Monday, October 09, 2006

Are you ready for some MNF, Ravens-style?

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 9, 2006 5:00 AM (1 hr 29 mins ago)
Current rank: # 1 of 5,140 articles

BALTIMORE - Tonight, the Ravens are in Denver for Monday Night Football. You can see the game in HD on WJZ-13 or ESPN. Also, at 8 p.m., WJZ-13 sports director Mark Viviano and “The Bulldog” Damon Yaffe will do a half-hour Ravens pre-game show, taking you up to kickoff at 8:30.

But this really is not just Monday Night Football. Yes, the Ravens will play the Broncos tonight, but ESPN has elevated this to an all-day affair. ESPN 1300 AM will kick things off at 6 a.m. with “Mike and Mike” live from Denver, and there will be plenty more on the game on ESPN2 Cold Pizza. At 5 p.m., ESPN is live from Denver for the rest of the day until the game signs off around midnight.

PTI, NFL Primetime and Monday Night Countdown will give you three solid hours of analysis of the Ravens-Broncos game before the MNF crew of Mike Tirico, Joe Theismann, Tony Kornheiser, Suzy Kolber and Michele Tafoya take over.

So far this season, ESPN’s day-long programming leading up to each week’s game has been a total success. Four weeks have produced four ratings records. All of the shows from 5 p.m. until kickoff are enjoying monster numbers, and viewership is up more than 100 percent over normal daytime ratings. All four MNF games have pushed the 10 million viewer mark, which is very, very high for cable.

Fans are embracing the idea of a whole day of football talk leading up to the game.

Meanwhile, the new Ravens broadcast crew of Gerry Sandusky, Stan White and Rob Burnett has earned a solid C-plus, which is not bad just four games into their first season together. Sandusky has done a solid play-by-play, keeping fans aware of every aspect of the game. White and Burnett both have plenty of quality things to say, but they often talk over each other. Like the Ravens’ offense, you can see the potential, but the timing is just not there yet.

The pre-game edge goes to ESPN 1300/WHFS. With a deep bench of talent, they have the edge over WBAL/98 ROCK.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. You can reach him at

No comments: