Kicking Off the Week

A History of Monday Night Football on ABC Television, 1970–2005


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About the Book

This is the complete history of Monday Night Football’s 35-year run on ABC, from its inaugural 1970 season through 2005, when the network announced that its longest-running series would move to cable. Chapters cover Monday Night Football’s inception, its many lineup changes in the announcers’ booth, how it influenced sports coverage on other networks, and the relationship between the NFL and ABC. Appendices provide a list of Monday Night Football cast and crew and seasonal ratings.

About the Author(s)

Wesley Hyatt, a senior writer with MMI Public Relations, has also served as a television historian and consultant for several media sources. He is the author of several McFarland titles and lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Wesley Hyatt
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 204
Bibliographic Info: appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014 [2007]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9573-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0525-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Introduction      1

1. The NFL Before Monday Night Football      5

2. ABC Pre–Monday Night Football      11

3. NFL and ABC Merge      18

4. The Kickoff (1970–71)      33

5. Gifford Arrives, and Monday Night Football Takes Off (1971–74)      51

6. Meredith to Williamson to Karras to Meredith (1974–77)      66

7. Changes Afoot (1977–82)      86

8. Capital Messes (1982–87)      96

9. Stability Leading to a Meltdown (1987–98)      116

10. Mouse Attack (1998–2002)      130

11. Leader of a Loser (2002–2005)      154

12. 2005: Prepping the Final Curtain      168

Appendix A: Monday Night Football Cast and Crew      179

Appendix B: Monday Night Football Seasonal Ratings      181

Sources      183

Index      187

Book Reviews & Awards

“the book adds a great deal to our understanding of the influence of Pete Rozelle, television, Howard Cosell, and even Richard Nixon on the rise and peak of interest in professional football”—Journal of Sport History; “thirty-five years of football and how the ABC program featured the game are the focus here”—Communication Booknotes Quarterly.