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Are Rams rookies ready for the glare of Monday Night Lights?

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  • Are Rams rookies ready for the glare of Monday Night Lights?

    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Sunday, Oct. 17 2004

    The Rams' practice Saturday was routine, except for the presence of a couple of
    special visitors: John Madden and Michele Tafoya of ABC's "Monday Night
    Football" broadcast team.

    Unlike other media members, who are herded toward the far end of the indoor
    facility at Rams Park, Madden and Tafoya had 50-yard-line seats for the
    workout. Though the ratings might be down a bit, the presence of "Monday Night
    Football" still creates a buzz.

    Second-year Rams linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa remembers his first Monday night
    experience vividly - a 36-0 trouncing of Atlanta at the Edward Jones Dome. "It
    was a lot different than a regular Sunday game," he said. "You've got cameras
    all over the place, and you see Madden right there. ... With all that hype
    going on, it makes it that much more difficult to settle down and perform."

    That's the challenge that confronts the Rams' rookies, who will experience the
    intense spotlight of a regular-season Monday night game for the first time
    tonight. The Rams (3-2) will take on the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-4) at
    the Dome, with kickoff scheduled for 8:10.

    "It's something that I've wanted to do my whole life," defensive end Anthony
    Hargrove said. "'Monday Night Football' was the highlight of the week. And now
    to actually play on it, with the whole world watching, I just can't wait."

    Cornerback Dwight Anderson couldn't tune in the games when he growing up in
    Jamaica. But soon after his family moved to Bloomfield, Conn., when he was 11,
    he became hooked.

    "You come home, you want to eat your dinner early and get your homework done so
    you can sit around and watch 'Monday Night Football,'" he said. "And for me, I
    had to be in bed by 10. So I only had about an hour, and I had to make sure I
    got that full hour. . . .

    "I always pictured myself out there, like if I was that corner there, what
    would I do on that play? It was a childhood dream, I think, for every kid who
    was a football player."

    Coach Mike Martz said he doesn't caution his first-year players about getting
    caught up in the hoopla. "Monday night is exciting for everybody, but I just
    have always felt if you're waiting for Monday night to bring your best, then
    that's not very good," Martz said. "Every Sunday is Monday night. It just has
    to be that way."

    Martz acknowledged, though, that the Monday night games have a different feel
    to them, perhaps because for those few hours, only two NFL teams occupy the
    prime-time stage; the 30 others are home watching. "When you get into the
    stadium, it's more of a playoff atmosphere," Martz said. "But you'd like to
    think that the players are going to respond the same every time they play."

    That's the goal, but ...

    "It's kind of hard," Tinoisamoa said. "One, you're a rookie, so you're already
    kind of (nervous). And with all that hype going on, it makes it that much more

    Running back Steven Jackson, also a devout viewer while growing up in
    Henderson, Nev., said his favorite Monday night memory occurred last year, when
    Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre passed for 399 yards and four touchdowns in a
    41-7 victory over Oakland a few days after his father died.

    "That was really special," Jackson said. "You just can't see how a guy could be
    out there playing so well, dealing with something that tough."

    Jackson acknowledged that he was harboring thoughts of making his own kind of
    impact in his Monday night debut. "The whole nation is watching," he said, "so
    whenever I get a chance to get out there, I just want to show them that there's
    a young gun in the backfield."

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  • RamWraith
    Monday night lights can illuminate Rams
    by RamWraith
    By Bryan Burwell

    The magic begins on a field far from the celebrated glare of Monday Night lights. It begins under the low-wattage glimmer of some craggy patch of grass and dirt, with little boys scooting across Pop Warner practice fields in shoulder pads far too big for their pint-sized bodies. The momentum builds as it moves across small towns and big cities, growing under the ethereal yellow mist of every teenage boy's Friday night high school football fantasies.

    The glowing lights of football at night have always held a special allure to anyone who held even a mild infatuation with the gridiron. The sight of a colossal multimillion-dollar stadium aglow in the distance or for that matter, even a tiny, nondescript boys club field is the surest signal that the game's about to be transformed into a larger-than-life event.

    "I still remember my first Monday night game," former New York Giants linebacker Carl Banks told me several years ago. "I remember driving up to Giants Stadium as a rookie and seeing the stadium lit up from two or three miles away. I got goosebumps and butterflies right then and there, and they didn't go away until after the game. Don't let any player ever tell you 'Monday Night Football' doesn't mean anything to him. If you hear a guy say that, tell him he's lying. Monday night is big. It's very big and don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise."

    So the Very Big Show comes to town Monday night under the big top of the Edward Jones Dome.

    So maybe it's not quite as big as it used to be, having moved from network television to the niche world of ESPN; so maybe the larger-than-life, love-him-or-hate-him character of Howard Cosell has been replaced by the entertaining trio of Mike Tirico, Joe Theismann and Tony Kornheiser; so maybe because the game is being played under a downtown roof, the only glow in the night will be the neon lights of commercialism that decorate the stadium's exterior.

    But the game still carries a wallop when you're the only game on the tube. Reputations can still be made or ruined on "Monday Night Football." "This will be a tremendous challenge for this football team on the biggest stage in football, other than the Super Bowl and playoffs," said Torry Holt, the brilliant Rams receiver. "We'll either get embarrassed or we'll do some embarrassing."

    Oh yes, the game still has some clout. The Rams are a struggling 5-7 team. An underdog in their own home against the 10-2 Bears. They have not been on national television all season. They are a team devoid of a national persona. They have been limited to brief highlights on the tail ends of sportscasts. They are a mystery. No, it's worse than that; they are a franchise lacking any national consequence.

