Could Monday Night Football return to ABC?

By Matt Johnson
Dec 24, 2018; Oakland, CA, USA; Monday Night Football production trucks outside of the the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum before the NFL game between the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Broadcasting rights for NFL games are like gold among major television networks, as recent deals have shown. Now more than a decade after ABC aired its last NFL game, the network could be looking to jump back into the game.

ABC held the rights to Monday Night Football from 1970 to 2005, broadcasting countless iconic matchups and enjoying some incredible moments. It all came to an end in April 2005, when the NFL shifted its top broadcast to ESPN and never looked back. After more than a decade out of the game, Disney is looking to make a run at even more NFL coverage.

What is the future for Monday Night Football?

ESPN made huge changes to its Monday Night Football broadcast booth this offseason. After the network missed out on the likes of Peyton Manning and Tony Romo, it is now looking at internal options to replace Booger McFarland and Joe Tessitore.

The network’s deal with the NFL runs through 2022, giving them a few years to find the right duo to take the broadcast to the next level. It will be a big year for the NFL with its broadcasting rights also set to expire with NBC, CBS and FOX, creating a window of opportunity for ABC.

According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, Disney is already planning to try and bring NFL games back to ABC. It will target the Monday Night Football slot and could go after additional games, either going after CBS or taking advantage of the NFL’s expanded schedule.

The NFL could expand to a 17-game regular season as early as next year and the new 14-team playoff format will go into effect this season.

If ABC and ESPN can broadcast more NFL games and Disney can provide the NFL with the largest audience, it could even lead to a Super Bowl broadcast on one of the networks in the future.