ABC's NFL "Monday Night Football," the most successful and longest-running primetime sports series, concludes its 32nd regular season as the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, looking to clinch a playoff berth, host the Minnesota Vikings. Coverage begins MONDAY, JANUARY 7, at 9 p.m. ET, on the ABC Television Network.
ABC Sports will also televise two wild-card playoff games on SAT., JAN. 12 (coverage begins at 4 p.m. ET), and the AFC-NFC NFL Pro Bowl on SAT., FEB. 9 (coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. ET).
For the second season together in the booth is the renowned trio of legendary announcer Al Michaels, Hall of Fame Quarterback Dan Fouts and comedian Dennis Miller. For Al Michaels, this is his 16th consecutive season as the play-by-play voice of ABC's NFL "Monday Night Football." The trio received much acclaim for their first year in the booth. Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson and Melissa Stark return for their second season on the sidelines.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS VS. BALTIMORE RAVENS
Minnesota Vikings (5-10)
This is the Vikings' 41st game on "Monday Night Football." Overall they have a 21-19 record, including a 28-16 victory over the N.Y. Giants in Week 10. The Vikings have appeared on MNF at least one time in every season since 1987, the longest streak of any NFL team.
Baltimore Ravens (9-6)
This is the Ravens' second straight and third ever appearance on "Monday Night Football." Last Saturday on the MNF Holiday Bash, the Ravens fell to the Buccaneers 22-10 in Tampa. In their only other MNF appearance, they defeated the Tennessee Titans 16-10 in Week 9. This game was originally scheduled for Week 2 of the season, but the games that week were postponed due to the events of September 11. A win this week will put the Ravens in the playoffs, though they can qualify with a loss too, if either the Jets or the Seahawks also lose.
These two teams have only met once, with the Vikings defeating the Ravens 38-28 on Dec. 13, 1998. In that game the Ravens turned the ball over six times, leading to 26 Minnesota points.
There will be a special Monday Night Music Video featuring Paul McCartney's tribute to September 11, "Freedom". McCartney sat down with MNF and gave an exclusive interview on writing the song and on how the NFL HAS helped America's recovery. He is the third rock superstar to create a video especially for MNF. In past weeks Mick Jagger and Sting have appeared on MNF halftime.
SECONDARY AUDIO PROGRAMMING (SAP):
ABC Sports will provide Secondary Audio Programming (SAP) in Spanish for ABC's NFL "Monday Night Football" throughout the entire season. The broadcast team of Alvaro Martin (play-by-play) and Roberto Abramowitz (analyst) will call the action, in their own words, in Spanish.
SAP is an additional audio subcarrier that can be received by all viewers with stereo television sets in markets where SAP is available. It can be used for any audio signal, but is most often used as a vehicle for a secondary language for English-language programming.
ABC SPORTS ONLINE:
ABC Sports Online is the place for the most in-depth coverage of "Monday Night Football." Every Tuesday morning keep up with MNF's resident wit in the Annotated Dennis Miller. Also this week, Eric Dickerson previews the Vikings-Ravens match-up, and Melissa Stark dips into her mailbag.
In addition to exclusive articles from the booth, St. Louis Rams WR Torry Holt continues his weekly column, and New York Giants SS Sam Garnes takes you inside the locker room and gives his picks on the weekend's best games. For more on "Monday Night Football," log on to ESPN.com, keyword MNF.
ABC Internet Group and ABC Television are producing Enhanced TV coverage of every ABC "Monday Night Football" telecast during the 2001 NFL season, enabling football fans to access live, synchronized programming with every primetime NFL telecast on ABC this season. Accessible via the Internet at ESPN.com (keyword: MNF), the content is highly interactive, produced from a live control room, and offers users/viewers numerous customized programming options while they watch the telecast on TV.
Fred Gaudelli is the producer and Drew Esocoff is the director of ABC's NFL "Monday Night Football."