    "I know they have Steven...
    -12-11-2006, 02:38 PM
  • RamWraith
    Rams hope to lift game into spotlight
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Sunday, Nov. 28 2004

    Gone are the days when the Rams were a prime-time draw, a television ratings
    magnet whether the foe was Denver, New Orleans or Tampa Bay.

    A lot of the sizzle and some of the success are gone from the team once known
    as the Greatest Show on Turf. Oh, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt are still catching
    tons of passes. But Kurt Warner is sitting on a bench in the Meadowlands.
    Although still very good, Marshall Faulk isn't the elite back he was a few
    years ago.

    Many of the support players have scattered to all corners of the NFL via free
    agency. As a result, the team that once averaged 30 points a game has topped 28
    points only once this season, and needed overtime to do so in a 33-27 victory
    at Seattle on Oct. 10.

    But if the Rams aren't quite the success - artistic or otherwise - they once
    were, it doesn't seem to matter during prime time. They continue to do some of
    their best work at night.

    Entering Monday's 8 p.m. contest in Green Bay, the Rams have won their last
    eight prime-time contests - a league high.

    "Oh really?" said defensive end Leonard Little. "We must be doing something
    right on Sunday night and Monday night. Hopefully, it'll carry over in Green

    The streak dates back to the 2002 season. The Rams have won both of their
    prime-time contests this season - an Oct. 3 Sunday nighter in San Francisco
    (24-14), and an Oct. 18 Monday nighter against Tampa Bay (28-21).

    Last season, they swept all three prime-time contests, defeating Cleveland and
    Atlanta on Monday night, and Baltimore on Sunday night. Even in 2002, when the
    Rams stumbled to a 7-9 record, they won their last three prime- time games of
    the season: against Chicago and San Francisco on Monday night, and against
    Arizona on Sunday night. One must go back to Game 3 of '02 for the Rams' last
    prime-time defeat - a 26-14 setback at Tampa Bay.

    Even New England, in the midst of its NFL dominance, can't quite match the Rams
    in terms of prime-time success. The Patriots have won six in a row on prime
    time, including a Monday nighter last week in Kansas City and a Sunday night
    triumph Nov. 14 against Buffalo.

    Rams coach Mike Martz isn't sure how to explain the team's prime-time success.
    And with all the problems swirling around his 5-5 team lately, it's not like
    he's giving it much thought.

    But he says the Rams have kept the same basic approach for night games in
    recent seasons, with some minor tweaks along the way. For example, sometimes
    the Rams won't practice until Thursday on a week when they have a Monday night
    -11-28-2004, 04:40 AM
  • BigGameMN
    What do you think of the Monday Night Football Crew?
    by BigGameMN
    I don't like them. Joe Theisman is a know-it-all and Kornheiser is out of his element. What were they thinking with this group? Another thing I hate is that they invite non-football people into the booth at various points in the game and they stay a LONG time. Last week it was Christian Slater and this week they had Jay-Z there. While I'm watching a football game I don't want to hear about somebody's new movie or music ventures. I want to hear the announcers focus on calling the game.
    Yep, I like 'em
    No, They need to start thinking about replacements
    I don't really care one way or the other
    -11-21-2006, 04:17 AM
  • psycho9985
    new primetime line ups
    by psycho9985
    Can Madden deal with Mike Patrick?And can Al Michaels deal with Joe Theisman. I dont think I could.Sparks may fly

    Michaels stays with Monday Night Football wire reports NEW YORK (July 26, 2005) -- Al Michaels is staying with Monday Night Football when it moves from ABC to ESPN for the 2006 NFL season, parting with John Madden after four seasons in the booth together.

    Michaels has been the play-by-play man on Monday Night Football since 1986, the last three with Madden as analyst. After this season, Madden is moving to NBC, which is taking over the Sunday night time slot in 2006 for what the NFL considers its main primetime package.

    "I feel like I'm a creature of Monday night. I'm home and I'm staying home," said Michaels, who had been heavily pursued by NBC, but said he wanted to stay where he has worked for 29 years -- ABC and ESPN are both owned by the Disney Co.

    "The three words 'Monday Night Football' resonate like no other," he said during a news conference to announce the lineup.

    Michaels will be joined in the booth by Joe Theismann, who had teamed with play-by-play man Mike Patrick and Paul Maguire on ABC's Sunday night games.

    Michelle Tafoya and Suzy Kolber will be the sideline reporters.

    ESPN vice president Mark Shapiro said Maguire and Patrick are both expected to stay with ESPN. He said Maguire will be part of a two-hour Monday night pregame show to be hosted by Chris Berman, who has hosted the network's Sunday night "NFL Primetime."

    NBC, which had been without NFL football since losing its contract to CBS in 1997, announced that Bob Costas will host its Sunday night pregame show....
    -07-26-2005, 08:48 PM
  • DJRamFan
    "Monday Night Football" Ratings Down
    by DJRamFan
    NEW YORK Green Bay's win over Carolina in the first game of the season on ABC's "Monday Night Football," was the second-most watched prime-time show of the week, trailing only NBC's debut episode of the "Friends" spinoff "Joey."

    The game had a rating of 12.5 with a 21 share, the lowest for a season opener on "Monday Night Football" since at least 1994, but still the highest-rated television show of the night. Last year's opener had a rating of 13.3.

    The 17 telecasts last season averaged an 11.5 rating with a 19 share, and it was the first time since 1994 that the average rating had not declined.

    A ratings point represents 1,096,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 109.6 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.
    -09-15-2004, 09:26 AM