ESPN kicks off the 43rd season of Monday Night Football on Sept. 10 with a doubleheader: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens (7 p.m. ET), and San Diego Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders (10:15 p.m.) MNF’s new two-person booth of Mike Tirico (play-by-play) and Jon Gruden (analyst) will call the opener with new sideline reporter Lisa Salters. Chris Berman and Trent Dilfer will call the second game with Rachel Nichols.
Prior to the first game, Suzy Kolber will anchor Monday Night Countdown Served by Applebee’s, now a two-hour pre-game show, at the special time of 5 p.m. She’ll be joined in studio by NFL analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson and NFL Insiders Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen. Stuart Scott, Jason Taylor and Steve Young will also contribute to the show from M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
In addition to MNF game action, ESPN’s impressive lineup of NFL studio shows includes: Sunday NFL Countdown Presented by IBM, Monday Night Countdown Served by Applebee’s, NFL Live, NFL Primetime Presented by Bud Light, NFL32, Snickers NFL Matchup, Fantasy Football Now Delivered by Papa John’s, Audibles, NFL Kickoff and Mike and Mike’s Best of the NFL.
Experienced Analysts, Reporters:
- New Monday Night Football team: Play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico and analyst Jon Gruden make up ESPN’s new booth team, while Lisa Salters debuts as MNF’s sideline reporter.
- Jaws In-Studio: NFL analyst Ron Jaworski, who was on MNF the past five seasons, moves to a new studio role on Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown, NFL Matchup, and NFL-branded specials.
- New NFL Studio Analysts: Former NFL players Brian Dawkins, Matt Light, and Jason Taylor and six-time National Football League Executive of the Year Bill Polian have joined ESPN as NFL analysts. They will appear on a variety of studio shows throughout the season.
Original, Upgraded NFL Studio Shows, Specials:
- Mike and Mike’s Best of the NFL (Tuesdays, 3-3:30 p.m., ESPN): In a new weekly NFL highlights show, hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic of ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike in the Morning examine the best NFL game highlights from the previous week. The show debuts Sept. 11.
- Fantasy Football Now (Sundays, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., ESPN2): This fantasy show expands to two hours in 2012. Robert Flores hosts with analysts Matthew Berry and Tim Hasselbeck, injury analyst Stephania Bell and Sara Walsh.
- Monday Night Countdown (Mondays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., ESPN): MNF’s pre-game show – now two hours – offers 30 more minutes of information and analysis in 2012. Host Chris Berman and ESPN’s cast of NFL analysts and Insiders prepare fans for the weekly MNF matchup.
- SportsCenter Special: Bill Parcells’ NFL Mid-Season Review (Wednesday, Oct. 31, 8 p.m., ESPN): ESPN NFL contributor and two-time Super Bowl winning head coach Bill Parcells analyzes the first part of the NFL season.
Monday Night Football Production Advances:
- Spidercam: A next generation aerial camera, spidercam has a wide fly zone and provides better tracking and smoother coverage. It has also been used on US Open tennis.
- Hi-speed cameras: Two high-speed cameras (providing frame rates of 300-400 frames per second).
- Goal post cameras: The addition of a camera on each goal post will help MNF show game action on the goal line from the perspective of the defense.
- “Soundtracks”: A new weekly segment during MNF halftime will treat fans to the best in-game audio from all of that weekend’s NFL games. The sounds will be heard for the first time on ESPN and will be culled by NFL Films.
- Gruden Grinder: Gruden will nominate an unsung hero as his player of the game each week. A social media element will be incorporated, giving fans the opportunity to cast their votes using the hashtag #GrudenGrinder and the @ESPNMondayNight account.
- Rules Consultant: Former NFL official Gerry Austin, now the Supervisor of Officials for Conference USA, will work with Tirico and Gruden in the booth. As needed, he’ll provide an explanation of NFL rules throughout MNF telecasts.
- The Rolling Stones: In honor of The Rolling Stones’ 50th Anniversary, ESPN will collaborate with the Universal Music Group to create “Legend to Legend” – a combination of MNF highlights and classic Rolling Stones tracks.
- Monday Night Football sponsors include DIRECTV, GMC, Miller Lite, State Farm, Subway, Toyota, and Verizon.
