BY ADAM KUFFNER
In arguably the most exciting Monday Night Football game of the year, the Kansas City Chiefs were given new life thanks to a Philip Rivers botched snap in the closing minutes of regulation. Ryan Succop kicked a game-winning field goal in overtime to give Kansas City the victory at home 23-20.
Although I always enjoy ESPN’s production of Monday Night Football, there is a slight change I would like to see. That change deals with the pre-game show. The Monday Night Football “Launch” starts at 8:30 p.m. and is a preview for the game. However, Monday Night Countdown is on before the Launch, so there is no need to delay the game for more pre-game discussion. ESPN broadcasts the game to start at 8:30 p.m, but kickoff does not actually happen until 8:40 p.m. My suggestion is to start the “Launch” at around 8:20 p.m.; therefore, kickoff would be scheduled for 8:30 p.m. CBS has this type of pre-game. “First on the Field” happens roughly 10-15 minutes before kickoff. The announcers talk briefly about the teams, and kickoff is set for 1 p.m. This is a great method to use because people who just want to watch the game can turn on the television right when the game is advertised to begin to see the kickoff at 1 p.m.
On another note, it is disappointing to see Hank Williams Jr. not open up the broadcast. His voice has always been a huge part of the telecast, but I understand ESPN’s reason to cut ties with him. Nonetheless, a piece of the Monday Night Football puzzle is missing.
Other than that, I really enjoyed this Monday Night Football telecast. Mike Tirico is fantastic doing the play-by-play. You can tell the excitement in his voice when a big play happens. Analysts Ron “Jaws” Jaworski and ex-NFL head coach Jon Gruden are excellent for the broadcast. “Jaws”, a former player, usually provides analysis from a player’s perspective. On the other side, Gruden uses his past coaching experience to analyze everything going on throughout the game. Also, watching and listening to Gruden, one can tell the passion he has for the game of football. Whether he is praising a player or criticizing a player, Gruden’s passion can be heard in every analysis he makes. Gruden is not afraid to speak his mind, and he always backs up what he says when making critical statements.
Monday Night Football is the NFL’s biggest stage week after week throughout the regular season. This week’s exciting game combined with the excellent production work by ESPN proved the telecast to be an overall success.