ESPN kicks off the 44th season of Monday Night Football on September 9 with a doubleheader. Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins host Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles in an NFC East clash at 6:55 p.m. ET followed by Matt Schaub and the defending AFC South champion Houston Texans against Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers at 10:15 p.m. Both games will be televised on ESPN and available via WatchESPN for fans who have video subscriptions from affiliated providers.
The MNF team of play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico, analyst Jon Gruden and sideline reporter Lisa Salters will call the first game and serve as commentators throughout the season (2013 MNF schedule). Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman and analyst Trent Dilfer will call the Texans-Chargers game along with sideline reporter Sal Paolantonio.
Leading into the doubleheader, Suzy Kolber will host Monday Night Countdown (5 p.m., ESPN) with NFL analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson. Stuart Scott, new ESPN analyst Ray Lewis, contributor Rick Reilly and NFL analyst Steve Young will join the show from FedEx Field.
What’s New on Monday Night Football
§ MNF Open: ESPN and acclaimed filmmaker/director Peter Berg collaborated on a new MNF open, which highlights the television series’ storied history and pop culture moments of the past four-and-a-half decades. It will debut September 9 at 6:58 p.m.
§ MNF Music: A variety of musicians — Amadeus (Hip Hop Producer/Music Director Trey Songz), Tobin Esperance (Papa Roach), Los Lonely Boys, Brad Paisley, Patrick Stump (Fall Out Boy), Gretchen Wilson and Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society and Ozzy Osbourne) — have written music specifically for MNF, which will be used throughout the games in highlights, graphics, bumps and more this season.
§ State-of-the-art mobile units: The largest mobile units in the nation, these trailer bodies were designed using computerized stress analysis tools from the aviation industry. They are more fuel efficient, stronger and made of lighter materials than the MNF trucks used in previous years. With 3,392 square feet of usable workspace and 86 operating workstations, the mobile units also house one of the largest routers – if not the largest – on a mobile production unit. This enables the game, studio and ESPN Deportes crews to share all content.
ESPN NFL Sundays
In addition to MNF, ESPN devotes more than 27 hours of television programming per week to NFL studio coverage during the regular season. Sunday mornings begin with Sal Paolantonio, Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge dissecting the X’s and O’s of the game in Snickers NFL Matchup, followed by:
§ Colin’s New Football Show (9-10 a.m., ESPN2): ESPN Radio host Colin Cowherd will discuss pro and college football in his new pre-game show. Regular guests include senior fantasy sports analyst Matthew Berry, ESPN The Magazine’s editor-in-chief Chad Millman and former Chicago Bears wide receiver Tom Waddle, who also appears on Football Sunday on ESPN Radio and as co-host of the Waddle & Silvy Show on ESPN Radio Chicago.
§ Sunday NFL Countdown Presented by IBM (10 a.m.-1 p.m., ESPN): In his 29th year as host, Chris Berman anchors the three-hour pre-game show with new ESPN NFL analyst Ray Lewis, Pro Football Hall of Famers Cris Carter and Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson and NFL insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter. New in 2013, Suzy Kolber will join the show from the marquee 1 p.m. NFL game with Jaworski or Hoge. Reporters Josina Anderson, Bob Holtzman, Paolantonio and Ed Werder will also provide updates from other NFL game sites throughout the show.
§ Fantasy Football Now (11 a.m.-1 p.m., ESPN2) The Fantasy Football Now cast includes host Robert Flores, analysts Berry and Tim Hasselbeck and injury expert Stephania Bell. Sara Walsh, Mortensen and a collection of NFL reporters (who will be live from game sites) will also contribute to the weekly show. A special season preview edition airs on Thursday, September 5, at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.
§ SportsCenter’s “NFL Blitz” (11 p.m.-12 a.m., ESPN): Berman and Jackson co-host the “NFL Blitz” highlight segments on the Sunday night SportsCenter, reminiscent of the years they spent as co-hosts of ESPN’s popular NFL Primetime from 1987-2005.
