As “Dandy” Don Meredith used to sing to Howard Cossell, when Monday Night Football games were winding down, “the party’s over, turn out the lights.” MNF was an American institution, revolutionizing sports broadcasting and making football the real American religion.
But now, bowing to financial (and ratings) reality, it’s gone. “Monday Night Football” Moving to ESPN [BusinessWeek]. The NFL realized that in today’s media-centric world, Monday is the wrong night for a nationally televised, prime time game. ABC desperately wanted to keep “Desperate Houswives” on Sunday, so NBC takes over the Sunday evening slot and MNF moves to Disney’s ESPN affiliate. (The eight-year deal is worth a reported $8.8 billion.)
It’s the end of an era, but certainly not the end of the game. With the steroids controversy raging in baseball, the NBA in the doldrums and the NHL on strike, NFL football will be bigger than ever this fall and for years to come. George Will, eat your heart out.