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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
ABC's Monday Night Football debuts in Cleveland
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

Sept. 21, 1970

Are you ready for some football? Some prime-time football? ABC Sports president Roone Arledge is. It's the debut of Monday Night Football, with the New York Jets and Broadway Joe Namath visiting the Cleveland Browns. Arledge has a vision of pro football being prime-time television entertainment -- more cameras, new angles, better graphics and information, and dramatic halftime highlights. He wants to show football is more than a game of Xs and Os.

That's why he has the outspoken and controversial Howard Cosell in the announcing booth at Cleveland's Municipal Stadium to complement Keith Jackson's play-by-play and the homespun humor of analyst Don Meredith. One game and ABC knows it has a hit. While the Jets lose 31-21, everybody else -- television, the NFL, the audience -- is a winner as a new cultural habit is born.

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