Studio Shows in the Spotlight
§ NFL Insiders (weekdays, 3-4 p.m., ESPN): ESPN’s newest NFL show calls upon industry insiders, NFL reporters and former league executives to deliver news and information and to delve into how and why decisions are made. Hosted by Suzy Kolber, the show features senior NFL insider Chris Mortensen, NFL analyst and six-time NFL Executive of the Year Bill Polian, insider Adam Schefter and a cast of NFL expert contributors.
§ NFL Saturdays: New in 2013, NFL Live (6:30-7:30 a.m.), NFL Kickoff (7:30-8:30 a.m.) and Snickers NFL Matchup (8:30-9 a.m.) will have a home on ESPN2 most Saturdays throughout the NFL season.
§ Audibles: Special editions of Audibles, the pro football discussion show without a formal host, will air in select prime time windows beginning Oct.16 from 7-8 p.m. on ESPN. NFL analysts Trent Dilfer, Herm Edwards, Keyshawn Johnson and Steve Young are frequent contributors.
New NFL Studio Commentators
§ Ray Lewis: The two-time Super Bowl champion and NFL Defensive Player of the Year joins ESPN this season, debuting Sept. 8. Lewis will appear on Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown and SportsCenter. He will also have a weekly appearance on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike.
§ Jerome Bettis and Mark Brunell: The future Hall of Fame running back and three-time Pro Bowl quarterback, respectively, join ESPN this fall. Both will appear on multiple ESPN platforms, including NFL Live and SportsCenter.
§ Ryan Clark: The current Pittsburgh Steelers safety will bring an active player’s perspective to NFL Live in special guest appearances throughout the season. As his schedule allows during the Steelers’ bye week and in the postseason, Clark will join the show in studio.
ESPN’s Weekly NFL Programming:
|Sundays||3:30-4 a.m. or 4-4:30 a.m.||Snickers NFL Matchup||ESPN|
|9-10 a.m.||Colin’s New Football Show||ESPN2|
|10 a.m.-1 p.m.||Sunday NFL Countdown Presented by IBM||ESPN|
|11 a.m.-1 p.m.||Fantasy Football Now||ESPN2|
|Mondays||2-3 p.m.||NFL Primetime Presented by Bud Light||ESPN|
|3-4 p.m.||NFL Insiders||ESPN|
|4-5 p.m.||NFL Live||ESPN|
|6:30-8:25 p.m.||Monday Night Countdown Served by Applebee’s||ESPN|
|8:25 p.m.||Monday Night Football||ESPN|
|Tuesdays||3-3:30 p.m.||NFL Insiders||ESPN|
|3:30-4 p.m.||Mike and Mike’s Best of the NFL||ESPN|
|4-5 p.m.||NFL Live||ESPN|
|Wednesdays||3-4 p.m.||NFL Insiders||ESPN|
|4-5 p.m.||NFL Live||ESPN|
|Thursdays||3-4 p.m.||NFL Insiders||ESPN|
|4-5 p.m.||NFL Live||ESPN|
|Fridays||3-4 p.m.||NFL Insiders||ESPN|
|4-5 p.m.||NFL Live||ESPN|
|7-8 p.m.||NFL Kickoff||ESPN2|
|Saturdays||6:30-7:30 a.m.||NFL Live (re-air)||ESPN2|
|7:30-8:30 a.m.||NFL Kickoff (re-air)||ESPN2|
|8:30-9 a.m.||Snickers NFL Matchup||ESPN2|
Throughout the season ESPN’s @ESPNNFL and @ESPNMondayNight Twitter pages will follow along with Thursday, Sunday and Monday NFL games, highlight major storylines, note key matchups, provide injury updates and more. Additionally, many NFL studio shows include a social media component, inviting fans to offer their perspective and join the conversation. MNF’s popular #GrudenGrinder initiative also returns in 2013. ESPN social media destinations for the NFL season are as follows:
ESPN Deportes, the U.S. Spanish-language network, will present live coverage of 17 regular season Monday Night Football games. Super Bowl champion (SB XXI and XXV) Raul Allegre returns to serve as analyst during the games, along with play-by-play voice Alvaro Martin. ESPN Deportes’ coverage will feature a Monday night pre-game show, NFL Esta Noche, with hosts Eduardo Varela, Pablo Viruega, Georgina Ruiz Sandoval and John Sutcliffe as onsite commentator and reporter. In addition, ESPN Deportes’ weekly show NFL Semanal returns every Sunday morning with commentators Ciro Procuna, Allegre, Sutcliffe, Mauricio Pedroza, Eitan Benezra and Javier Trejo Garay providing analysis and highlights. ESPN and the NFL will also present a special Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration surrounding the Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos MNF game on Sept. 23.
