NFL Week 4 time, channel, and schedule Normally, "Monday Night Football" only featured a doubleheader in Week 1. While just one of the Monday night games in Week 4 will carry that formal title, ESPN's prime-time coverage will not be alone. Other games on other networks are also considered "prime time" if they air between 7:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. ET.
ESPN has chosen to call these games "prime time" instead of simply labeling them as such because American sports fans like to think of their favorite teams as playing in front of big crowds in late September/early October. Even though most NFL games are played on Sunday afternoons, some fans believe seeing their team play in early evening hours will help them win or lose more intensely.
The first Monday Night Football game was played on October 10, 1970 when Baltimore defeated Houston 34-7. The last MNF game before Walt Disney Company acquired the NFL rights was Washington's 36-31 victory over Dallas on January 1, 2015. Since then, there have been no Monday night football games due to the fact that Disney does not want to pay the NFL its annual fee for using its television network as a place where live college football games can be shown.
According to NBC Sports' Peter King, the "Monday Night Football" doubleheader, which has been a fixture on the Week 1 schedule, will be phased out beginning this season. The Saturday doubleheader in the last week of the regular season was included in the NFL's new broadcast contracts and will be played this season.
The doubleheader will be replaced with a single game on Monday nights this year. This means that only one team will play in each half of the game.
NBC Sports has not announced any changes to its weekly MNF schedule but has confirmed to ESPN.com that it will no longer air a doubleheader at the end of the season. That event will be replaced this year with one game on Monday nights.
It is possible that they are just clearing space for more important games to be shown during commercial breaks. There have been discussions about moving the first round of the NFL playoffs to Sunday mornings so more people can watch them.
However, given that NBC Sports is removing another popular event from its schedule, we should expect other changes to come out soon.
With the exception of the season-opening "Monday Night Football" doubleheader in Week 1 and the COVID-19 scheduling changes, all Monday night games begin at 8:15 p.m. The only exceptions are the late games on Monday nights, which start at 11:05 p.m.
The late games are played when there is a major college basketball game that is still being played in the early hours of Tuesday morning. If this happens, then the NBA game will be used to fill the 10:15 p.m. ET slot on ESPN or ABC.
An early game is defined as one that starts before 7:15 p.m. This occurs when there is no late game on Monday night.
There have been seven games that started after 7:15 p.m. All but one of these games were scheduled for late seasons (post-Jan 1). The only exception was the 2019 AFC Championship Game between New England and Jacksonville, which began at 9:25 p.m. ET due to inclement weather delaying the start of the NFC Championship Game. This game could not be moved to another day or time because it fell on Jan. 20, the date selected by former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue to honor the first NFL game ever played (1920 Harvard-Yale game).
The NFL may opt to rearrange games for the final 12 weeks of the season in order to provide NBC with a more appealing game in its Sunday night time slot. Games may also switch between early and late doubleheader timeslots. The Thursday, Saturday, and Monday night games remain unchanged.
The NFL announced in February 2014 that it would experiment with changing the time of some games during the 2013 season. Beginning with the Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets game on September 24, several games were moved back an hour from their previously scheduled kickoff time. The changes were made in an effort to increase viewership for NBC's football lineup at night while maintaining high ratings during the day when most people are working. "We're very happy with how these games have done this far," said NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus after one week of the schedule changes. "They've helped boost our afternoon programming and we look forward to seeing how they affect our evening shows down the road.""These games have been great opportunities for us to test different ideas that could help expand the NFL's audience," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "We'll continue to explore ways to get more fans watching football at other times of the day." The changes resulted in higher ratings during the daytime hours than expected, so more games will likely be moved again if the trend continues. However, no further switches are planned for the remainder of the season.