ESPN’s Weekly NFL Programming:
|Sundays||3:30-4 a.m.||NFL Matchup||ESPN|
|8:30-9 a.m.||NFL Matchup||ESPN2|
|10 a.m.- 1 p.m.||Sunday NFL Countdown||ESPN|
|11 a.m.-1 p.m.||Fantasy Football Now||ESPN2|
|The Blitz on SportsCenter||ESPN|
|Mondays||4-5 p.m.||NFL Live||ESPN|
|3-4 p.m.||NFL Primetime||ESPN|
|6:30-8:30 p.m.||Monday Night Countdown||ESPN|
|8:30 p.m.||Monday Night Football||ESPN|
|Tuesdays||3-3:30 p.m.||Mike and Mike’s Best of the NFL||ESPN|
|4-5 p.m.||NFL Live||ESPN|
|Wednesdays||4-5 p.m.||NFL Live||ESPN|
|Thursdays||4-5 p.m.||NFL Live||ESPN|
|7-8 p.m.||Audibles||ESPN or ESPN2|
|Fridays||4-5 p.m.||NFL Live||ESPN|
|7-8 p.m.||NFL Kickoff||ESPN2|
Gruden’s QB Camp Re-airs
Five of the 10 quarterbacks who took part in Gruden’s QB Camp in 2012 have been named NFL starters as rookies. ESPN revisits the shows with re-airs of MNF analyst Jon Gruden’s one-on-one film sessions with Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins), Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts), Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins), Brandon Weeden (Cleveland Browns) and Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks).
|Fri, Sept. 7||1-3 a.m.||Gruden’s QB Camp: Luck, Griffin, Weeden, Tannehill||ESPNU|
|Sun, Sept. 9||8-10 a.m.||Gruden’s QB Camp: Wilson, Weeden, Luck, Griffin||ESPNews|
NFL weekends on ESPN Radio will begin Fridays with Mike Tirico’s Monday Night Preview podcast, an addition to the network’s coverage that will take listeners behind the scenes of sports television’s longest-running series with the MNF crew and offer a look ahead to next week’s matchup. Also on Fridays, Tirico will be joined by Chris Mortensen and Keyshawn Johnson to preview the weekend’s NFL action in Mike Tirico’s Weekend Blitz, which airs at 8 p.m. ET (re-airs at 11 p.m.). On Sundays, Countdown to Kickoff (10 a.m.) provides whip-around coverage of the day’s slate in the NFL. Host Adnan Virk takes fans to the game sites for late-breaking injury, weather and fantasy information. Later on Sunday, The NFL on ESPN Radio (1 p.m.) offers day-long reports from every stadium with hosts Mike Hill and Freddie Coleman and analysts Eric Allen, Antonio Pierce and Tim Hasselbeck.
NFL Guests on Mike and Mike in the Morning
The following NFL guests are scheduled to make these weekly ESPN Radio appearances this season:
- Mondays: Ron Jaworski (7:15 a.m.), Cris Carter (7:30 a.m.) and Mike Ditka (8:15 a.m.);
- Tuesdays: Cris Carter (7:30-8:30 a.m.) and John Clayton (9:15 a.m.);
- Wednesdays: Jon Gruden (7:15 a.m.) and Adam Schefter (7:45 a.m.);
- Thursdays: Brian Billick (7:30 a.m.) and Chris Mortensen (9:15 a.m.);
- Fridays: Ron Jaworski (8:15 a.m.) and Mel Kiper, Jr. (8:45 a.m.);
- And Mark Schlereth – in studio Thursday or Friday.
ESPN Deportes, the U.S. Spanish-language network, will present live coverage of 17 regular season Monday Night Football games. Super Bowl champion (SB XXI and XXV) Raul Allegre returns to serve as analyst during the games, along with play-by-play voice Alvaro Martin. ESPN Deportes’ coverage will feature a Monday night pregame show, NFL Esta Noche, with hosts Eduardo Varela, Pablo Viruega, Georgina Ruiz Salvador and John Sutcliffe as onsite commentator and reporter. In addition, ESPN Deportes’ weekly show NFL Semanal returns every Sunday morning with commentators Martin, Ciro Procuna, Allegre and Sutcliffe providing analysis and highlights. ESPN and the NFL will also present a special Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration surrounding the Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks MNF game on Sept. 24.
