Howard Cosell, Keith Jackson and Don Meredith called the first-ever Monday Night Football game on ABC on Sept. 21. 1970, a battle between the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns. ABC paid $8.5 million for the rights to Monday Night Football, a far cry from the nearly $2 billion ESPN currently forks over per year. Mike Vaccaro says of the significance of that night: "Something had just changed. And it sure felt like forever, even in the moment. It isn’t just that it’s hard to conjure a similarly impactful moment 50 years later; it’s actually all but impossible to remember a time when the idea of a prime-time football game could cause such a stir. In 1970, ESPN was nine years from birth. Charles Dolan would not found the operation that would become HBO for four more months. Pro football had dabbled in games outside its Sunday comfort zone a little; the AFL would play games on Fridays and Saturdays. Mostly, though, if you were an NFL fan before Sept. 21, 1970, you got two games on Sundays. In New York, that meant you got whichever local team was on the road that week (thanks to home-game blackout rules) on either Channel 2 (Giants) or 4 (Jets). And then a national game, usually involving the Packers, Browns, Chiefs or Cowboys on the other." Check out ABC-NFL contract for Monday Night Football.