SBJ/20091123/A Day in the Life

Game day with ESPN

Monday Night Football” descended on Washington, D.C., on Oct. 26 for the Eagles’ 27-17 win over the hometown Redskins. By the time the game kicked off shortly after 8:30 p.m., ESPN executives had spent the previous eight hours preparing. Below is a look at what was going on behind the scenes in the run-up to ESPN’s telecast.

Text by John Ourand
Photos by Joanne Lawton

1:00PM ESPN hosts one of its “Chalk Talk” lunches from Sequoia, a waterfront restaurant in Georgetown, with MNF announcers Jon Gruden, Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski. ESPN executive Ed Durso also spoke at the event.

5:14PM More than three hours before the game, the FedEx Field sideline is filled with local sports broadcasters giving live remotes for their early evening newscasts.

5:44PM ESPN reporter Sal Paolantonio interviews VinnyCerrato, Redskins vice president of football operations, underneath the stands before the game. ESPN used the video during its “Monday Night Football” pregame show.

5:59PM ESPN’s Chip Dean leads the camera team meeting where they go over assignments and reinforce focus. Cameramen were told to be on the lookout for examples of frustration in the Redskins crowd.

6:04PM ESPN executive Norby Williamson at ESPN’s camera meeting. “I’m still awestruck by [MNF], and I still get nervous.”

6:21PM “SportsCenter” anchor Stuart Scott and NFL analysts Matt Millen and Steve Young take a break on a sideline set just before going on air.

6:24PM Scott addresses the camera during a live shot for “SportsCenter.”

6:25PM Millen makes a point from “SportsCenter’s” on-field set before the game.

6:33PM Young speaks to Washington Post columnist Mike Wise during a “SportsCenter” break.

6:44PM ESPN executive John Wildhack and the NFL’s Howard Katz chat with Hall of Fame quarterback Young on the field before the game.

7:04PM MNF announcers Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden go over their notes minutes before a rehearsal.

7:16PM Redskins owner Daniel Snyder spends time on the field, with Joel Segal, an NFL player agent and president of BEST's football division, in the background. During the evening, various executives stopped by to speak with Snyder, including Katz and Comcast’s Jeff Shell and Rebecca Schulte.

7:29PM ESPN sideline reporters Michele Tafoya and Suzy Kolber prepare to go on camera during MNF’s pregame show.

7:55PM MNF announcers Jaworski, Mike Tirico and Gruden go through a rehearsal for the show’s opening 35 minutes before going on air.

8:24PM Jay Rothman and Jed Drake work in ESPN’s production truck during the network’s pregame show.

9:06PM An ESPN cameraman shoots on the field during a break in the first half.

9:23PM ESPN’s camera shoots first-quarter action from the Redskins’ sideline.

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