It began with an idea in the mid-1960s and was finally put into place in 1970. Then-NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle envisioned a prime time weekly NFL game that would be viewed by a wide television audience. The Cleveland Browns beat the Joe Namath-led New York Jets in the very first NFL game played on Monday night. The game was broadcast by ABC, a sister network of ESPN which now broadcasts all Monday night football games.
ESPN will broadcast 17 games during the 2018 NFL season beginning with a pair of game over the NFL’s kickoff weekend. The New York Jets and Detroit Lions kick off the Monday night season at 7:10 p.m. ET on Sept. 10. The second game of the doubleheader features the Los Angeles Rams playing in Oakland against the Raiders. The game will kick off at 10:20 p.m. ET.
Monday Night Football Schedule
The Thursday Night Football schedule simulcasted on NFL Network as well as CBS:
Sept. 10th: Week 1 - Jets at Lions
Sept. 10th: Week 1 - Rams at Raiders
Sept. 17th: Week 2 - Seahawks at Bears
Sept. 24th: Week 3 - Steelers at Buccaneers
Oct. 1st: Week 4 - Chiefs at Broncos
Oct. 8th: Week 5 - Redskins at Saints
Oct. 15th: Week 6 - 49ers at Packers
Oct. 22nd: Week 7 - Patriots at Bills
Oct. 29th: Week 8 - Patriots at Bills
Nov. 5th: Week 9 - Titans at Cowboys
Nov. 12th: Week 10 - Giants at 49ers
Nov. 19th: Week 11 - Chiefs at Rams
Nov. 26th: Week 12 - Titans at Texans
Dec. 3rd: Week 13 - Redskins at Eagles
Dec. 10th: Week 14 - Vikings at Seahawks
Dec. 17th: Week 15 - Saints at Panthers
Dec. 25th: Week 16 - Broncos at Raiders
For the first time in nearly a decade, the Monday Night Football broadcast team will see major changes. After Jon Gruden left to return to coaching with the Oakland Raiders, it was announced that newly retired and former Dallas Cowboy TE Jason Witten would take Gruden’s place. Sean McDonough, the play-by-play announcer, also decided to leave after two years with MNF. He is going back to call college football games. McDonough will be replaced by Joe Tessitore. Booger McFarland, who has worked at ESPN as a college football analyst, will move into an on-field role with the Monday night team.
The 2018 Monday night schedule will include 11 of last year’s 12 playoff qualifiers. Defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia returns to Monday night on Dec. 3 when they take on NFC East rival Washington. The Eagles’ opponent in Super Bowl LII, New England, will also play on Monday, October 29, when they meet AFC East foe Buffalo.
Ten teams will have multiple appearances on Monday night including Gruden’s Raiders. In addition to their opening week game with the Rams, Oakland will face its AFC West rival Denver at home on Christmas Eve. The Broncos-Raiders matchup on Dec. 24 will close the 2018 Monday Night Football season. As is customary, no Monday night games are scheduled in Week 17, the league’s final week of regular season play.
The Broncos-Raiders rivalry is one of the most common Monday night matchups in league history. Over the 49-year course of Monday Night Football history, Denver and Oakland have met 17 times. The only other rivalry to have met as many times on Monday night is the NFC East Cowboys-Redskins. They have also played 17 times on Monday night.
The Miami Dolphins, who do not appear on the 2018 Monday Night Football schedule, continue to lead all NFL teams in Monday night appearances. The San Francisco 49ers claim the most Monday night wins while the Seattle Seahawks have the highest Monday Night Football winning percentage. The Seahawks have won over 74 percent of their Monday night games.
2018 NFL Football Season