This season ESPN will bring the NFL into more than 62 million homes in 61 countries/territories in Latin America, Brazil, the Caribbean, Canada and Australia/New Zealand/Pacific Islands. ESPN will showcase more NFL programming than ever before, highlighted by:
§ ESPN’s Monday Night Football in all territories;
§ Digital highlight rights and live MNF streaming in most markets;
§ Live coverage of the other regular season games including Sunday and Thursday night games, NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl throughout Latin America, Brazil, the Caribbean, Canada and Australia/New Zealand/Pacific Islands;
§ The entire AFC/NFC Playoffs, Pro Bowl and Super Bowl in Brazil and Australia/New Zealand/Pacific Islands;
§ Brazil will have a regular season game in every broadcast window (Sunday 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. games, Sunday Night Football, MNF, Thursday night games and all Thanksgiving Day games);
§ Spanish language programming including NFL Semanal, NFL Esta Noche, and NFL Primetime;
§ Portuguese language programming including Semana NFL and The Book Is On The Table in Brazil;
§ ESPN NFL programming such as Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown, NFL Primetime and NFL Live and NFL Films original programming, including Super Bowl Highlights, Yearbooks, Greatest Games, NFL Films Presents and more;
§ ESPN.com will provide extensive coverage of the NFL season to fans around the world. During the 2012-13 season the site logged 130 million page views from outside of the U.S. for the NFL section – an average of more than 360,000 page views per day throughout the entire year;
§ In Australia/NZ and the Pacific Islands, ESPN’s original series Aussies Abroad will continue to capture the stories of Australian athletes competing in the NFL; and
§ ESPN remains the exclusive syndication agent to cruise ships worldwide for all pre-season, regular season, playoffs, Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, NFL Network, NFL Films, NFL Sunday Ticket, NFL Red Zone Channel and NFL GameDay.
New in 2013, ESPN Radio will broadcast out-of-market games on NFL Sunday afternoons. Play-by-play commentators Sean McDonough, Bill Rosinski, Marc Kestecher and Ryan Ruocco will call games throughout the season with one of the following NFL analysts: Herm Edwards, Bill Polian, Damien Woody and Shaun O’Hara (schedule). In addition to game broadcasts, ESPN Radio offers weekly programming throughout the NFL season. Details:
§ Countdown to Kickoff: On Sundays at 11 a.m., this two-hour show – which includes on-site reports previewing the day’s games, an update from Monday Night Football’s Mike Tirico, contributions from ESPN NFL analysts and fantasy information – leads into Football Sunday on ESPN Radio.
§ Football Sunday on ESPN Radio: Starting Sunday, Sept. 8, the studio show Football Sunday on ESPN Radio hosted by Jonathan Coachman will be broadcast from 1-7:30 p.m. on ESPN Radio. Eric Allen, Tim Hasselbeck and Tom Waddle will provide analysis during the program.
§ Mike Tirico’s Weekend Blitz: senior NFL insider Chris Mortensen will join Tirico every Friday at 8 p.m. as they look ahead to the weekend and discuss the week’s news. The one-hour show begins September 6.
§ NFL podcasts include Football Today, Fantasy Focus Football, Fantasy Underground, Inside Slant, Inside the Huddle with John Clayton. The MNF Preview podcast will also return this fall with Tirico and MNF analyst Jon Gruden looking ahead to each week’s game.
