Monday Night Football Is Good Americana!
Today marks the 41st anniversary of the first Monday Night Football game. There was no way to know on that night in Cleveland, that the entire landscape of the sporting world, and especially the popularity of the National Football League, was about to change forever.
Monday Night Football has become a true American tradition. It is important. As Americans, we will never NEED Monday Night; baseball, basketball, or hockey. But we will certainly have MNF for, at least, the rest of my lifetime.
In fact, as long as there is television – and as long as there is football, there will be Monday Night Football.
I know I’m not the only guy with quite a few Monday Night memories. Unfortunately for Vikings fans, our beloved ‘purple’ are on the wrong end of a couple of the more famous Monday Night happenings. I’ll keep it brief.
January 3, 1983 – Tony Dorsett of the Dallas Cowboys scores a 99 yard touchdown, against the Vikings, at the Metrodome. It seemed like it took him an hour to cross the goal line. Where was everyone? Bud Grant still wishes he knew.
November 6, 2000 – Antonio Freeman of the Green Bay Packers makes an incredible, one-handed, circus catch – then gets up and goes untouched into the Minnesota end zone. The TD wins the game for the Pack in overtime. I can still hear Al Michaels saying, “He did what?” – ahh, the things we try to forget, but can’t.
My personal favorite Monday Night moments are listed below, in chronological order. Did you see any of these games? Or like me, do you remember them all fairly well? Let’s see.
1) December 8, 1980 – Howard Cosell tells the nation that John Lennon, famous member of The Beatles, has been assassinated. One of the most jaw dropping moments in television history, no question.
2) November 18, 1985 – Redskins QB Joe Theismann breaks his leg in one of the most violent and disturbing moments in ‘live’ TV history. Everyone around at that time remembers this one, for sure.
3) December 2, 1985 – I did not like the Bears, and did not want them to go undefeated – so I was rooting hard for Dan Marino and the Dolphins when they faced the 12-0 Bears in Miami – and spanked the Bears 38-17. Of course, it was the Bears only loss of the season. They easily won the Super Bowl, and the ’85 Bears will forever be known as one of the greatest teams, ever.
4) October 14, 2002 – Terrell Owens was always known as a character. His antics peaked when he broke out a sharpie from his sock, signed a game football, and gave it to a fan in the crowd. All in the process of destroying the Seahawks. T.O. always did have his popcorn ready, if you feel me!
5) December 22, 2003 – One of the most unexplainable and inspiring sporting performances ever – Brett Favre throws for 399 yards and 4 TD’s in the Packers 41-7 win, at Oakland. The performance coming just days after the death of Favre’s father, and it was widely believed that he would not even play that night. He gained a lot of fans that were not just Cheeseheads, on that night.
Like Dandy Don used to say,”Turn out the lights – the party’s over.”