It is hard to overstate the effect Monday Night Football had on the formation and popularization of the NFL. Bringing high profile games into the living rooms of the nation’s sports fans during prime time built MNF into a tradition. ABC’s marketing of MNF made it into a must-see event. Here is part two of our compilation of Monday Night Football trivia:
* As of the end of the 2007 season there have been two matchups televised more often than all others. Oakland vs. Denver and Dallas vs. Washington have both been televised 14 times on Monday Night Football
* The first MNF broadcaster to not last an entire season was Fred Williamson who only broadcasted during the preseason before being replaced by former Detroit Lions player Alex Karras.
* On December 8th, 1980 during a game between the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots announcer Howard Cosell broke the news to the nation that former Beatle John Lennon had been murdered.
* In 1985, the would-be Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears would lose their only game of the season on MNF to the Miami Dolphins.
* Joe Namath and O.J. Simpson were both broadcasters for Monday Night Football in 1985; after the season they were replaced with Al Michaels and for the first time MNF used a two-man booth. Later in the season, when Michaels was busy with the Major League Baseball playoffs, former Steelers wide receiver Lynn Swann would step in to broadcast with Frank Gifford.
* The onscreen graphic showing the time clock and score during the entire game was first used by Monday Night Football in 1997.
* Lesley Visser became the first female broadcaster to be part of the MNF team when in 1998 she joined as a sideline reporter.
* In a 2003 game against the Raiders, Brett Favre threw for four first half touchdowns and 399 total yards as the Packers won 41-7 on the day after Favre’s father had passed away.
* The first sponsor of Monday Night Football was Marlboro Cigarettes (this was before the FCC rules changed regarding tobacco advertising).
* John Madden, the longtime head coach of the Oakland Raiders, has the best career winning percentage on MNF of any coach ever at .740.
* The final game of Monday Night Football on ABC had the New York Jets hosting the Patriots in a 31-21 loss. This meant that both the first and last game MNF game ever on ABC shared the same score, 31-21.
* Vinny Testaverde holds the distinction of throwing the last touchdown pass of ABC’s Monday Night Football era; the pass was caught by wide receiver Laveranues Coles. The final play of ABC’s MNF was a kneeldown by Patriots quarterback Doug Flutie.
Monday Night Football remains the highlight of the week during the NFL regular season every fall. Usually having the best match-up and then broadcasting it during prime time when the most sports fans can watch it have proven a successful formula. Monday Night Football continues being broadcast, by ESPN now, and will continue to be one of the focal points of every NFL season.