Season-Opener at Newly Renovated Arrowhead Stadium Part of MNF Doubleheader Sept. 13 at 10:15 p.m. ET
ESPN play-by-play voice Brad Nessler and NFL studio analyst Trent Dilfer will call the San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, the second game of ESPN’s season-opening Monday Night Football doubleheader September 13 at 10:15 p.m. ET (9:15 p.m. CT). The AFC West matchup will be the first regular season game at the newly renovated Arrowhead Stadium, one of the NFL’s iconic venues, and the first MNF game in Kansas City since Nov. 22, 2004.
MNF reporter Suzy Kolber will also be in Kansas City on game day to provide updates on the teams throughout the day. The Chargers-Chiefs will follow the Baltimore Ravens-New York Jets telecast (7 p.m.) when the MNF commentator team of Mike Tirico and analysts Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski makes its regular season debut.
“We have a deep roster of football experts and this will be a great pairing for the Monday Night Football doubleheader that will appeal to fans with Brad, one of the best live event commentators in the business, and Trent, who always offers fresh and informed perspectives and is just a few seasons removed from his own days as a Super Bowl-winning NFL quarterback,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, production.
Nessler is making his second appearance in the MNF booth. During the first year of ESPN’s season-opening doubleheader (2006), he worked alongside Jaworski and former NFL head coach Dick Vermeil – a pairing that earned much praise from viewers – to call the Chargers-Raiders. Nessler has served as a play-by-play commentator for college football and basketball since joining ESPN and ABC in 1992. This fall, Nessler will team with Todd Blackledge to form one of ESPN’s top college football teams. In addition to his Chargers-Chiefs assignment, Nessler will work with Blackledge two days earlier (Sept. 11) to call Miami-Ohio State in Columbus (3:40 p.m., ESPN and ESPN3.com), one of the biggest college football games of the opening month of the season. Before arriving at ESPN, Nessler handled radio play-by-play for the Atlanta Falcons (1982-88) and Minnesota Vikings (1988-89). He has also served as play-by-play announcer for Miami Dolphins preseason telecasts.
Dilfer, the 14-year NFL veteran and Super Bowl-winning quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens, is a studio analyst for a variety of ESPN programs: NFL Live, NFL PrimeTime, SportsCenter, and Monday Night Countdown. He has also regularly contributed analysis to ESPN Radio programs and to ESPN’s annual Super Bowl week and NFL Draft coverage since joining the company in July 2008 – on the same day he announced his retirement from the NFL. While the Chargers-Chiefs will be Dilfer’s debut in the MNF booth, he worked the Ball State-Central Michigan college football game for ESPN last fall and will work the Cincinnati-Fresno State game Sept. 4 (10 p.m., ESPN2 and ESPN3.com).
Senior coordinating producer Tim Corrigan, who has overseen ESPN’s season-opening MNF doubleheader game the past four seasons, and director Mike Schwab, will oversee production of the San Diego-Kansas City matchup, which will pit Phillip Rivers and the defending AFC West champions against newly acquired free agent running back Thomas Jones and the Chiefs. It marks the first time the nightcap of the ESPN MNF doubleheader will be played outside San Francisco/Oakland since the two-game format was adopted in 2006.
ESPN’S MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
ESPN’s Monday Night Football is the most-watched series in cable television history. In four seasons on ESPN, Monday Night Football has registered eight of the top 10 all-time biggest household audiences in cable history, led by the Green Bay Packers-Minnesota Vikings telecast (10/5/09), which attracted cable’s largest household audience ever (an average of 15,136,000 million homes and 21,839,000 viewers). For the 2009 season, ESPN’s MNF delivered the 15 biggest household audiences (and top 14 among viewers) for cable television in 2009, averaging a 10.4 rating and 10,315,000 homes (14,382,000 viewers). It was also the first time on ESPN that the series averaged higher than a 10 rating and 14 million viewers for the season. Accompanying NFL content on ESPN.com, including “Monday Night HQ,” sparked an increase of Monday traffic to the site of 24% over the previous season with an average 84.6 million page views per week.
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