ABC, are you ready for some football if it's Ravens-Packers?

December 13, 2005|By RICK MAESE

From: George Bodenheimer, president of ABC Sports

To: Staff

cc: John Madden

Re: MNF - Packers at Ravens

The day we've all been dreading is just around the corner. In less than a week, we'll be televising the 3-10 Packers versus the 4-9 Ravens on Monday Night Football.

First of all, I want all ABC Sports employees to know that we cannot honor all of your sick-day requests for this game. Plan on working that night.

Secondly, let's spend the next couple of days brainstorming ways to promote this game. Allow me to get the ball rolling.

We must make it clear to our viewers that the matchup is a game of consequence. Tell them that it might be their last chance to see Packers quarterback Brett Favre play on Monday night. And tell them it might be their last chance to see the Ravens' Kyle Boller play quarterback on any night.

Ideally, this game would be played in Green Bay, Wis., and we could focus our cameras on the cheeseheads. My Baltimore sources say they have their own version of the cheesehead at M&T Bank Stadium, so focus your cameras on the Ravens fans wearing brown paper bags.

The viewers aren't fools. They know this matchup would've been great four years ago. Let's remind them that Monday marks their last chance to see Packers-Ravens until 2009.

We can't do anything about the players in the game. Frankly, the best talent can be found in the spots. During the game, remind the viewers to stay tuned for the Burger King commercials. The Burger King mascot is having a much better year than anyone on either of these teams.

We must remind viewers it's still football and it's not like there's anything better on. The Food Network is re-airing some Christmas special and Fox is broadcasting Nanny 911.

To make sure we don't lose viewers to these shows, though, maybe we should put a mike on Ravens coach Brian Billick. From what I hear, Billick often talks as if his players are children, anyway. I'm actually not concerned about losing viewers to the Food Network. I, myself, have a hard time distinguishing John Madden from Emeril.

How about a halftime interview with Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti? Sounds easy to arrange.

I've heard the Ravens do a halftime promotion in which area teens hurl the ball as far downfield as possible. Any chance we can persuade Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome to sign Monday's halftime winner to quarterback the Ravens in the second half? Might make for some good reality programming. And it probably couldn't hurt the Ravens too much.

(Not that we want to fix the contest, but see if there's any way to get the Burger King mascot registered as a competitor.)

The season is almost over and we need to be looking forward. The Packers and Ravens are probably thinking about the draft, and so are their fans. Can someone see if NFL draft guru Mel Kiper is available to do some booth work? Have a case of hair-spray on standby.

Fans like analysis. Let's tell them how exactly the Packers and Ravens got to this point. Have a chart ready to go that details the Ravens' recent draft woes. And be sure to talk about the problems they've had this season. It's Week 15, and no matter what happens against the Packers, I think the Ravens are still mathematically eligible to play in Week 16. Double-check that, though.

Let's give some thought to tweaking our graphics a bit. Of course, we need to keep the game clock and the score on-screen at all times. But let's also include a computerized tally of Boller's turnovers. We need to assign at least two producers to make sure this remains updated throughout the night.

On the sidelines, I want: a cannon, Hank Williams Jr., 250 crabs and $10,000 worth of fireworks. Trust me.

Of course, I'm open to hearing your ideas as well.

As Monday Night Football prepares to move to ESPN next season, we're committed to letting our treasured program die an honorable death on network television. That's why the final three weeks of the season, we're airing: Saints-Falcons, Packers-Ravens and Patriots-Jets - perhaps the worst string of games in the 36-year history of MNF.

We must remind viewers that these last few weeks are about the program, not the football. Besides, who doesn't enjoy a good funeral?

Oh, and one more thing: When all else fails next Monday, talk about Terrell Owens. Let's have footage of him cued up at all times.

Thank you for your time.

rick.maese@baltsun.com

Packers@Ravens Monday, 9 p.m., chs. 2, 7, 1300 AM, 102.7 FM Line: Ravens by 3

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