It's Monday Night — Are You Tired Of Some Football?

Hank Williams Jr. and Gloria Estefan tape the opening for the 2009 edition of "Monday Night Football." (AP)
Hank Williams Jr. and Gloria Estefan tape the opening for the 2009 edition of "Monday Night Football." (AP)

It's Monday so "Monday Night Football" is on tonight. And, hey, there's a football game, too!

When the Patriots and Dolphins kickoff at 8:30 p.m., the NFL and ESPN would have us believe we’ll be watching the league’s weekly showpiece game. At this point, though, it's more like ESPN's showpiece.

There will be music and lights and plenty of fireworks, and the star-studded broadcast's main characters — Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden — will be good for a bowl-full of laughs.

Country star Hank Williams Jr. will sing the theme song again (he's had the job for 22 years) and ESPN will make sure it shows plenty of eye candy. Stop me if it sounds like the newest "CSI" or "NCIS": "Tonight on ESPN, MNF: Miami."

Most football fans are happy that they can watch either college or pro football every night from Thursday to Monday. I would be too, if Monday night was about just football and not about ESPN's brand.

As viewers, we're "treated" to a full 90-minute pregame show and a game that's supposed to last two-and-a-half hours, though it always seems to last longer. The broadcast itself is as bloated as the game time, with three men in the announcer's booth and two sideline reporters.

According to its theme song, the game is a “Monday Night party.” Monday nights don’t bring to mind parties, at least not fun ones. As in, “come on over, me and my tax returns made nachos!”

I'm excited for the game, especially when the Pats play, but it can be hard to see the game through the forest of "extras" that I rarely want. Each February, we're all treated to the spectacle that is the Super Bowl. I don't need a mini-Super Bowl every Monday, just a plain old football game.

Any fan will tell you, football is its own reward — we don't need a party. There's nothing better than hitting the couch with a few pizzas and some soda, settling in to watch a game. We might get together with some friends, but to watch the game, not the broadcast.

So ESPN, you can have your party, and your nachos too. I'd tell you to keep your theme song, but I wouldn't wish Hank Williams Jr. on anyone.

I'll keep the football.

This program aired on October 4, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Jeremy Bernfeld Producer
Jeremy Bernfeld was formerly a producer for WBUR.



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