Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The double MNF dip is over-whew!

Who says Monday Night Football is dead?!

Game 2 of the historic Monday Night Football doubleheader just ended and all I can say is- "wow". Back-to-back football games on a Monday night is an unprecedented and daring move by ESPN, and let me just say kudos to the Worldwide Leader. It was almost like an entire Sunday afternoon/evening crammed into one night.

It started with special editions of Around the Horn and PTI from 3:00-4:00, followed by NFL Primetime from 4:00-5:00, and then the mack-daddy Monday Night Countdown extravaganza from 5:00-7:00.
That show led into the Vikings/'Skins tilt, and what an opening. First there was a moving 9/11 tribute, followed by a beautiful, gut-wrenching rendition of the National Anthem- if it didn't bring a tear to your eye then you're not American. Speaking of not American, the cameras tracked Redskin owner Daniel Snyder's new business partner and his slave, err fiancee, quite a bit, TomKat. Before I could dry my eyes the familiar MNF intro music kicked up, and the hairs on the neck stood up again.

But this wasn't your ordinary MNF intro piece- no T.O. and a Desperate actress. This thing was like a piece of cinema, with Ladanian Tomlinson heading to the game in a limo, and Raider defenders like Michael Huff preparing to stop him. It also included players Dwight Smith (probably brought his own gun), Antwan Randle-El, aand Darren Sharper. The whole thing was filmed like a cross between "24" and Any Given Sunday, and by the end of the clip I was waiting for the sequel! I mean this thing had to have a bigger budget than Clerks II. Can we get the rest on iTunes yet?

But that wasn't all. Next it segued into a shot of The Governator himself walking down a Hollywood set; he picks up a football helmet and declares "I'm ready for some football (cheesy, I know, but at least he didn't say "I'll be back"). The people on the street morphed into football players and the entire city transformed into a futuristic arena in a style that reminded me of Blade Runner meets Terminator. Now I'm not saying that high-tech special effects and big-time celebrities make for an awesome start to a new era for the MNF franchise, but it worked with me. I'm easily impressed.

Finally it was time for Hank Williams Jr and "Are you Ready for Some Football" - and wouldn't you know they pulled out all the stops there as well. Joing Hank were top musicians from all fields including Little Richard (oh well), Joe Perry, Charlie Daniels, Bootsy Collins, and Stevie van Zandt, otherwise known as Silvio from Sopranos. I didn't even care that there was flagrant GMC truck product placement sprinkled throughout- it's 2006. Simply put- IT KICKED ASS.

By this time I was pretty worn out, and hungry. By the time haltime of the first game rolled around I had already scarfed down 2 pork chops w/ rice & broccoli, 4-5 cold beverages and a gi-nourmous piece of my wife's delicious chocolate/chocolate chip cake. The combination of it all made me think I was a buzzed Oompa Loompa floating down a river of chocolate lager. Heavenly.

Oh yeah-the games. The Redskins gagged and Brad Johnson won the Battle of Ancient QBs vs. MarkBrunell, 19-16. And in the nightcap San Diego and L.T. bushwhacked the hapless Raiders 27-0 (hmm, same score as the Bucs; and those 2 teams met in the Bowl a mere 3 years ago?!). It's the first time Oakland has been shut out at home in 25 years; Just score, baby!

But by that time I didn't care. Didn't care that I had lost my football pool, didn't care that the second game was absolutely unwatchable, especially for Raider Nation. Nope all I cared about was the cold one in my hand, the Munchies snack mix bag on my lap, and the ear-to-ear smile on my face. NBC tried to kill of an American institution. But ESPN used all the clout in their Disney-sized coffers to pull the franchise back from the abyss. I loved the MNF Doubleheader. And the best part about it all? No Pink!

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