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Hardcover Monday Night Mayhem: The Inside Story of ABC's Monday Night Football Book

ISBN: 0688075533

ISBN13: 9780688075538

Monday Night Mayhem: The Inside Story of ABC's Monday Night Football

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

Based on interviews with over 100 people including the chairman of the board of ABC, the commissioner of the NFL, and all the principals in ABC's Monday Night Football, this is an entertaining, anecdotal, revealing look at the show that changed the viewing habits of the nation. 16 pages of photos.

Customer Reviews

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A look at the show that changed sports broadcasting

I recently picked up this 1988 book because I had seen the TNT movie of the same title, which was based on this book and which I thought was quite good. The book itself provides a large amount of detail about the interplay between all the main people involved in putting Monday Night Football on the air between 1970 and 1987.The person who dreamed up the entire concept of prime-time football (helped by some prodding from NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle) was the executive producer of ABC sports, Roone Arledge. His vision of the future and his love of innovation was the primary reason that MNF made such an impact when it debuted in September 1970. It succeeded because it was hugely entertaining and because nothing like it had ever been seen before on television.The popularity of pro football had grown tremendously during the 1960s. But Arledge felt that in order to successfully broadcast NFL football games in prime time, and to compete against the other networks' established Monday evening shows, the emphasis needed to focus on the personalities in the broadcast booth as much as the action on the field. He wanted the show to be an event, not just a televised football game. He put together a brilliant group of three people - a 'straight man' for the play-by-play descriptions, a charming 'regular guy' ex-player for game analysis, and a 'host' with a strong journalistic background who could tied it all together by adding some depth to the show while also playing the role of provocateur.The original broadcast team (or "cast" if you will) consisted of Keith Jackson (replaced after one year by Frank Gifford), Don Meredith and Howard Cosell. These men all had very different personalities, especially Cosell whose background was as a journalist rather than an ex player, and that was the main reason the show had such an edge. Cosell had a delicious combination of a brilliant mind, a huge ego, and at the same time a desperate need to be liked by his audience. The interplay between Cosell and the other two men could be caustic, but very often it was wonderful.Arledge's concept, after a brief rough start, worked amazingly well for the most part. In fact it could be argued that it worked too well. As the show soared in popularity, the egos of the men involved (including those of the behind the scenes personnel) soon clashed and made MNF a high-wire act where the audience and even the broadcasters themselves were never quite sure what would happen each week. Behind the scenes there were temper tantrums, drunkenness, pettiness, pouting, profanity and debauchery. Although the viewing public had little clue of all this infighting, the tension it caused added a raw edge to the broadcast each week. It all made for great television, and the public ate it up.But all too soon the tensions built up beyond the toleration point. Meredith got fed up and left the show after the fourth season (1973), and although Arledge did his best to replace him (eventually addi

The title says it all - but the book's even better.

The authors provide a humorous and in-depth look at ABC's "Monday Night Football." The book starts with the history of the then-radical concept of pro football played on a weeknight and the men who made it a reality, including Roone Arledge, Chet Forte, Pete Rozelle, and of course, Howard Cosell. The book, fortunately, looks past the schtick and examines the background of the broadcasters and producers and how they came together to create what is now an American institution.
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