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After a full slate of NFL games on Sunday, Monday nights are typically reserved for one final marquee matchup before teams and fans turn their attention to the next week on the schedule. But Week 2 of the 2022 season features an interesting quirk: Two games will air simultaneously for an overlapping “Monday Night Football” doubleheader.
Why are there two games on Monday? How will the simultaneous broadcasts work? Which teams will share the spotlight? We have answers to all your “MNF” questions as we take a look at changes that could become the norm in future seasons.
Why are there two ‘Monday Night Football’ games on Sept. 19?
In March 2021, the NFL finalized an 11-year media rights agreement with its previously existing broadcast partners, plus Amazon Prime Video, that granted more content to Disney by increasing the number of games on ESPN and ABC from 17 to 23. Beginning next year , there will be three multi-game “Monday Night Football” weeks each season, though the times for those games have not been set. The structuring of the 2022 schedule to air two overlapping Monday night games in Week 2 could be Disney’s way of testing the waters to decide how to approach the three multi-game “MNF” weeks in 2023.
ESPN wants ‘Monday Night Football’ to feel big. Broadcast and game delivered in Week 1
Another possible explanation for the concurrent broadcasts is that overlapping the games, rather than scheduling the second game to kick off at the conclusion of the first, will hypothetically result in the late game ending at a decent hour on the East Coast.
Which teams will share the spotlight?
The Tennessee Titans and the Buffalo Bills will play the first “MNF” game of Week 2, kicking off at 7:15 pm ET. The second game of the night between the Minnesota Vikings and the Philadelphia Eagles will then begin at 8:30 pm ET.
How will the simultaneous broadcasts work?
The Titans-Bills game will air on ESPN while the Vikings-Eagles matchup will be on ABC. When the Minnesota-Philadelphia game gets underway, both broadcasts will include a “noticeable, but smaller, less prominent, score box” of the other matchup on the screen, per ESPN. There will also be “a double-box view” at times throughout the games, giving fans the opportunity to watch both contests concurrently. ESPN predicts that the games will “overlap for roughly one half of football.”
The NFL did have overlapping Monday night games in Week 4 of the 2020 season, when a game between the Patriots and Chiefs was pushed back from Sunday because of COVID-19. That week, the Pats and Chiefs kicked off at 7:05 pm ET on CBS, while the Falcons and Packers began their game at 8:50 pm ET on ESPN.
There was also a “MNF” doubleheader exactly 17 years ago on Sept. 19, 2005, according to ESPN. The Saints were initially scheduled to host the Giants on the preceding Sunday, but the game was rescheduled to the next night and relocated to New York due to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The New Orleans-New York game kicked off at 7:30 pm ET and first aired on ABC but moved to ESPN when the Dallas-Washington matchup that had been slated for the ABC “MNF” slot began at 9 pm ET.
For more, follow The Athletic’s live updates from “MNF.”
(Picture: Kirby Lee/USA Today)