That familiar Monday Night Football theme could be coming to an ABC station near you very soon.
It has been a long time — over 15 years — since America’s Network owned the NFL broadcast rights. That could change in the coming years, as ABC is reportedly closing in on regaining the chance to regularly air NFL games.
ABC is preparing to air NFL games in the near future
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There have been two major names attached to the upcoming NFL TV rights deal: Amazon and ABC.
According to SBJ, Disney is expected to pay “an increase of up to 30% from its current deal.” In total, Disney will reportedly pay roughly $2.6 billion for the opportunity to renew Monday Night Football and have ABC return to the Super Bowl rotation.
The NFL told the New York Post that no agreement had been reached yet.
SBJ reported that ABC would simulcast an undetermined number of regular-season games. ABC has aired a simulcast of ESPN’s NFL wild-card round game in recent years.
Amazon, meanwhile, will be the prime Thursday Night Football carrier in the next TV deal. Fox did not retain the TNF rights, which will still also air on NFL Network.
ABC will also have a chance to air the Super Bowl
From 1985-2006, ABC was a regular member of the Super Bowl rotation.
Perhaps the most well-known game of the seven that ABC aired and produced is Super Bowl 34, when Kurt Warner and the Rams held off Steve McNair’s Titans, 23-16, in January 2000. Titans receiver Kevin Dyson was famously tackled at the Rams’ 1-yard line as time expired.
Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, and Dan Dierdorf also called Super Bowl 25 for ABC. With the New York Giants leading 20-19 in the final seconds, Bills kicker Scott Norwood missed a 47-yard field goal that would have won the game for Buffalo.
ABC aired its most recent Super Bowl in February 2006. Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward earned MVP honors in a 21-10 victory over Shaun Alexander and the Seattle Seahawks.
What does that mean for the ‘Monday Night Football’ crew?
If all goes to plan, ABC will air its first Super Bowl as part of the new TV rights deal in February 2027.
There is no guarantee that the current Monday Night Football crew of Steve Levy, Brian Griese, and Louis Riddick will still be together then. Riddick has interviewed for numerous general manager opportunities in recent years.
It will be interesting to see if ESPN considers adding a big name to the MNF booth because of the ABC factor. Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning has already turned down ESPN and MNF.
ESPN reportedly has shown interest in hiring former Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. As of publication, Rivers — who retired in January after playing the 2020 season with the Colts — had not joined ESPN.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has already agreed to join NBC when he retires.