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The party’s over: Curtain to fall on ABC Sports' “Monday Night Football”

After 36 years, the ABC Sports' production of “Monday Night Football” will end Dec. 26. The show debuted Sept. 21, 1970, with coverage of the Cleveland Browns defeating the New York Jets show here. Photo courtesy of ABC photo archives.

After a 36-year run, ABC Sports' production of “Monday Night Football” will come to an end Dec. 26 with the telecast of the New England Patriots vs. New York Jets game.

Winner of the 2005 Sports Emmy for Best Live Series, “Monday Night Football” is the longest-running prime-time sports series in television history.

Since first airing Sept. 21, 1970, when the Cleveland Browns defeated the New York Jets 31-21, “Monday Night Football” has been an innovator in the production of football. Under the guidance of producer Roone Arledge, the show changed how the NFL was presented on television. Among his innovations were a three-man commentator booth; doubling the number of cameras used to cover a game, replays and graphics; and of course, Howard Cosell.

“Monday Night Football” will remain under the Disney umbrella when it moves to ESPN next season. Jay Rothman and Chip Dean will take the reins of the show in 2006. The ESPN Sports Emmy Award-winning NFL producer-director duo has worked on the network’s “Sunday Night Football” since 2001.

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