The 42nd season of Monday Night Football will kick off on ESPN with a doubleheader Monday, September 12 – New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins (7 p.m. ET) and Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos (10:15 p.m. / 8:15 p.m. MT) – and will continue with a total of 17 prime-time games. Following a successful season that delivered the 16 biggest cable household audiences of the year, ESPN’s MNF schedule will feature all 12 playoff teams from 2010, including both the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers and AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers.
In the first game of the nationally televised ESPN week 1 doubleheader, wide receiver Brandon Marshall and the Dolphins will host divisional foe Tom Brady and the defending AFC East champion Patriots. The second game will pit Tim Tebow and the Broncos against the Raiders in Denver as the longtime AFC West rivals face one another for an NFL record 15th time under the Monday Night lights.
Play-by-play commentator Mike Tirico and analysts Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski will call the Patriots-Dolphins 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 2011 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 – Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings (11/14); and Pittsburgh Steelers at San Francisco 49ers (12/19);
- Nine of 17 MNF games involve divisional matchups, including Redskins at Cowboys (9/26), Vikings at Packers (11/14), Falcons at Saints (12/26);
- Nine NFL teams with multiple MNF appearances.
Redskins-Cowboys renew their rivalry in September:
- Sept. 12: Season-opening doubleheader – Patriots at Dolphins and Raiders at Broncos. Denver continues NFL’s longest current streak of 20 consecutive seasons playing on MNF (1992-present);
- Sept. 19: Second-year quarterback Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams face Eli Manning and the New York Giants;
- Sept. 26: A classic NFC East matchup featuring Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys hosting the Washington Redskins, the teams’ 14th meeting all-time on MNF.
MNF returns to Motown and Halloween night in Kansas City:
- Oct. 3: Peyton Manning and the AFC South champion Indianapolis Colts travel to Tampa to face Josh Freeman and the Buccaneers. ESPN’s Gruden will call his first MNF game at the stadium he once called home as the Bucs’ coach;
- Oct. 10: Jay Cutler and the defending NFC North champion Chicago Bears play Matthew Stafford and the upstart Lions as Detroit returns to MNF for first time in a decade (since Oct. 8, 2001).
- Oct. 17: The Dolphins travel North for a divisional matchup to face Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets, who advanced to the AFC Championship game last season;
- Oct. 24: Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens go head-to-head against Maurice Jones-Drew and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
- Oct. 31: Matt Cassel and the AFC West champion Chiefs host Phillip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers on Halloween night in Kansas City;
Quarterback spotlight in November with Cutler, Vick, Rodgers, Brady and Brees on MNF:
- Nov. 7: In a big city NFC brawl on Broad Street, Jay Cutler and the Bears play Michael Vick and the defending NFC East champion Philadelphia Eagles;
- Nov. 14: Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers and the champion Green Bay Packers host Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field in a key NFC North clash;
- Nov. 21: AFC contenders meet when Cassel, the former Patriots back-up, returns with the Chiefs to New England to play Brady and the Pats;
- Nov. 28: It’s a homecoming for Eli Manning when the Giants go marching into New Orleans to face Drew Brees and the Saints.
Falcons-Saints finale to again decide NFC South?:
- Dec. 5: The Chargers travel to Jacksonville to play Jones-Drew and the Jaguars;
- Dec. 12: In a rematch of the week 17 game in 2010 that decided the NFC West, the Rams face the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field;
- Dec. 19: Ben Roethlisberger and the defending AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers face the San Francisco 49ers in a matchup of tradition-rich NFL franchises;
- Dec. 26: With hopes of recapturing the division from their NFC South rivals, Brees and the Saints host 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 five seasons on ESPN, MNF has registered eight of the top 10 all-time biggest household audiences in cable history. For the 2010 season, ESPN’s MNF delivered the 16 biggest household audiences (and top 12 among viewers) for cable television in 2010, averaging a 10.5 rating and 10,495,000 homes (14,657,000 viewers). It was the highest-rated and most-viewed season of ESPN’s MNF and the second straight season the series averaged higher than a 10 rating and 14 million viewers. ESPN.com’s accompanying NFL content averaged 202 million page views (a 11 percent increase over the previous season) and 271 million minutes (a 28 percent gain) on Sundays and Mondays, while ESPN’s Mobile web site averaged 61 million page views (a 13 percent increase) and 101 million minutes (a 61 percent spike) spent with NFL content on the ESPN mobile web site and ScoreCenter App.
ESPN’s 2011 Monday Night Football Schedule
|Aug. 11||8 p.m.||Seattle Seahawks at San Diego Chargers|
|Aug. 15||8 p.m.||New York Jets at Houston Texans|
|Aug. 22||8 p.m.||Chicago Bears at New York Giants|
|Aug. 25||8 p.m.||Washington Redskins at Baltimore Ravens|
|Sept. 12||7 p.m.||New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins|
|10:15 p.m.||Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos|
|Sept. 19||8:30 p.m.||St. Louis Rams at New York Giants|
|Sept. 26||8:30 p.m.||Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys|
|Oct. 3||8:30 p.m.||Indianapolis Colts at Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Oct. 10||8:30 p.m.||Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions|
|Oct. 17||8:30 p.m.||Miami Dolphins at New York Jets|
|Oct. 24||8:30 p.m.||Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Oct. 31||8:30 p.m.||San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs|
|Nov. 7||8:30 p.m.||Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles|
|Nov. 14||8:30 p.m.||Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers|
|Nov. 21||8:30 p.m.||Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots|
|Nov. 28||8:30 p.m.||New York Giants at New Orleans Saints|
|Dec. 5||8:30 p.m.||San Diego Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Dec. 12||8:30 p.m.||St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks|
|Dec. 19||8:30 p.m.||Pittsburgh Steelers at San Francisco 49ers|
|Dec. 26||8:30 p.m.||Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints|