MNF on ESPN Launches With Double-Header


NFL fans will have to leave work on time Sept. 11, and maybe come in late the next day to catch all of the debut of ESPN's carriage of Monday Night Football.

ESPN has been saying for months that its Monday Night Football games will be day-long events spread across a variety of platforms, TV, online, wireless and print.

Now, it says, it will kick off with the first-ever NFL prime time doubleheader, starting off with the Washington Redskins vs. the Minnesota Vikings at 7 p.m., followed by the San Diego Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders at 10:15.

The balance of the season's broadcasts will be one game, starting at 8:30.

ESPN explained the choice of the Redskins to kick off the debut this way:  "The Redskins are expected to be among the elite NFC teams after advancing to the divisional playoffs last year.Washington has also been one of the NFL’s most aggressive franchises this offseason, adding wide receivers Antwaan Randle El and Brandon Lloyd to a talented offense that already includes running back Clinton Portis and wideout Santana Moss."  

The choice also plays into ESPN's choice of announcing crew, with Joe Theismann having quarterbacked the Skins to their first Super Bowl win in 1983, and Washington sportswriter Tony Kornheiser boosting his profile in 1987 by predicting the Skins' Super Bowl trip early on.