The NFL’s Wild Card Weekend just got even wilder. ESPN will broadcast the lone Monday Night Wild Card Finale Game next January, says the National Football League.
In September the NFL announced that one of the six Wild Card Games would be played on Monday night for the first time. It was unclear which network (Fox, CBS, NBC, or ESPN) would get that game. But ESPN, which airs Monday Night Football during the regular season, was awarded the first-of-a-kind game, which will air in prime time nationwide at 8:15 PM EST.
The Monday Night Wild Card game will air on ESPN through the end of the 2025-26 season, under the current contract.
Expanded NFL Playoff Schedule
The NFL postseason will feature 14 teams for the 2021-22 playoffs: four division winners in each of the two conferences, and three wild cards per conference. Only the division winner with the best record in each conference will secure a bye. The other 12 teams will play during the opening weekend of the playoffs.
The NFL has dubbed it Super Wild Card Weekend because of the expanded number of games. There will be two games played on Saturday, January 15, three games on Sunday, January 16 (including a night game), and the Monday, January 17 “Wild Card Finale” on ESPN. The contest will likely feature the Monday Night Football brand, which has been part of the league since 1970.
ESPN has revealed that their normal Monday Night Football crew of Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters, and John Parry will work the Monday Night Wild Card Finale in January. The network will also air a Wild Card edition of Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli on ESPN2 and ESPN+ at the same time. The alternate broadcasts featuring the former NFL quarterbacks and brothers have been popular since they debuted with week one of the 2021-22 season.
This is not the first time that the NFL has scheduled playoff games on Monday. In 1983 two Wild Card games were played on Monday afternoon due to Christmas that year falling on a Sunday. In 1955, the NFL played their championship game on a Monday afternoon to accommodate stadium scheduling requirements.