It is probably not as simple as this, but it is alarmingly easy to imagine the people that put together the NFL's schedule figuring out which teams should play in Monday Night Football. These men—imagine them all as stalwart thumbheaded miniaturized Goodells, with his same Big Confused Dog look about the eyes—understand how these things work. Sunday Night Football gets the really good teams; Fox's NFL Game of the Week gets the Cowboys against whoever, unless it's the Packers against whoever. The periodic alarm-clock game will involve the Jacksonville Jaguars and whichever other team the NFL wishes to prank by sending them to play in front of a bunch of increasingly bored Brits. And Monday Night Football gets... well, it gets the Arizona Cardinals and the Baltimore Ravens.
When this game was scheduled, it looked like it would be between two respectable, defense-first teams with fringe playoff chances—the sort of perfectly respectable game that is, on its merits, not necessarily more entertaining to watch than Monday's six-hour marathon of Jon Taffer bellowing something about signature cocktails into some overmatched bar owner's shiny forehead. And when the bottom falls out, as it has in Baltimore, it is something different and worse even than the modest thing it appeared to be. Jon Gruden will still bring his avant-garde diction and general barking-mad fervor to play; the commercials will run at the same times. But the game needs help. This game, maybe more than any other we've seen, needs Footballz.
And so we have Footballz. Tonight, TD welcomes comic Sarah Boatright as a co-host, and AV Club editor-in-chief (and chief football columnist) John Teti will join with a fourth-quarter phone call. As per usual, there will be jokes and music and discussion that is not strictly about the football taking place. There will be no Jon Gruden. The mini-Goodells that made this will be far from the scene. This will be different, which is to say it will be just what this game needs.
As ever, you can listen at Footballz.org, or stream along here:
And, as ever, feel free to chat it up below.