Top NFL Rivalries Highlight Monday Night Football’s 50th Season

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Top NFL Rivalries Highlight Monday Night Football’s 50th Season

ESPN’s season-opening doubleheader on September 9: Houston Texans vs. New Orleans Saints followed by Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders

MNF Highlights:

  • Nine division rivalry games – High-profile matchups include Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants (Nov. 4), Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles (Dec. 9), New England Patriots vs. New York Jets (Oct. 21) and Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings (Dec. 23).
  • MNF’s 50th season – 2019 marks the 50th season of Monday Night Football, the longest-running series in sports television history. In week 2, the New York Jets host the Cleveland Browns (Sept. 16). The matchup features the teams that played in the very first MNF game on Sept. 21, 1970. This game will also be part of the season-long NFL 100 celebration.
  • Appearances by all 12 playoff teams from 2018 – Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks (10 MNF games feature at least one playoff team).
  • Appearances by both Super Bowl teams – Patriots (at Jets, Oct. 21); and Los Angeles Rams (vs. Ravens, Nov. 25).
  • MNF in Mexico City – ESPN will again televise the NFL International Series game in Mexico City when the Kansas City Chiefs play the Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 18. ESPN previously televised the Texans-Raiders game in Mexico in 2016.
  • Nine teams have multiple MNF appearances – Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks.

The 50th season of Monday Night Football will kick off on ESPN with a doubleheader Monday, September 9 – Houston Texans vs. New Orleans Saints (7 p.m. ET) and Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders (10:15 p.m. / 7:15 p.m. PT).  ESPN’s 17-game prime time schedule in 2019 will feature all 12 playoff teams from 2018, including both the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and NFC champion Los Angeles Rams.

In the MNF opener, Drew Brees and the Saints host Deshaun Watson and the AFC South champion Texans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in a battle of 2018 playoff teams. A year ago on MNF, Brees became the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards (Oct. 8 vs. Washington). The Saints previously played in the 2017 MNF opener (at Minnesota), while the Texans last opened the season on Monday night in 2013 (at San Diego, late game of the doubleheader).

Then, MNF’s most-popular rivalry will be renewed when Oakland’s new QB-WR duo of Derek Carr and Antonio Brown and the Raiders host the Broncos, now led by quarterback Joe Flacco. The AFC West opponents played in ESPN’s 2018 season-finale and this will be their 19th meeting all-time on Monday night, more than any other matchup in the history of the series. The Broncos also extend the NFL’s longest current streak, appearing on MNF for the 28th consecutive season (1992-present).

Beginning in week 2, MNF games will start at 8 p.m. ET (kick off at 8:15 p.m.). Suzy Kolber will host the Monday Night Countdown pregame show throughout the season (6 p.m.), as well as halftime and post-game SportsCenter coverage, from the MNF stadium. ESPN’s 2019 MNF broadcast team will be announced in the coming weeks.

All MNF games will be streamed live on all devices via the ESPN App. Note: fans must receive ESPN’s networks as part of their video subscription from an affiliated provider.

ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s 24-hour Spanish-language domestic sports network, will again offer a Spanish-language production of MNF games in 2019.

The week-by-week 2019 MNF schedule:

September: Openers in NOLA and Oakland; Browns-Jets revisits first-ever Monday Night game from 1970; MNF returns to Pittsburgh for first time since 2014

  • Sept. 9: Season-opening doubleheader – Texans at Saints, followed by Broncos at Raiders.
  • Sept. 16: Sam Darnold and the New York Jets host Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns as the teams that played the very first MNF game on Sept. 21, 1970 face off during MNF’s 50th season and as part of the NFL 100 celebration. In addition to featuring two of the league’s top young quarterbacks, Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will return to MetLife Stadium after being traded from the Giants, while running back Le’Veon Bell is now with the hometown Jets.
  • Sept. 23: Mitchell Trubisky and the NFC North champion Chicago Bears travel to the Nation’s Capital to face Landon Collins and the Washington Redskins.
  • Sept. 30: MNF returns to the Steel City for the first since 2014 when Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers host Andy Dalton and the AFC North rival Cincinnati Bengals.

