Tell You What I'd Do, Man: More Monday Night Football Games at the Same Time


There you were, sitting on your couch, decompressing after a long day with the help of some NFL football as the clock sped toward 11 p.m. ET when you felt it. That unmistakable feeling of a Sunday afternoon environment in a primetime window as the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants battled it out on one channel and the Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins went back and forth on the other. Which was precisely ESPN/ABC's dastardly plan! In fact, they put it in a press release touting that there were two MNF games played simultaneously last night.

We are cynics and also a bit mean so we poked fun at the messaging in our internal Slack in the hours leading up to the dueling matchups. But once again, the joke ended up being on us and anyone else who had the temerity to question why the NFL would schedule the same kickoff time on a school night. Because it ended up being awesome.

Sure, some people bitched and moaned about having their precious broadcast interrupted by some brief split-screen producing because people are always going to find the slightest thing to bitch and moan about. And sure, it might have been nice to devote full attention to either game so we could identify every member of Tommy DeVito's support staff or the exact topography of Will Levis' biceps but hey, that's exactly what happens on a Sunday afternoon. You can't catch everything, even if you're locked into RedZone.

Which is what the ManningCast endeavored to be, bopping between the two broadcasts. It was a scaled-down version of what Scott Hanson does and they had more opportunity to go visit the bathroom yet it still accomplished what it was trying to do. The Mannings are adroit and capable of processing whatever is thrown at them, plus the genius is that their show can be a little rough around the edges because the folksy charm and casualness can carry them through. Last night was a major showcase for the steps they've taken since first walking on camera to watch a MNF game.

But last night worked — and this is the uncontrollable part — because the two contests came down to the final minute and the timing worked out. There was great conscernation that everything would be happening at the same time in New Jersey and Miami yet every game moves at its own pace. The Giants' game-winning field goal drive was completed before Levis really got fired up so the Switching Hour delivered and then some. It went exactly as a producer would draw it up.

And it was simply awesome to have a second competitive game to flip over to after the first one got all the juices flowing. Honestly, I think I'd prefer this structure to another MNF doubleheader. Sure it's shorter window but it feels more fun. More and more I've been finding myself locking in to the second halves of sporting events instead of the entire thing. Your mileage may vary but I am wagering — and ESPN/ABC should be wagering that people like the endings of sports more than the preamble.

So in short, more of this. It was great. It won't always be great if one or both the games stink. On the rare occassion they both deliver, this is a recipe for success. Because it sure felt like Sunday again.