View Poll Results: Is the party over

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  1. #1
    OldRamsfan's Avatar
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    Line Of Scrimmage: R.I.P. Monday Night

    By Tony Moss, Sports Network NFL Editor

    PHILADELPHIA -- The New England Patriots will play the New York Jets the day after Christmas, in what will mark the end of the 35- year spectacle known as Monday Night Football.

    ESPN is taking over the Monday night game next season, while NBC will carry the premiere primetime game of the week, only on Sundays.

    The official end of Monday Night Football on network television is but the final splash of light in a long, slow sunset that has been at least a decade in its descent. ABC had been complaining for years about the money it was losing on the Monday night game, and tried a variety of bells and whistles, all of which were met with skepticism and/or ambivalence by the viewing public, in an effort to reclaim a measure of its 1970s glory.

    With so many cable outlets to distract viewers, the ratings decline that MNF was subject to was little more than a sign of the times. ABC knew when it agreed to pay an annual rights fee of $550 million that it couldn't possibly recoup those dollars in ad revenue. The network was reportedly losing about $150 million a year on the package, and while that money could certainly pay my heating bill for the winter, networks like ABC typically dump $150 million or so on a casual lunch for the cast of According to Jim.

    Lest you thought that the four major networks operated like Swarthmore College trying to determine whether or not to drop women's tennis, know this: networks don't buy the rights to NFL games for the money, they buy them for the prestige and promotional potential that comes with owning them. If you're out of the NFL game, as CBS and NBC both found out during different periods of the past decade, you may have more bankroll within the financial coffers, but you're also considered to be at the back of the network sports bus.

    And though ABC knew this, and should have realized that having a Top 10 show like MNF was still better than much of the dreck it would be able to put out in its place, executives at the network still thought they could transform the show back into the phenomenon it once was. So it made a series of disastrous decisions in an effort to make the game an en all-encompassing festival of entertainment rather than what it has always been, which is a quality sporting event.

    Dennis Miller is a terrific comedian and social commentator, but to think that his high-brow observations were going to make Roscoe from Omaha switch the dial from professional wrestling smacks of a decision made by a bunch of Yale grads in a Manhattan boardroom. Hiring John Madden away from FOX was a step in the right direction, and probably should have been made long before the name "Boomer Esiason" was uttered anywhere in the vicinity of an offseason production meeting.

    But the teaming of Madden and the similarly classy Al Michaels was too little, too late, and was too often undone by some of the other dubious moves that the ABC brass made around MNF.

    The Hank Williams, Jr. thing was tired after about six games but was at least tolerable, unlike recent phenomenons such as Tim McGraw, who with every watered-down note stomps on the graves of every legitimate country artist that came before him. McGraw is a cartoon version of Hank Williams, Jr., and Hank Williams, Jr. is no Hank Williams, Sr.

    Then you had the procession of guests in the booth, which also seemed a lot like grasping at straws, even though this was a regular feature of the Howard Cosell era. The problem was that where you once had Cosell chatting up John Lennon, this season you had the painful specter of Madden and Michaels asking Geena Davis scripted questions about her new ABC series and pretending to care.

    Scenes like that were painful, and suggested to viewers that the game was not entertaining enough in and of itself to be worth watching. This is the same line of thinking used in the NBA, soon to be little more than a fringe sport in the U.S. due to how little of the game's beauty actually remains at the professional level. The NBA is so thoroughly unwatchable that spectators probably do need to hear a Nelly song while LeBron takes Kobe one-on-one and eight other players stand around admiring their bling. But the quality of the NFL is fine, which is why the league sets new attendance records every year, and why the networks line up to give the league their millions in the first place.

    What the network should have revisited before completely scrapping Monday Night Football was starting the games at 8pm eastern time, which was tried for one year (1998) and scrapped because of slightly diminished west coast ratings. ABC should have stuck with the 8pm time slot, sacrificing a couple of west coast viewers during the game's first half for those on the east coast that would now be able to tune in for the duration. As it stands currently, many east coast viewers won't even commit to watching a game that isn't going to be over until 12:30am.

    All of this discussion is now moot. The Monday Night game will be on cable next year, and if you thought MNF was too entertainment-oriented already, wait until the lowest-common-denominator specialists at ESPN get their hands on what was once a dignified American institution. You won't get Madden and Michaels, but you may get the cast of Around the Horn playing Texas Hold 'Em in the booth while Nickelback updates their weekly version of "The Ultimate Highlight."

    After this week, Monday Night Football as we once knew it will be gone, though the wheels of that occurrence were set in motion long ago.

    Turn out the lights, because the Monday night party is indeed over. Who here thinks the parties over on monday nite , I dont think its over but it wont be the same ... ABC and ESPN are both owned by disney any thoughts ???
    Last edited by OldRamsfan; -12-22-2005 at 01:20 PM.


  2. #2
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    Re: Line Of Scrimmage: R.I.P. Monday Night

    Gosh. This stinks. I'm going miss it!!
    RamsFan16

  3. #3
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    Re: Line Of Scrimmage: R.I.P. Monday Night

    It's still football. I'd watch if it were on ABC, ESPN, Fox, C-SPAN, The Weather Channel, Lifetime.......okay, maybe not Lifetime, but the point is, it's football. As long as there are 22 guys on the field playing the greatest game on earth, who cares about whatever crap is going on in the booth?
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  4. #4
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    This brings up an interesting question

    What if the time should come that thenetworks no longer think that having the NFL is worth the licensing fees, and the refuse (collectively) to pay more?