October: Rodgers paces the Packers at Lambeau; Brady leads the Pats against the Jets

  • Oct. 7: In a battle of top young quarterbacks, Jimmy Garoppolo makes his MNF debut for the San Francisco 49ers, who host Mayfield and the Browns at Levi’s Stadium.
  • Oct. 14: Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers host Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions at historic Lambeau Field.
  • Oct. 21: Tom Brady and the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots travel to MetLife Stadium to face the AFC East rival Jets, led by Darnold.
  • Oct. 28: In their second MNF appearance of the season, Roethlisberger and the Steelers host Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field.

November: Cowboys vs. Giants; Bolts battle MVP Mahomes in Mexico City; MNF returns to LA

  • Nov. 4: In a battle of NFC East rivals and top, young running backs, Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys go head-to-head against Saquon Barkley and the New York Giants in MNF’s third visit of the season to MetLife Stadium.
  • Nov. 11: In a pivotal NFC West matchup, Garoppolo and the 49ers host Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks.
  • Nov. 18: ESPN will return to Mexico City for the second time for the NFL International Series game at Estadio Azteca as Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers host NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in a key matchup of AFC West rivals and 2018 playoff teams. ESPN had the 2016 Texans-Raiders game in Mexico and was scheduled to televise Chiefs-Rams in 2018 before the game was moved to Los Angeles.
  • Nov. 25: Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens travel West to face Jared Goff and the NFC champion Los Angeles Rams at the Coliseum. In 2018, MNF returned to LA for the first time in 33 years with the highest-scoring game in series history as the Chiefs and Rams combined for 98 points.

December: Division rivals down the stretch – Giants vs. Eagles and Pack vs. Vikes; Luck vs. Brees in the Dome

  • Dec. 2: In the first of two December MNF appearances, Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings face a hostile ‘12s’ crowd in Seattle against Wilson and the Seahawks.
  • Dec. 9: Eli Manning and the Giants in an NFC East grudge match against Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • Dec. 16: Brees and the Saints host Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts in a matchup of teams aiming to return to the NFL playoffs.
  • Dec. 23: Winter arrives as Rodgers and the Packers battle Cousins and the Vikings at US Bank Stadium in a game that could determine the kings of the NFC North.

ESPN’s 2019 Monday Night Football Schedule

Preseason    
Date Time (ET) Teams
Aug. 15 8 p.m. Oakland Raiders vs. Arizona Cardinals
Aug. 19 8 p.m. San Francisco 49ers vs. Denver Broncos
Regular Season    
Sept. 9 7 p.m. Houston Texans vs. New Orleans Saints
  10:15 p.m. Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders
Sept. 16 8 p.m. Cleveland Browns vs. New York Jets
Sept. 23 8 p.m. Chicago Bears vs. Washington Redskins
Sept. 30 8 p.m. Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Oct. 7 8 p.m. Cleveland Browns vs. San Francisco 49ers
Oct. 14 8 p.m. Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers
Oct. 21 8 p.m. New England Patriots vs. New York Jets
Oct. 28 8 p.m. Miami Dolphins vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Nov. 4 8 p.m. Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants
Nov. 11 8 p.m. Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers
Nov. 18 8 p.m. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Chargers (Mexico City)
Nov. 25 8 p.m. Baltimore Ravens vs. Los Angeles Rams
Dec. 2 8 p.m. Minnesota Vikings vs. Seattle Seahawks
Dec. 9 8 p.m. New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Dec. 16 8 p.m. Indianapolis Colts vs. New Orleans Saints
Dec. 23 8 p.m. Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings

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Bill Hofheimer

I oversee ESPN’s pro football PR, including Monday Night Football and NFL studio shows. Other programs I work on include ESPN soccer, Around the Horn and PTI.
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