Bowl XLIII MVP Santonio Holmes, All-Pro defensive back Antonio Cromartie and 2006 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Jason Taylor.
In the doubleheader nightcap, running back Thomas Jones and the Chiefs will host Phillip Rivers and the defending AFC West champion Chargers at the newly renovated Arrowhead Stadium, one of the NFL’s iconic venues. It will be the first MNF game in Kansas City since Nov. 22, 2004, and it is the first time the MNF doubleheader will conclude outside San Francisco/Oakland since the season-opening two-game format was adopted in 2006.
A week later, Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees and the NFL champion New Orleans Saints travel to the West Coast to play Frank Gore and the San Francisco 49ers September 20.
Play-by-play commentator Mike Tirico and analysts Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski will call the Ravens-Jets opener, and the MNF games each week at 8:30 p.m. ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s 24-hour Spanish-language domestic sports network, will continue to offer a Spanish-language production of MNF games during the 2010 NFL season. Additional MNF “game around the game” content will be available throughout the day across ESPN’s multimedia platforms.
ESPN’s MNF Schedule Highlights:
• Appearances by both Super Bowl teams – New Orleans Saints at San Francisco (Sept. 20) and at Atlanta (Dec. 27); and Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston (Nov. 1);
• New York Jets lead all NFL teams with three MNF appearances. Multiple teams have two appearances each – Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Minnesota, New England, New Orleans, San Diego and San Francisco;
• 13 of 17 MNF games involve divisional matchups, including Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears (Sept. 27), New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (Oct. 25), Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins (Nov. 15), New York Jets at New England Patriots (Dec. 6) and Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (Dec. 20).
Super Bowl Champion Saints Come Marching in September:
• Sept. 13: Season-opening doubleheader – Ravens at Jets and Chargers at Chiefs – features three AFC playoff teams from last season, as well as the prime-time NFL regular season debut of both the New Meadowlands Stadium and the newly renovated Arrowhead Stadium;
• Sept. 20: Drew Brees and the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints face Frank Gore and the San Francisco 49ers;
• Sept. 27: A classic NFC North matchup featuring top young quarterbacks, as Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers travel to the Windy City to play Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears.
Favre (?) Back in New York and Giants in Big D in October:
• Oct. 4: All-Pro wide receiver Brandon Marshall – traded to the Miami Dolphins this offseason – makes his MNF debut at home against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots;
• Oct. 11: Brett Favre, still undecided about his NFL future, could face his former team when the Minnesota Vikings play the New York Jets. Both teams advanced to the conference championships last season and are hoping for another Super Bowl run in 2010;
• Oct. 18: 2009 NFL leading rusher Chris Johnson and the Tennessee Titans play David Garrard and the Jacksonville Jaguars in a key AFC South game;
• Oct. 25: Annually one of the NFL’s most anticipated games, Eli Manning and the New York Giants travel to Texas to face Tony Romo and the NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys.
Peyton’s Place and McNabb’s New Home in November:
• Nov. 1: For the second consecutive week, MNF will feature a Manning. This time it’s Peyton’s turn as the reigning NFL MVP and the AFC champion Indianapolis Colts host Matt Schaub and the Houston Texans in the first MNF game at Lucas Oil Stadium;
• Nov. 8: Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers try to recapture the AFC North from Carson Palmer and the defending division champion Cincinnati Bengals;
• Nov. 15: Donovan McNabb faces his former team when new starting quarterback Kevin Kolb and the Philadelphia Eagles travel to the nation’s capital to play the Washington Redskins;
• Nov. 22: AFC West contenders meet when Rivers and the Chargers host the Denver Broncos;
• Nov. 29: Larry Fitzgerald and the NFC West champion Arizona Cardinals host the 49ers.
Jets-Pats Grudge Match and Bears-Vikings Clash in December:
• Dec. 6: The Jets and Patriots renew their AFC East rivalry in a game that could decide the division;
• Dec. 13: Ray Lewis and the Ravens travel to Houston to battle Schaub and the Texans;
• Dec. 20: Adrian Peterson and the Vikings host Cutler and the Bears in a key late-season NFC North matchup;
• Dec. 27: With hopes of recapturing the NFC South, Brees and the Super Bowl champion Saints face Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons in the MNF season finale.
ESPN’s Monday Night Football
ESPN’s Monday Night Football is the most-watched series in cable television history. In four seasons on ESPN, Monday Night Football has registered eight of the top 10 all-time biggest household audiences in cable history, led by the Green Bay Packers-Minnesota Vikings telecast (10/5/09), which attracted cable’s largest household audience ever (an average of 15,136,000 million homes and 21,839,000 viewers). For the 2009 season, ESPN’s MNF delivered the 15 biggest household audiences (and top 14 among viewers) for cable television in 2009, averaging a 10.4 rating and 10,315,000 homes (14,382,000 viewers). It was also the first time on ESPN that the series averaged higher than a 10 rating and 14 million viewers for the season. Accompanying NFL content on ESPN.com, including “Monday Night HQ,” sparked an increase of Monday traffic to the site of 24% over the previous season with an average 84.6 million page views per week.
ESPN’s 2010 Monday Night Football Schedule
|Aug. 12||8 p.m.||Carolina Panthers at Baltimore Ravens|
|Aug. 16||8 p.m.||New York Giants at New York Jets|
|Aug. 23||8 p.m.||Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans|
|Aug. 26||8 p.m.||Indianapolis Colts at Green Bay Packers|
|Sept. 13||7 p.m.||Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets|
|10:15 p.m.||San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs|
|Sept. 20||8:30 p.m.||New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers|
|Sept. 27||8:30 p.m.||Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears|
|Oct. 4||8:30 p.m.||New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins|
|Oct. 11||8:30 p.m.||Minnesota Vikings at New York Jets|
|Oct. 18||8:30 p.m.||Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Oct. 25||8:30 p.m.||New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys|
|Nov. 1||8:30 p.m.||Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts|
|Nov. 8||8:30 p.m.||Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals|
|Nov. 15||8:30 p.m.||Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins|
|Nov. 22||8:30 p.m.||Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers|
|Nov. 29||8:30 p.m.||San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals|
|Dec. 6||8:30 p.m.||New York Jets at New England Patriots|
|Dec. 13||8:30 p.m.||Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans|
|Dec. 20||8:30 p.m.||Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings|
|Dec. 27||8:30 p.m.||New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons|