What is MNF?
MNF refers to Monday Night Football, a live TV show by the National Football League shown every Monday night since 1970. To date, it is the longest-running primetime sports show on TV and has been a top rating show ever since it started.
Monday Night Football first aired in September 21, 1970 on the ABC Network. But the people behind NFL headed by Commissioner Pete Rozelle actual started to negotiate with CBS and NBC Networks for the Monday night primetime show a few years back. Both networks declined the offer made by NFL because of an existing lineup of primetime shows. CBS and NBC at the time were the dominant players in the TV industry and did not want to take a big risk on Monday night primetime slots. NFL eventually met with Roone Arledge, president of ABC then, who took the opportunity to air football games on Monday nights, even if TV viewers are already accustomed to the Sunday night games.
But Roone Arledge had many brilliant ideas to make Monday Night Football more than just a simple game. He wanted more cameras to feature the sidelines and other cameras to capture moments not usually part of normal sports coverage. He also added more entertainment value into the show by hiring a team of outspoken broadcasters which include Keith Jackson – who later became known as “the voice of college football”, Howard Cosell – a lawyer and friend of Muhammad Ali, and Don Meredith – a retired Dallas Cowboy quarterback. With lots of experience covering college football, Arledge went for giving the show extra edge to be more visually appealing to the TV viewers.
The first broadcast in 1970 took place in Cleveland with the Browns playing against Super Bowl champions – the New York Jets. The broadcast became a big hit in the ratings for ABC and some 4 decades later, Monday Night Football continues to become a top-rating primetime show.