Why are there two NFL games tonight? History of ESPN’s ‘Monday Night Football’ doubleheader and a new twist in 2022

ESPN will continue its two-week “Monday Night Football” experiment in 2022, which has generated spectacular results so far.

For the second time since the network obtained the rights to “MNF” in 2006, ESPN did not air a doubleheader in Week 1, instead waiting for it to premiere in Week 2 this year. It was a multifaceted decision, one that included the debut of a former Fox broadcast team and a big Week 1 game that didn’t need to share the stage with another broadcast.

And so ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” doubleheader will take place in Week 2 as Derrick Henry and the Titans take on Josh Allen and the Bills in Buffalo and Jalen Hurts tries to lead the Eagles to victory over Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson and the Vikings. in Philadelphia.

With that, The Sporting News News breaks down the reasoning for delaying the doubleheader to Week 2, as well as the story of ESPN’s “MNF” broadcast:

MORE: Breakdown of new teams announcing the NFL for 2022

Why are there two ‘MNF’ games tonight?

ESPN has created a tradition of Week 1 doubleheaders on Monday nights, dating back to the broadcast network’s acquisition of “Monday Night Football” in 2006. However, the network chose to delay its pick doubleheader to Week 2 in 2022. Why?

Part of the reason, as Sports Illustrated pointed out, is that ESPN wanted to highlight its new $165 million booth in Week 1, which included the first “MNF” broadcast from former Fox partners Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, generally considered among the top. teams in American football.

Additionally, the Week 1 “MNF” matchup featured the return of Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson to the Seahawks’ Lumen Field. That matchup was big enough on its own, airing on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN+ and ESPN Deportes. In fact, Sports Media Watch reported that the Week 1 debut of “MNF” was the highest rated since 2000, with a Nielsen rating of 11.1 and 19.84 million viewers.

Now ESPN can have a massive two weeks to start the season instead of just one. And it is only expected to get bigger from here.

ESPN and the NFL agreed in March 2021 on a new 10-year contract that will begin in 2023 and run through the 2033 season. It will feature an increase in “Monday Night Football” games in a given season, from 17 to 23. ESPN will accomplish that with even more doubleheaders in the future: three, instead of the traditional one.

The deal, reportedly worth $2.6 billion, will also put ESPN in the Super Bowl rotation in 2026 and 2030; give the network a week 18 doubleheader on Saturday night; and allowing the network to broadcast an exclusive ESPN+ game on Sundays (beginning in 2022).

‘MNF’ WEEK 2 SCHEDULE: Eagles-Vikings | Bills-Titans

What channels are tonight’s ‘MNF’ games?

The two “Monday Night Football” games will overlap in their coverage, with the first game, Bills-Titans, beginning at 7:15 pm ET on ESPN. Beginning at 8:30 pm ET on ABC, it will begin to overlap with the second start of the night, Eagles-Vikings.

Traditionally, ESPN would simply start one game after the other’s conclusion, with the first game starting around 7 pm ET and the last starting at 10 pm ET. However, that meant the last game often ended after midnight on the East Coast.

By staggering kick-offs on different networks, viewers can tune in to both without having to stay up late to watch the latest game. Additionally, ABC and ESPN will feature periodic double frame views to view both games on the same screen. Both broadcasts will also use double score boxes (depending on the game you are watching, the other game’s score box will be smaller and less visible than the current broadcast).

ESPN and ABC are likely banking on viewers switching to Eagles-Vikings following the conclusion of Bills-Titans, which should take place sometime during the third quarter of the previous game.

Below you can see which channel the respective games will be on; Regardless of which game you want to watch, both can be streamed on fuboTV, which includes the ABC family of networks and offers a free trial:

MORE: Why Joe Buck and Troy Aikman left Fox to join ESPN’s ‘Monday Night Football’ booth

titans in banknotes

  • Weather: 7:15 p.m. Eastern Time
  • TV: ESPN | ESPN2
  • Transmission: ESPN app, fuboTV

Vikings in Eagles

  • Weather: 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time
  • TV: ABC | ESPN+
  • Transmission: ESPN app, fuboTV

Who is calling games ‘MNF’?

ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” main broadcast team of Buck (play-by-play), Aikman (color commentator) and Lisa Salters (side reporter) will call the Eagles-Vikings game in Philadelphia.

A secondary broadcast team consisting of Steve Levy, Dan Orlovsky, Louis Riddick and Laura Rutledge will call the Bills-Titans game in Buffalo.

John Parry will work both games as an officiating expert, as needed.

MORE: Why are Dan Orlovsky, Steve Levy, Louis Riddick announcing ‘Monday Night Football’ in Week 2?

History of the ‘MNF’ doubleheaders

ESPN has had a scheduled doubleheader every season since 2006, except one.

That came in 2021; prior to the season, the ESPN-NFL contract introduced a Saturday doubleheader at the end of the season, featuring a selection of games that had playoff implications. For that reason, ESPN ditched its traditional Week 1 doubleheader in favor of Week 18, which included Chiefs-Broncos and Eagles-Cowboys.

The “MNF” doubleheader resumed in 2022, with Bills-Titans and Eagles-Vikings.

Date game results
September 11, 2006 Vikings 19, Redskins 16
Chargers 27, Raiders 0
September 10, 2007 Bengals 27, Ravens 20
49ers 20, Cardinals 17
September 8, 2008 Packers 24, Vikings 19
Broncos 41, Raiders 14
September 14, 2009 Patriots 25, Bills 24
Chargers 24, Raiders 20
September 13, 2010 Ravens 10, Jets 9
Chiefs 21, Chargers 14
September 12, 2011 Patriots 38, Dolphin 24
Raiders 23, Broncos 20
September 10, 2012 Ravens 44, Bengals 13
Chargers 22, Raiders 14
September 9, 2013 Eagles 33, Redskins 27
Texans 31, Chargers 28
September 8, 2014 Lions 35, Giants 14
Chargers 18, Cardinals 17
September 14, 2015 Falcons 26, Eagles 24
49ers 20, Vikings 3
September 12, 2016 Steelers 38, Redskins 16
49ers 28, Rams 0
September 11, 2017 Vikings 29, Saints 19
Broncos 24, Chargers 21
September 10, 2018 Jets 48, Lions 17
Rams 33, Raiders 13
September 9, 2019 Saints 30, Texans 28
Raiders 24, Broncos 16
September 14, 2020 Steelers 26, Giants 16
Titans 16, Broncos 14
September 19, 2022 titans in banknotes
Vikings in Eagles

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