Monday, September 26, 2022

Why are there two ‘Monday Night Football’ games in Week 2? NFL adds a twist to the prime-time window

Cincinnati Bengals v Washington Football Team
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Two weeks of NFL action are nearly in the books, but we have a couple more games left on the Week 2 slate, which are set to kick off in a rather unique way on Monday night. 

In the past, the NFL had rolled out a doubleheader for “Monday Night Football” to wrap up Week 1 with the late game (typically a 10:15 p.m. ET kickoff) featuring West Coast clubs. However, they did away with that last season, opting for two games in Week 18 of the final Saturday of the regular season that flexed any teams still fighting for a playoff spot or division title. 

Under the new television contract between ESPN/ABC and the league, that Week 18 broadcast format will remain, but they’ll also bring back the annual “Monday Night Football” doubleheader in 2022, albeit with a twist. 

With ESPN upping its slate of games from 17 to 23, there will technically be three weeks where the “Monday Night Football” branding will appear multiple times in 2022, even if it is not specifically on Monday or a true back-to-back doubleheader. 

The first set of games will be played in Week 2 when the Tennessee Titans visit the Buffalo Bills and the Philadelphia Eagles head to Minnesota to play the Vikings on Sept. 19. 

Unlike in the past when we saw 10 p.m. ET kickoffs for the second game, these matchups will be staggered a bit, but there will be some crossover and be aired on different networks. Titans-Bills will begin at 7:15 p.m. ET on ESPN and Vikings-Eagles will kick off at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC. Both networks are under the Walt Disney Company umbrella. 

The next “doubleheader” will come in Week 8, but one of those “Monday Night Football” matchups will come on Sunday morning when the Broncos take on the Jaguars in London. That game will be aired exclusively on ESPN+. Then, Bengals-Browns will wrap up the Week 8 slate for an actual Monday night showdown. 

The final doubleheader comes in that Week 18 Saturday window featuring playoff hopefuls. 

To see the full “Monday Night Football” slate for the 2022 season, click here.

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