In addition, the following programs include regular guest appearances by NFL analysts and insiders:
§ Mike & Mike (weekdays, 6-10 a.m., ESPN Radio and ESPN2):
o Mondays: Cris Carter (7:30 a.m.), Mike Ditka (8:15 a.m.), Tim Hasselbeck (9:15 a.m.) and Ron Jaworski (TBD);
o Tuesdays: Carter (7:30 a.m.) and John Clayton (9:15 a.m.);
o Wednesdays: Jon Gruden (7:15 a.m.), Adam Schefter (8:30 a.m.) and Ray Lewis (TBD);
o Thursdays: Brian Billick (7:30 a.m.), Chris Mortensen (9:15 a.m.) and Mark Schlereth (TBD); and
o Fridays: Jaworski (8:15 a.m.) and Mel Kiper Jr. (TBD).
§ The Herd with Colin Cowherd (weekdays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., ESPN Radio and ESPNU): Host Colin Cowherd will visit with ESPN’s Trent Dilfer, Hasselbeck, Mortensen, Sal Paolantonio, Schefter, Schlereth, Trey Wingo and Damien Woody throughout the season. Fox/NFL Network’s Billick, SI.com’s Peter King, NFL Films’ Greg Cosell and RJ Bell of Pregame.com are scheduled to join the show on a weekly basis.
§ SVP & Russillo (weekdays, 1-4 p.m., ESPN Radio): Tirico, Dilfer, Mortensen and other ESPN NFL analysts will join hosts Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo during the NFL season.
ESPN.com’s 2013 pro football coverage will be highlighted by the debut of its expanded NFL Nation network, which includes 32 team sites on ESPN.com – one-stop shops for everything relevant to each team – maintained by reporters based in NFL markets. The network of reporters will provide specialized news, access, insight and analysis on ESPN.com as well as across ESPN’s many platforms, including television, radio and ESPN The Magazine.
In addition to NFL Nation, ESPN.com’s NFL coverage will include:
§ Unparalleled game coverage from senior NFL writer John Clayton, national writers Kevin Seifert, Jeffri Chadiha, Ashley Fox and many others;
§ Clayton’s First and 10 column: A weekly column previewing the week’s biggest games;
§ Adam Schefter’s Friday Blitz: Notes and more from around the league;
§ Hot Read: Written by Elizabeth Merrill, Chadiha or Greg Garber, the Hot Read is a weekly enterprise or profile story on the hottest issues and personalities in the league;
§ Columns on the big issues and trends from national writers Fox, Chadiha and Seifert;
§ Expanded coverage of the NFL Draft with regular contributions from Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay;
§ Insider coverage, including contributions from NFL experts Bill Polian, Herm Edwards and Ron Jaworski. Insider coverage will also include former NFC West blogger Mike Sando, who will provide weekly insight; and
§ In addition to prominently featuring Monday Night Football coverage on Page 1 and the NFL page, ESPN.com features “Monday Night HQ,” a page dedicated to the game.
ESPN Fantasy Football
ESPN Fantasy Football presented by Windows Phone is available to fans now at no cost on ESPN.com. For beginners and experts alike, ESPN’s cast of insiders and analysts including Stephania Bell, Matthew Berry, John Clayton, Tristan Cockcroft, Christopher Harris, KC Joyner and Eric Karabell, will contribute rankings, columns, video segments, blogs and fantasy updates throughout the NFL season.
Live access to ESPN NFL events and programming such as Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown, Monday Night Football, NFL Live, NFL Insiders and more will be accessible via WatchESPN. Fans who receive their video subscriptions from affiliated providers can tune in on computers, tablets, Xbox, Apple TV and – with the exception of MNF – on smartphones.
ESPN The Magazine
ESPN The Magazine’s NFL Preview is currently on newsstands and features Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson on the cover (Wilson video and photos). This annual NFL issue examines the focus on mental health in Seattle, analytics in Jacksonville, Robert Griffin III and the read-option, Joe Flacco and the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens (Flacco video) and final score predictions for all 267 NFL games that will be played this year.
§ Sarah Spain will visit NFL cities and highlight each location’s unique fan experience, from tailgating to chants to local eateries;
§ Mentors and Heroes: espnW will feature NFL players around the league and who inspired them to get to the pros, whether it be a former coach, parent, sibling or teacher; and
§ What is the best football city for women? Female sportswriters and famous fans from across the country will make their case for their cities, and espnW gives fans a chance to vote on their favorites.