Monday Night Football carries more weight for those of my age demographic. Growing up, there were only two games that we got to see each weekend for the most part - the Packers or Oilers game (the green and gold early in my childhood and the Oilers from middle school and beyond) and the one on Monday night.
There was no such thing as DirecTV Sunday Ticket or NFL game rewind or Thursday Night Football or Cris Collinsworth on a Sunday Night. Heck, Collinsworth was a wee lad at Astronaut High School in Florida when Monday Night Football hit its nadir. I'm truly disappointed that the state of Florida robbed our city of Houston of the title Astronaut High School, but I digress.
We just didn't have the access to the NFL that we do now. But, Monday Night Football made it possible to see another pair of teams that we maybe wouldn't see again that season. In 1978, I was only six but I followed the game as ardently as I do now. I'd heard of some Heisman winner from Texas but didn't really know a ton about Earl Campbell. Before I moved to Texas in 1983, I was born and raised in Wisconsin and since Campbell wasn't a Packer, a Badger, a Brewer or a Buck, we really didn't know a ton about him.
Luckily, he wasn't a Bear, a Lion or a Viking, then we would've hated him. But, he was an Oiler and I learned all about him on a Monday night in 1978 when he took the nation by storm with The Game v. the Dolphins. I just remember him daring anyone in a white jersey to try to tackle him, if they could catch him of course. It'll remain a memory for as long as I live seeing him take the toss from Dan Pastroini fly down the far sideline, pie face a Dolphin or three and score as the Astrodome crowd went bananas. I get chills just thinking about it.
But, before the playoffs for that given season, it was the only time we saw, or cared, about other teams throughout the league. That said, I loved football and football highlights more than anything and I had to wait up until halftime of the Monday Night game to get some from Howard Cosell.
It wasn't until Chris Berman and Tom Jackson started doing ESPN Primetime where we could see highlights of all the games. But, that wasn't until the mid-1980s. The only time we got to see the rest of the league was during Monday Night Football with Cosell pontificating over the highlights as only he could do.
Some of you young'uns will hold dear to Sunday Night Football or a time in which the football smorgasboard was always open Thursday through Monday. Not those 40 and older, like myself.
MNF was THE game of the week and the trio in the booth - Frank Gifford, "Dandy" Don Meredith and Cosell - had a way of making it seem larger than life. They were all in the booth when the Tyler Rose burst his way into the nation's conscience in 1978. With a heavy heart and eloquence befitting the situation, Cosell announced to a nationwide audience that John Lennon had been killed during a Patriots-Dolphins Monday Night game.
Little Joe Washington in the rain in 1978 against the Patriots. The infamous Oiler fan who showed everyone who was No. 1, a moment that cemented Meredith as one of the most entertaining analysts in football history. It was an event more than a game, which was difficult to understand that early in my life.
The memories continued well past the trio's long and storied run. Joe Theisman's leg snapping vividly in slow motion v. the Giants in 1984. Peyton Manning bringing the Colts back with one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history v. the Bucs in 2003.
Brett Favre that same year playing in Oakland one day after his father had passed away. T.O and the sharpie in Seattle. The Fridge pancaking Green Bay linebackers on his way to the end zone in 1985. Bo Jackson running past and then over Brian Bosworth in Seattle in 1987. Elway v. Montana in Denver in 1994. Jerry Rice setting the TD record over the rival from across the Bay in 1994. The Fail Mary in Seattle in 2012.
Monday Night oozes with legendary moments but has been usurped a bit by the Sunday Night game in most people's eyes. But, if you're like me, you know that when you hear that music, you hear that "DUH...DUH...DUH", you know it's special. It always will be and the Texans have an opportunity a few nights from now to add to that list of great moments. A win will do, but do something memorable on THIS night...and it's magical.
At least to old guys like myself.