Monday Night Football Notes: Bengals/Ravens
ESPN will not bring back a musical open for MNF tonight. Instead, ESPN tonight will open its telecast of Bengals-Ravens with video of the teams' players, interspersed with footage shot from a Baltimore bar to signify the excitement around Monday night football.
ESPN MNF Senior Coordinating Producer Jay Rothman said taking out the musical-themed intro will give game analysts Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden more time to set up the game from the booth before kickoff.
ESPN fired Willams last year after the musician compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler during a TV interview. Rothman said he had considered dropping the entertainer in the years before Williams made those comments, but the singer's "Are You Ready for Some Football" scored well in focus groups.
Meanwhile, the game provides a unique opportunity to look back on a historic ESPN game featuring these same two teams 14 years ago.
It was ESPN’s Sunday Night Football then, and on Sept. 27, 1998, something happened that would change the way fans viewed NFL games forever: the virtual “1st and Ten” line made its debut. The Ravens beat the Bengals, 31-24, but viewers were the true winners that night.
A technical advancement developed by Sportvision in conjunction with ESPN, “1st and Ten” displayed a yellow line that appeared to be painted across the football field at the first down marker. Suddenly, viewers watching at home or in bars could clearly see exactly how far an offensive team needed to go for a first down.