This season ESPN will bring the NFL into over 73 million homes in 161 countries/territories in Latin America, Brazil, the Caribbean, Africa, Middle East, Israel, Europe, Canada, and Australia/New Zealand/Pacific Islands. ESPN will showcase more NFL programming than ever before, highlighted again this year by:
- ESPN’s Monday Night Football in all territories;
- Digital highlight rights and live MNF streaming in select markets;
- Live coverage of the other regular season games, playoffs, and Super Bowl throughout Latin America, Brazil, the Caribbean, Africa, Middle East, Israel, Continental Europe, Canada and Australia/New Zealand/Pacific Islands;
- The entire AFC/NFC Playoffs, Pro Bowl, and Super Bowl in Brazil and Australia/New Zealand;
- Spanish language programming including NFL Semanal, NFL Esta Noche, and NFL Primetime;
- Portuguese language programming including Semana NFL in Brazil;
- ESPN NFL programming such as Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown, NFL Primetime and NFL Live and NFL Films original programming, including Super Bowl Highlights, Yearbooks, Greatest Games, NFL Films Presents and more;
- ESPN remains the exclusive syndication agent to cruise ships worldwide for all pre-season, regular season, playoffs, Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, NFL Network, NFL Films, NFL Sunday Ticket, NFL Red Zone Channel, and NFL GameDay.
- ESPN Fantasy Focus Football podcast Presented by Coors Light and GEICO: Hosted by Matthew Berry and Nate Ravitz and featuring guests and interviews, this podcast will provide player previews, game overviews and strategies. Last year, Fantasy Focus was named in the PodcastAwards.com awards for “Best Sports Podcast” for the second time in the past three years. Fantasy Focus Football is posted five days per week during the season.
- ESPN Football Today podcast: Hosts Ross Tucker and Matt Williamson discuss all things football with in-depth pre- and post-game analysis. Football Today is posted daily throughout the season.
- ESPN Primetime Payoff presented by Best Buy: New to Fantasy for the upcoming NFL season, ESPN Primetime Payoff on ESPN.com and accessible on mobile and tablet devices is the debut pick ‘em game based on the events of Monday Night Football. Every Wednesday during the season, 12 game-related questions will be released for participants to answer for the following week. During halftime, four additional bonus questions – worth two points each – will be released that are directly relevant to what has happened in the game. Participants gather points throughout the season based on correct picks, which will transfer as entries to the overall grand prize random drawing of $1 million. Additionally, the overall highest scoring player in the game will receive a check for $50,000. The game will include social media integrations like message boards and the ability to submit halftime questions via Twitter hashtag #primetimepayoff.
In addition to prominently featuring Monday Night Football coverage on Page 1 and the NFL page, ESPN.com dedicates a page, “Monday Night HQ,” for coverage. MN HQ Presented by Toyota will include in-depth previews of every game, as well as the complete MNF schedule, access to the popular MNF on Facebook page (more than 1.1 million likes), blog posts, statistics and more. Every NFL game will be staffed by an ESPN.com blogger or national NFL columnist, who will provide in-depth post-game analysis. Game coverage includes “Cover It Live,” which allows users to interact with ESPN.com bloggers and analysts in real time. In addition, ESPN.com will offer quarter-by-quarter video highlights and post-game video analysis.
- ESPN Fantasy FootballApp – The free app for iPhone, Android and – for the first time – on iPad and Windows Phone exclusively on Nokia Lumia smartphones features team management, FantasyCast live scoring, news, videos and Tweets from ESPN Fantasy experts, league message boards and more.
- Mobile Team Management – Users with access to the ESPN mobile Web site will be able to set rosters, trade and waive players, and check scoring – all from their mobile devices.
- Mobile Scores and Alerts – Users can access their matchup, league scoreboard, and latest news on their mobile devices. ESPN Insiders can opt to receive personalized team alerts with breaking news, scoring, injury and substitution updates.
- Mobile TV – Fantasy football-related video content from ESPN studio shows.
ESPN The Magazine
ESPN The Magazine’s NFL Preview, currently on newsstands, tackles a variety of issues surrounding the NFL, taking the subject of concussions head on with features such as Concussion Confidential, where 320 preps leveled with The Mag. This is part of an overall NFL Confidential, also featured in the NFL Preview, which polls 48 NFL players for tough answers on sensitive subjects. For more on NFL Confidential: http://bit.ly/MagNFLPreview.
NFL Preview features highlight the Lions’ Calvin Johnson, Peyton Manning and the Broncos, and Minnesota Vikings’ rookie Matt Kalil. See the full release at ESPN MediaZone. Go to outtakes from Johnson’s cover shoot and behind-the-scenes video where he discusses the upcoming season, the Lions on-and off-field troubles, and more.
Beginning this season, espnW.com will launch two new series around the NFL: Street Clothes and 53rd Man. Street Clothes will give readers a behind-the-scenes look at players’ lives off the field and insight into their home lives, families and hobbies. 53rd Man will feature the stories of the final player to make their teams’ roster. Additionally, espnW.com reporter Jane McManus will provide a column featuring the news of the week.
*All times ET unless otherwise noted.