Monday Night Football was a big deal when it was on ABC. But on ESPN, which pays billions for the rights to the NFL, Monday Night Football has been often stuck with the worst games, such as Monday's matchup between the 0-6 Miami Dolphins and the 2-4 Pittsburgh Steelers. Yet ESPN keeps trying to pretend that Monday Night Football is still special. "Monday Night was the one game every week that pitched itself to a nationwide audience; there was no regular-season experience quite like it," says John Teti. "But now there is Thursday Night Football, and NBC’s Sunday Night Football, which gets dibs on the top-tier matchups that used to be Monday Night’s stock-in-trade. Once, Monday Night was the climax of an NFL week. Now it often feels like a last gasp. Monday Night isn’t special anymore, but the production never formed a new identity to contend with that reality. So there’s a lot of pretending. We all must pretend it matters when, say, a running back gains more yards in the third quarter of a Monday Night Football game than anyone has before. It’s not clear why the Monday Night-ness of an achievement matters to anyone in 2019—though, did it ever? Regardless, part of the lore of Monday Night Football is that the lore of Monday Night Football is very important indeed." Teti adds that announcer Joe Tessitore "is dedicated to huffing and puffing on the embers of Monday Night’s aura, and that is a big part of why he has his job. His misguided desperation to inflate small moments is an echo of Monday Night’s general desperation to seem bigger than it is. His schmaltz is a salve for the show’s deepest insecurities. Without him, Monday Night Football might have to stop pretending."