"Monday Night Football" 50th birthday broadcast will feature Peyton Manning, Guy Fieri among special guests


Among the special guests that will be featured on ESPN2's special multi-box presentation of the Saints-Raiders game are as follows (via ESPN PR):

- Roger Goodell
- Peyton Manning
- Charles Barkley
- Guy Fieri
- Russell Wilson
- Nick Saban
- Dabo Swinney
- Mike Calipari
- Tom Izzo
- Kenny Chesney
- Aja Wilson

Bill Nelson tossed an eight-yard touchdown to Gary Collins to put the Cleveland Browns on the board against the Jets on September 21, 1970. It wasn't necessarily significant at the time, but it would come to symbolize a major moment in the history of football.

The first touchdown of "Monday Night Football" had ever been scored. For the next 50 years, it became a staple in every football fan's routine throughout the fall and early winter, with some of the most memorable matchups the game has ever seen going down on Monday night and providing all of us with some early-week relief from work.

Thus, when the New Orleans Saints and the Las Vegas Raiders square off on Monday, September 21, it's reason for celebration. 50 years have gone by since that Browns-Jets matchup, and the NFL is going to take the time to recognize those magnificent 50 years with a special broadcast.

According to Derek Volner of ESPN Press Room, ESPN will be airing multiple broadcasts of the game across the network, each with different aspects to the viewing experience.

On ESPN and ABC, the standard broadcast will air featuring an announcing team of Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters and John Parry. Allegiant Stadium, the new home of the Raiders -- which head coach Jon Gruden called the "greatest thing (he's) ever seen" -- will be showcased. Raiders greats Tim Brown, Gene Upshaw and Art Shell will also be featured in different segments of the show.

As exciting as the above feature sounds, it's the ESPN2 presentation that holds much more intrigue for me.

Rece Davis and Kirk Herbstreit will host the broadcast, "in a virtual atmosphere," while several guests will drop in and out throughout the game in a multi-box setup. What sorts of guests? According to the press release, they'll consist of "NFL dignitaries, current and former players, famous Raiders fans, celebrities, musicians and more." There's some fan interactivity as well, as you'll be able to participate in polls throughout the event.

For diehard Raiders and Saints fans, we're guessing that the first broadcast is the one for you. After all, if my Eagles were obscured in one of eight boxes during a presentation that included, say, Philadelphia native Bradley Cooper talking about his love of Philly sports, I'd probably want to focus more on the game.

But for everyone else looking for an awesome celebration of 50 years of football on Monday nights, ESPN2 has you covered.

That's not all, though. Among the other special aspects of the birthday celebration will be "Boomer's Vault: Sunday's Best," where Chris Berman recounts his all-time favorite "Monday Night Football," a special feature on three Raiders families, and a halftime show from the Caesars Palace rooftop by The Killers.

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