Jets and Redskins to kick off 2003 season
ABC Sports Online

ABC's NFL Monday Night Football, the most successful and longest-running primetime sports series in television history, will kick off its 34th season when the New York Jets travel to our nation's capital to take on the Washington Redskins on THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, it was announced by ABC and the NFL.

The New York Jets, under the leadership of head coach Herman Edwards, have reached the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. Last year they discovered a star in QB Chad Pennington, who took over the reins from Vinny Testaverde and led the NFL in passer rating. Pennington, along with RB Curtis Martin and Pro Bowl DE John Abraham, give the Jets a team that promises to contend again in the very strong AFC East.

The Redskins, under second-year head coach Steve Spurrier, have been the most active team thus far in the free agency period, signing guards Randy Thomas (Jets) and Dave Fiore (49ers), as well as QB Rob Johnson (Buccaneers) and DE Regan Upshaw (Raiders). In addition, DE Bruce Smith, who is only three sacks short of Reggie White's all-time record, has agreed to return for one last season.

ABC will now have two primetime games on Kickoff Weekend (Thursday, September 4 and Monday, September 8) and a season total of 17 primetime games (the opening Thursday night kickoff and 16 Monday Night Football games). As a result, no Monday night game will be scheduled for the league's final weekend of December 27-28 (Week 17).

The rest of the 2003 Monday Night Football schedule will be announced at a later date.

Last year Monday Night Football finished the season in the top-10 (8th) among all primetime shows on network television for the 13th consecutive season, and finished first in the key male demographics.

 
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