via ESPN press release:
40th Season of Monday Night Football
All 12 Playoff Teams from 2008; Patriots, Colts and Cowboys in September
The 40th season of Monday Night Football will kick off on ESPN with a doubleheader Monday, Sept. 14 - previously announced Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (7 p.m. ET) and San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders (10:15 p.m.) - and will continue with a total of 17 primetime games. Following a successful season that delivered the three biggest cable household audiences of the year, and 13 of the top 15, ESPN's schedule will feature all 12 playoff teams from 2008, including both the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers and NFC champion Arizona Cardinals.
Play-by-play commentator Mike Tirico and analysts Ron Jaworski and Tony Kornheiser will call the MNF games each week at 8:30 p.m. with additional MNF content available throughout the day -- "game around the game" -- across ESPN's multimedia platforms.
ESPN's MNF Schedule Highlights:
- Appearances by both Super Bowl teams - Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos (Nov. 9) and Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (Dec. 14);
- Two MNF appearances each by nine teams - Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, San Diego Chargers, and Washington Redskins;
- Games of note - Sept. 14: Bills vs. Patriots kick off "AFL 50" doubleheader with Tom Brady's anticipated return and regular season debut of Bills wide receiver Terrell Owens; Sept. 28: NFC South champion Panthers will play the Dallas Cowboys in the first MNF game at the Cowboys' new stadium; Oct. 12: AFC East champion Dolphins host the N.Y. Jets as part of the NFL's Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration. The game will be played at the site of the NFL Pro Bowl, which ESPN will televise on Jan. 31, 2010.
Following the season-opening MNF doubleheader, the ESPN schedule features:
- A matchup of top AFC teams when Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts face the defending AFC East champion Miami Dolphins on Sept. 21;
- The new state-of-the-art Dallas Cowboys Stadium will host its first MNF game when wide receiver Steve Smith and the NFC South champion Carolina Panthers face Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys, Sept. 28.
All Division Rivalries in October:
- 2008 NFL rushing champion Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings host quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in an NFC North duel (Oct. 5);
- The AFC East's New York Jets face their former quarterback Chad Pennington and the Dolphins on Oct. 12. The same teams played one of the most historic games in MNF history when the Jets overcame a 23-point fourth quarter deficit in October 2000 to defeat Miami 40-37 on a 40-yard field goal. The Jets-Dolphins game will also be part of the NFL's Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration and will also be televised like all MNF games on ESPN Deportes, the only domestic network that offers a weekly Spanish-language NFL game telecast;
- AFC West rivals collide when quarterback Phillip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers host the Denver Broncos (Oct. 19), the team the Bolts' overtook for the division in the final week of 2008;
- Donovan McNabb and the Philadelphia Eagles, who reached the NFC Championship game last season, travel to the nation's capital to face the NFC East division rival Washington Redskins and their revamped defense behind Albert Haynesworth (Oct. 26).
Super Bowl Champion Steelers in November:
- 2008 rookie quarterback sensation Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons clash with the NFL's leading passer Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome (Nov. 2)
- Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers at the Denver Broncos (Nov. 9);
- Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens - who reached the AFC Championship last season - at the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 16;
- Quarterback Kerry Collins and the defending AFC South champion Tennessee Titans face the NFL's leading wide receiver Andre Johnson and the upstart Houston Texans (Nov. 23);
- In a matchup of top NFL quarterbacks, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots battle Brees and the Saints (Nov. 30).
Giants, Bears in December, Pro Bowl in Miami in January:
- Quarterback Joe Flacco and the Ravens face Rodgers and the Packers at historic Lambeau Field (Dec. 7);
- Quarterback Kurt Warner, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and the defending NFC champion Arizona Cardinals at the San Francisco 49ers (Dec. 14);
- Eli Manning and the NFC East champion New York Giants meet running back Clinton Portis and the Redskins (Dec. 21);
- For the second year in a row, the MNF regular season will conclude in the Windy City with an NFC North slugfest as Peterson and the Vikings face new quarterback Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears (Dec. 28);
- ESPN's MNF crew will call the 2010 Pro Bowl from Dolphin Stadium (Sunday, Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m.) when the AFC and NFC's best players kick off Super Bowl XLIV week in South Florida.
ESPN Deportes, ESPN's 24-hour Spanish-language domestic sports network, will continue to offer a Spanish-language production of MNF games this year with the commentator team of Álvaro Martín (play-by-play), Raúl Allegre (analyst) and John Sutcliffe (sideline reporter).
ESPN'S MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
ESPN's Monday Night Football is the most-watched series in cable television history and the only NFL series nominated for a Sports Emmy in the Outstanding Live Sports Series category the past three years (2006-08). In three seasons on ESPN, Monday Night Football has registered seven of the top 10 all-time biggest household audiences in cable history, led by the Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys telecast (9/15/08), which attracted cable's largest household audience ever (an average of 12,953,000 million homes and 18,608,000 P2+). For the 2008 season, MNF averaged an 8.9 rating and 8,679,000 homes (11,962,000 P2+); the accompanying MNF "game around the game" content on ESPN.com sparked an increase of Monday traffic to the site of 51% over the previous season with an average 68.1 million page views per week.
Downloadable photos of ESPN's Monday Night Football commentators.
ESPN's Monday Night Football 2009 NFL Schedule
Date Time (ET) Teams
Aug. 13 8 p.m. Arizona Cardinals at Pittsburgh Steelers
Aug. 17 8 p.m. Carolina Panthers at New York Giants
Aug. 24 8 p.m. New York Jets at Baltimore Ravens
Aug. 31 8 p.m. Minnesota Vikings at Houston Texans
Date Time (ET) Teams
Sept. 14 7 p.m. Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots
10:15 p.m. San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders
Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Indianapolis Colts at Miami Dolphins
Sept. 28 8:30 p.m. Carolina Panthers at Dallas Cowboys
Oct. 5 8:30 p.m. Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Oct. 12 8:30 p.m. New York Jets at Miami Dolphins *
Oct. 19 8:30 p.m. Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers
Oct. 26 8:30 p.m. Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins
Nov. 2 8:30 p.m. Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
Nov. 9 8:30 p.m. Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos
Nov. 16 8:30 p.m. Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
Nov. 23 8:30 p.m. Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
Nov. 30 8:30 p.m. New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints
Dec. 7 8:30 p.m. Baltimore Ravens at Green Bay Packers
Dec. 14 8:30 p.m. Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
Dec. 21 8:30 p.m. New York Giants at Washington Redskins
Dec. 28 8:30 p.m. Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Jan. 31 7:30 p.m. NFL Pro Bowl: NFC vs. AFC
* Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration