ESPN execs had been looking for a permanent opening since dropping Hank Williams Jr.'s classic "Are You Ready for Some Football" intro in 2011 after the singer analogized President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler.
Creator of 'MNF's' New Opening Segment
The creator of the new MNF opening segment is Peter Berg, the filmmaker and football fanatic best-known for the Friday Night Lights film and TV series. Berg won the job after pitching the network on the idea of packing 44 years of culture and football history into an 80-second curtain-raiser for the weekly game.
"Whether it be presidents being elected, great films, 9/11, Katrina -- these are moments that we all remember culturally and somehow dealt with on Monday Night Football," Berg told THR.
ESPN executive producer Jed Drake said that, at the end of last season, the network quietly put out requests for proposals to creative firms before Berg offered the timeline concept.
The plan is to regularly tweak the opening, adding and subtracting historical moments. "We hope this will spark debate about which cultural touchstones should be in it," said Drake.
Montage of Darth Vader
On Sept. 9, as the Philadelphia Eagles prepare to take on the Washington Redskins in the first Monday Night Football game of the NFL season, ESPN viewers won't be asked whether they are ready for some football. Instead, they'll be treated to a montage of Darth Vader, Ronald Reagan and the daredevil who jumped from outer space in 2012.