`MNF' deals Ravens `snub'

ABC's 1st broadcast seen Broncos-Giants

Champs set for Week 2

Modell just smiles at unofficial word

March 20, 2001|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

So, Ravens fans, are you ready for some "Monday Night Football"?

The Ravens appear set to make their Monday night debut in the second week of the season, an NFL representative "unofficially" informed team officials yesterday.

The Super Bowl champions are expected to play host to the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 17 at PSINet Stadium.

"I'm happy and we deserve it," Ravens owner Art Modell said. "We want to continue to be on Monday night and we will be."

NFL officials would neither confirm nor deny the report. The league releases its schedule during the first week of April.

When the Ravens asked for confirmation on the game, an NFL executive told team spokesman Kevin Byrne that they had "a bad connection and was fading out."

"We're not going to comment," said Greg Aiello, the NFL's vice president of public relations. "The schedule is not finalized and we're not expecting it to be released until next month. It's not final until it's released."

The season-opening game is believed to have the New York Giants playing at the Denver Broncos, christening Invesco Field. It would be the fourth straight year the Broncos would start on Monday night.

Sliding the Ravens into the second week could be construed as another scheduling slight by the league. Last season, the Ravens had to open by playing five of their first seven games on the road, the only team to have such a stretch.

Now, the Ravens are slated to become the first Super Bowl champion since the 1995 San Francisco 49ers to not kick off the next season on Monday night.

In fact, nine of the past 11 league champions opened on Monday night.

"It doesn't make a difference if it's the first week or second week," Modell said. "We want Monday night football in Baltimore."

Baltimore has not had a team showcased on Monday night since Nov. 6, 1978, when the Colts beat the Washington Redskins, 21-17, at Memorial Stadium.

The city, which has played host to five Monday night games, was the site of the second Monday night game ever, back in 1970.

The Ravens may be on Monday night again later in the season, when they travel to play the Tennessee Titans in December. In their five-year history, the Ravens are 2-4 in prime-time games.

The team has anticipated at least two Monday night games this season. The past seven defending Super Bowl champs have had three games broadcast on Monday night.

"Based on our performance last year, it's no surprise to be on Monday night," Modell said.

"ABC and the league office try to put together the most attractive series of games they can. Our performance dictates that we be included."

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