When television viewers across the country tuned to ABC TV on this September Monday night 45 years ago they were treated to the very first game of Monday Night Football. #MNF

Sceenshot, 1970 Monday Night Football Open

Here’s the CGI video open:


  • From 1970 to 1997, ABC’s Monday Night Football coverage began at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, with game kickoff typically occurring at seven minutes past the hour.
  • The highest-rated Monday Night Football telecast on ABC was the Miami Dolphins’ victory over the previously undefeated Chicago Bears on December 2, 1985, which drew a national Nielsen rating of 29.6 and a share of 46. ABC’s lowest-rated MNF game was the St. Louis Rams’ defeat of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on October 18, 2004, which drew a 7.7 rating.Sceenshot, 1970 Monday Night Football Open 2
  • During the 1995–1996 television season, Monday Night Football averaged a 17.1 household rating. Its main competitor, Murphy Brown on CBS, averaged a 12.3 rating.
  • On October 17th, 1983 the Packers and Redskins played the highest scoring game in Monday Night Football history with the Packers winning by a score of 48-47.
  • During the MNF game on December 8th, 1980, Howard Cosell took the microphone to announce: “This, we have to say it, remember this is just a football game, no matter who wins or loses. An unspeakable tragedy, confirmed to us by ABC News in New York City: John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the West Side of New York City, the most famous, perhaps, of all of The Beatles, shot twice in the back, rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, dead … on … arrival. Hard to go back to the game after that newsflash, which in duty bound, we had to take.”Sceenshot, 1970 Monday Night Football Open 3Yes, on September 21, 1970 football began to change television. And, television, little by little, began to change football.