Some of you may have noticed that you've heard the phrase "rumblin' fumblin' stumblin'" a little less this season than last. That, my friends, is because the unbearable tub of lard that is Chris Berman and his partner in crime (the fantastic Tom Jackson) are no longer hosting NFL (say it with me) "Priiime-Tiiiime" every Sunday night. They have been replaced by Football Night in America on NBC, the Bob Costas show leading into the Sunday night game with Michaels and Madden. For a fantastic article on the difference in highlights on NBC than those on ESPN, read this. Berman and Jackson are now hosting a segment on SportsCenter called "The Blitz." While it may have a catchy and unique name and vaguely homoerotic commericals, it's not nearly what Primetime used to be. As the above-linked article says, ESPN lost its right to the postgame show when it lost Sunday Night Football. This was just another component of the trade made to get MNF on the Worldwide Leader in Cross-Promotional Gimmicks Vaguely Related to Sports.
So, now we know just about all of the components of the Sunday Night-Monday Night trade. Let's break it down, Steve Phillips Fake News Conference Style:
Q: Steve, why trade Sunday night for Monday night football?
A: Well, Monday Night Football is an established name in the game. We really tried to make Sunday night work. We really did. But, when it came down to it, Sunday night didn't really fit in our system. NBC came to us with an offer that would get us a marquee player in the game, and we took it. I think it was a great move.
Q: Steve, you know that MNF hasn't had its best seasons in the past couple of years. Low ratings, aging audience, poorer-than-expected performance in the clutch. Just look at the demographics. So why do you think your team can turn that around?
A: I think all MNF needed was a change in scenery. I mean, more than thirty years with the same squad can make a program complacent. Taking a player like MNF from a big market like ABC and moving it to a smaller market like ESPN is good for the player. It takes the pressure off to, you know, get ratings above a five share.
Q: But Steve, isn't it true that you had to throw in your stalwart Primetime to get this deal done?
A: Yes. We told NBC that we wouldn't give up one of our prize prospects to get this deal done. And we were able to make that work. We still have Quite Frankly and Around the Horn. Woody Paige is still here! But, to make the numbers work, NBC needed another guy. We had to give them Primetime.
Q: Aren't you worried fans might walk away from the team?
A: Not at all. Primetime was beloved, to be sure, but football shows that give you knowledge and insight are a dime a dozen. Just look at NFL Live, with Trey Wingo, Sean Salisbury, Mark Schlereth, and Mike Golic. Who wouldn't want to watch that? Plus, how much fun is Tom Jackson when he can't call Michael Irvin retarded?
Q: Finally, Steve, why do you think it didn't work out with Sunday night?
A: Well, I just think we had the wrong personnel to get through on Sunday night. Joe Theismann just didn't have enough to put it all together.
Q: Who will be helping with MNF?
There you have it. Three years from now, I guarantee there won't be a Monday Night Football. If it is still around, it won't be on ESPN, because ESPN's collective head is so deep in the sand to ever pull it off. Put that in your Budweiser Hot Seat and smoke it.
By the way, in a completely unrelated story, the Yankees' magic number is down to one, and the Twinkies are tied with Boston in the fifth. And we all know how great the Boston bullpen is. Might as well pop the corks of the champagne.