    What would this do to the salary cap if the bufget actually went DOWN in a following year instead of up?

  5. #5
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    Re: This brings up an interesting question

    Quote Originally Posted by cowboyhater
    What if the time should come that thenetworks no longer think that having the NFL is worth the licensing fees, and the refuse (collectively) to pay more?

    What would this do to the salary cap if the bufget actually went DOWN in a following year instead of up?
    Then players would have to live with just one Hummer instead of two.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  6. #6
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    Re: Line Of Scrimmage: R.I.P. Monday Night

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison
    It's still football. I'd watch if it were on ABC, ESPN, Fox, C-SPAN, The Weather Channel, Lifetime.......okay, maybe not Lifetime, but the point is, it's football. As long as there are 22 guys on the field playing the greatest game on earth, who cares about whatever crap is going on in the booth?
    I agree Bison , I just dont think it will have the same flare as it had , But it is still football ...

  7. #7
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    Re: Line Of Scrimmage: R.I.P. Monday Night

    [QUOTE=OldRamsfan]By Tony Moss, Sports Network NFL Editor

    .

    .

    The Hank Williams, Jr. thing was tired after about six games but was at least tolerable, unlike recent phenomenons such as Tim McGraw, who with every watered-down note stomps on the graves of every legitimate country artist that came before him. McGraw is a cartoon version of Hank Williams, Jr., and Hank Williams, Jr. is no Hank Williams, Sr.



    I don't agree with the Hank Williams Jr comment. Even thouugh I am not a dyed in the wool country fan I have always enjoyed his opening bit for MNF, and my wife actually gets mad if she misses it -- gets her really amped up for the game. Most of all I remember back when Dan Dierdorf was still in the booth and the ABC execs axed Hank in favor of a potpourri of so-called artists in order to attract a younger audience.

    As the Hankless season neared an end, (I can't remember the segue) Dan D. made the comment: "The question we get asked the most everywhere we go is: What ever happened to Hank Williams Jr?"

    The following season Hank was back!... I for one hope they keep him and fund a different theme for each game, like he used to do before they screwed it up.. Anyone remember Jimmy Johnson thumbing a ride on the highway and getting a ride in Hank's cadillac??



  8. #8
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    Re: Line Of Scrimmage: R.I.P. Monday Night

    MNF will be missed but i think the NBC crew will do a better job in the sunday night games

  9. #9
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    Re: Line Of Scrimmage: R.I.P. Monday Night

    I agree that ABC could have taken the MNF to a better level. Desperate Housewives? WTF was that all about? Football fans don't care about that on Mondays - we want football!
    Knowledgeable announcers with personality and a love of the game would have been a great first step. A time change? Great idea - I get up every day at 5:30 AM. I only stay up for the Rams' games, and I feel like crap the next day.
    Some other ideas:
    Instead of some country singer most people hate, how about having Hank Jr. and a guest singer? Bocephus and Alice Cooper. Bocephus and Axl Rose. Bocephus and Joe Walsh...
    Quit breaking away for a commercial every two minutes. We all know about Samuel Adams, the Silver Bullet, and Budweiser's Clydesdales. And I NEVER want to see a Kotex ad on during a football game.
    Maybe have a different guest host each week. Not just ANY guest host, but a former player from one of the teams playing that night. For instance, if it was a Whiners-Dallas game, have Joe Montana or Roger Staubach as guest host. Show clips from years past. Give us some memories to relive.
    A contest to get the fans directly involved would be nice. Four tickets for a local family that might not otherwise ever see a live game. Invite a group of underpriveliged kids. Any personal connection would build interest.
    Two Words: Jillian Barberie. Ever notice on Fox pre-game that she is not unpleasant to look at? MNF could take the idea of sex appeal and run with it. I'm not talking three gorgeous nude women who know football announcing the game, but maybe realize Jimmy Kimmel was on the right track when he showed "Girls on Trampoliones". (OK, ladies, shoot me. I might deserve it.)
    A lot of people who watch the game might see a penalty and wonder why. Instead of hearing two guys saying "they'll overturn it, he didn't see it from his viewpoint", during the review of a challenged play, teach! I'd rather see a short explanation of why a flag was thrown and why it was challenged than see the rear end of someone wearing a Zebra costume with his head in a box.
    Wire a player from each side. I want to hear what they are thinking, what they are saying.
    Schedule only games that have a chance to be exciting...in other words, no Indy - Houston matchups. Doesn't matter to me if the teams are both good, both bad, or both mediocre, just a good potential matchup. Houston - Whiners would be more interesting to me than Chargers - Green Bay. (BTW, I am speaking of the 2005 teams as examples here.)
    Ok, enough from me.

  10. #10
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    Re: Line Of Scrimmage: R.I.P. Monday Night

    MNF lost all credibility when they hired Dennis Miller in the booth, at least when Boomer, or Deirdorf were there they know about football. Miller was useless. MNF tried to save themselves by hiring Madden with Michaels, but it was too little too late.

    I don't really care who has the Monday game as long as it's on. I don't expect much from any network, I just want to watch the game. I know enough about football that I don't need the announcers. For the people who do need the announcers it's sad because they are getting ripped off.
    BRUUUUUUUUCE


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