ESPN's Monday Night Football Season-Opening Doubleheader -- Vikings-Packers and Broncos-Raiders on Sept. 8
ESPN's Monday Night Football will kickoff its 39th season with a nationally televised doubleheader on Monday, September 8 � Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (7 p.m. ET) and Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders (10:15 p.m.). The commentator team of Mike Tirico (play-by-play) and analysts Ron Jaworski and Tony Kornheiser will call the early game at Lambeau Field, marking ESPN's first visit to the famed stadium for a MNF game. The crew for the second game will be announced later this offseason.
ESPN's MNF delivered the four biggest household audiences, and 16 of the top 20, for cable television in 2007. Sports television's signature series also solidified its position as the most-watched series in cable history.
"ESPN's Monday Night Football opening doubleheader will highlight two of the NFL's top divisional rivalries with the first game to be played at Lambeau Field, one of America's most famous sporting venues," said John Wildhack, executive vice president, program acquisitions and strategy, ESPN.
The Packers won the NFC North division and reached the NFC Championship last season. Aaron Rodgers is expected to make his first start at quarterback for the Packers, following legend Brett Favre who retired this off-season. Running back Adrian Peterson, fresh off his 1,341-rushing yard Rookie of the Year season, will lead the Vikings, which won five straight games during the second half of the 2007 NFL season.
The second game will be a battle of longtime AFC West teams when quarterback Jay Cutler leads the Broncos against second-year signal-caller JaMarcus Russell and the Raiders. One of the most-heated rivalries in the NFL, Denver and Oakland have faced one another a record 14 times on MNF, tied with Redskins-Cowboys as the most-played match-up in the history of the NFL primetime series.
Remaining games on ESPN's 17-game Monday Night Football regular-season schedule are expected to be announced in April. All MNF game telecasts will start at 8:30 p.m.
ESPN'S MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
ESPN's Monday Night Football is the most-watched series in cable television history and the only NFL series nominated for a Sports Emmy in the Outstanding Live Sports Series category both the past two years. In two seasons on ESPN, Monday Night Football has registered nine of the top 10 all-time biggest household audiences in cable history, led by the New England Patriots-Baltimore Ravens telecast (12/03/07), which attracted cable's largest audience ever (17.5 million viewers). For the 2007 season, MNF averaged an 8.6 rating and 8,277,000 homes (11,230,000 P2+); the accompanying "Monday Night Surround" content on ESPN.com sparked an increase of Monday traffic to the site of 36% over the previous season.