ESPN Kicks Off Monday Night Football’s 46th Season with NFC Doubleheader

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ESPN Kicks Off Monday Night Football’s 46th Season with NFC Doubleheader

Photos via ESPN Images

The 46th season of Monday Night Football (10th on ESPN) kicks off with a NFC doubleheader on Monday, September 14:

Date Time (ET) Teams / Commentators
Mon, Sept. 14 6:55 p.m. Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons

Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Lisa Salters

  10:15 p.m. Minnesota Vikings vs. San Francisco 49ers

Chris Berman, Trent Dilfer and Lindsay Czarniak

In the opener, DeMarco Murray – the NFL’s leading rusher for the Dallas Cowboys in 2014 – will make his regular-season debut for the Philadelphia Eagles against Matt Ryan and the Falcons at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The Eagles new-look roster under head coach Chip Kelly also features quarterback Sam Bradford.

In the late game, Adrian Peterson returns to the Minnesota Vikings’ backfield against Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers in the first MNF game at Levi’s Stadium, host of Super Bowl 50 in February 2016.

MNF Production

ESPN’s MNF commentator team of Mike Tirico (10th season), Jon Gruden (seventh) and Lisa Salters (fourth) returns for the season-opener in Atlanta and the remainder of ESPN’s 16-week regular season schedule, plus Pro Bowl and a NFL Wild Card game. Producer Jay Rothman and director Chip Dean enter their 10th season on MNF and 25th overall as a producer-director duo, including their time together on ESPN’s Sunday Night Football (2001-05) and college football for ESPN/ABC. [Note: ESPN’s MNF team participated in a media conference call last week to preview the new season. Full replay and transcript.]

Sunday NFL Countdown’s veteran host Chris Berman will handle play-by-play for the Vikings-49ers game alongside analyst Trent Dilfer and reporter Lindsay Czarniak.

Production Notes:

  • MNF will introduce a new show open, plus new graphics, animations and a more modern shield logo.
  • MNF will add Pylon Cam to its regular season coverage after a successful test in the preseason. The system uses four custom-molded goal line pylons that house four cameras each to offer brand new perspectives around the goal line. ESPN was the first network to use Pylon Cam during the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship.
  • The MNF production will feature a new booth backdrop; weekly telecasts will utilize four Dreamcatchers, six Sony 4300 cameras in high frame rate 1080p, one Sony 4300 in high frame rate UHD 4k at the high end zone, and two iMovix Phantom cameras in high frame rate UHD 4k on the goal lines.
  • In celebration of Frank Gifford’s life and longtime contributions to MNF, the No. 16 he wore as a Giants player will be on all of the MNF production trucks this season. Tirico and Gruden will also wear No. 16 lapel pins during games. Gifford’s voice will also be part of ESPN’s new MNF show open.

Suzy Kolber Hosts Monday Night Countdown Live from Georgia Dome

Leading into Eagles-Falcons, Suzy Kolber will host a special two-hour Monday Night Countdown (5 p.m., ESPN) live from the Georgia Dome with analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson and Ray Lewis.

NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter will appear on the show from ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., studios, while analyst Steve Young will be with Czarniak at Levi’s Stadium. (Note: Young is being honored along with other 49ers Pro Football Hall of Famers that night in Santa Clara, Calif.)

Kolber will host halftime of game 1 from Atlanta with Carter and Lewis, while Trey Wingo will host halftime of the late game with Ron Jaworski and Schefter from Bristol, Conn. SportsCenter’s Steve Levy will anchor postgame coverage from Atlanta.

Special ESPN TV Schedule on Monday, Sept. 14:

Time (ET) Show
12:30 p.m. NFL Primetime
1:30 p.m. NFL Insiders
2:30 p.m. NFL Live
3:30 p.m. Highly Questionable
4 p.m. Around the Horn
4:30 p.m. PTI
5 p.m. Monday Night Countdown
6:55 p.m. MNF: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons
10:15 p.m. MNF: Minnesota Vikings vs. San Francisco 49ers
1:30 am. SportsCenter

MNF Ad Campaign
ESPN’s advertising campaign for the MNF season-opening doubleheader debuted with “Double the Football,” a 30-second spot highlighting ESPN’s two NFL kickoff games. Created by ESPN Consumer Marketing and Weiden+Kennedy New York with NFL Films, the spot showcases the top players in both games. The Falcons Drumline, which performs at Atlanta home games at the Georgia Dome – site of the MNF opener, also features prominently. ESPN’s “No Other Night is Monday Night” campaign will continue throughout the season with weekly topical spots previewing each MNF game.

ESPN’s Season-Opening MNF Doubleheaders (since 2006):

Year Opening Game Late Game
2006 Minnesota 19, WASHINGTON 16 San Diego 27, OAKLAND 0
2007 CINCINNATI 27, Baltimore 20 SAN FRANCISCO 20, Arizona 17
2008 GREEN BAY 24, Minnesota 19 Denver 41, OAKLAND 14
2009 NEW ENGLAND 25, Buffalo 24 San Diego 24, OAKLAND 20
2010 Baltimore 10, NEW YORK JETS 9 KANSAS CITY 21, San Diego 14
2011 New England 38, MIAMI 24 Oakland 23, DENVER 20
2012 BALTIMORE 44, Cincinnati 13 San Diego 22, OAKLAND 14
2013 Philadelphia 33, WASHINGTON 27 Houston 31, SAN DIEGO 28
2014 DETROIT 35, New York Giants 14 ARIZONA 18, San Diego 17

Home teams in CAPS

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Bill Hofheimer

I oversee ESPN’s College Sports PR, while also working on ESPN soccer, Around the Horn, PTI and more. Previously oversaw communications for ESPN's Monday Night Football and NFL studio shows.
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