ABC'S NFL "MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL" PRE-SEASON SPECIAL:
HALL OF FAME GAME
LIVE FROM CANTON, OHIO
CHICAGO BEARS VS. MIAMI DOLPHINS
MONDAY, AUGUST 8
8:00 P.M., ET
ABC TELEVISION NETWORK
ABC Sports begins its 36th season of "Monday Night Football" with live, exclusive coverage of the 43rd annual Hall of Fame Game from Canton, Ohio, featuring head coach Nick Saban's first game at the helm of the Miami Dolphins as they battle the Chicago Bears. This traditional opener of the NFL's pre-season airs in HDTV on ABC's NFL "Monday Night Football" MONDAY, AUGUST 8 (8:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.
Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2005 inductees Dan Marino, Steve Young, Fritz Pollard and Benny Friedman will be enshrined at Canton, Ohio on SUNDAY, AUGUST 7. ESPN will air the Hall of Fame induction, beginning at 1:00 p.m., ET.
ABC Sports continues its pre-season schedule on MONDAY, AUGUST 22 (8:00 p.m., ET) with a match-up of two of the league's premiere offenses, as Bill Parcells leads his Dallas Cowboys into Seattle to battle Shaun Alexander and the Seattle Seahawks. The third and final game in ABC's pre-season coverage will see Steve Mariucci and the Detroit Lions host Torry Holt and the St. Louis Rams on MONDAY, AUGUST 29 (8:00 p.m., ET).
The 2005 MNF regular season campaign begins with the opening NFL game of the season, as the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots host Randy Moss and the Oakland Raiders on THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 8 (9:00 p.m., ET). The 2005 schedule continues on MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, as Michael Vick and the Atlanta Falcons host the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles.
Emmy Award winning announcer Al Michaels returns for his 20th consecutive season as the play-by-play voice of "Monday Night Football." Michaels, one of television's most respected journalists, has appeared on live, primetime, over-the-air television more than anyone in the history of the medium.
Joining him for his third season on MNF is the legendary John Madden. Madden has won an unprecedented 14 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Sports Personality/Sports Event Analyst.
Michele Tafoya returns for her second year as sideline reporter for MNF. She has been the courtside reporter for ABC's coverage of the NBA Finals the last three seasons.
THE MUPPETS ASK "ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?"
The opening tease will feature Muppet characters Miss Piggy and Kermit, along with Statler and Waldorf, welcoming the audience back to another season of "Monday Night Football," and will enlighten the audience about this year's Pro Football Hall-of-Fame class.
HALFTIME WITH MARINO AND YOUNG:
A special halftime segment will feature Hall-of-Fame inductees Dan Marino and Steve Young watching highlights of some of their greatest moments of their illustrious careers, and commenting on them five years after their retirement in what will surely be a moving, sentimental piece.
Additionally, Marino and Young will visit the booth with Al Michaels and John Madden during the game.
HALL OF FAME GAME:
The AFC/NFC Hall of Fame Game will be broadcast live from Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio, with the Chicago Bears taking on the Miami Dolphins.
CHICAGO BEARS VS. MIAMI DOLPHINS:
These two teams look to reverse their fortunes of last year, as they both finished with dismal records. The Miami Dolphins have a new head coach in Nick Saban, and will also have Ricky Williams back in their lineup after coming out of a one-year retirement. Quarterback Rex Grossman will anchor the Chicago Bears offense.
Chicago Bears (5-11, 4th in NFC North in 2004)
The Chicago Bears hope 2005 will be a promising year for QB Rex Grossman. Grossman started the first three games of the 2004 season before being injured, throwing over 600 yards with both a passing and rushing TD. The Bears also hope that their four-time Pro-Bowler Brian Urlacher will remain healthy this season, as he played in only 9 games in 2004. Although injured for half the season, Urlacher was able to reach the 100 tackle mark for the fifth straight year
The Bears are 3-0 in the Hall of Fame Game, their last victory coming against the Cleveland Browns, 13-0, in 1990.
Miami Dolphins (4-12, 4th in AFC East in 2004)
The Dolphins look to bounce back this season under new head coach Nick Saban. QB A.J. Feeley heads an offense with WR's Chris Chambers and Marty Booker. Ricky Williams returns from his one-year "sabbatical" and will be challenged for playing time by No. 1 draft Pick Ronnie Brown, a running back out of Auburn.
The Dolphins are 0-2 in Canton. Their last game was in 2001, a 17-10 loss to the St. Louis Rams.
MNF IN HDTV:
The entire schedule (pre-season, regular season, post-season) of ABC's NFL "Monday Night Football" is available in HDTV.
Fred Gaudelli is the producer and Drew Esocoff is the director of the Hall of Fame Game coverage.