Why are there two Monday Night Football games tonight?

Wait, what the heck is going on?
Chicago Bears v Minnesota Vikings
Chicago Bears v Minnesota Vikings / David Berding/GettyImages

We're officially in the home stretch of the regular season, which means the NFL is settling into an annual pattern we're used to seeing.

Some teams are firmly in the playoff race and competing for a Super Bowl, while others are already in NFL Draft mode while looking ahead to the future. Head coaches are on the hot seat, successful coordinators are being eyed as potential replacements for them, and the circle remains unbroken.

Just like Christopher Moltisanti, perhaps this regularness of life is just too hard for ESPN to handle because they threw a wrench into the normalness we're used to. There will be two Monday Night Football games this week even though we're fourteen weeks into the season.

Why are there two Monday Night Football games tonight? (December 12th)

Usually, there are a pair of Monday Night games served up as doubleheaders to start the season, something Buccaneers fans were a part of back in Week 3. Tampa Bay’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles was part of a doubleheader and was nationally broadcast on ABC.

Having a doubleheader this late in the season is a bit of a curveball. ESPN didn't originally give a specific reason for why there's a late-season doubleheader nor did it explain why the games will be on at the same time.

According to The Athletic, the reason is so that ESPN can collect real time viewer data.

“According to the league and ESPN, it’s about getting real-time data on viewer interest regarding “Monday Night Football” doubleheader start times,” Larry Holder explained.

That last bit is the most perplexing part of all this. When ESPN has the doubleheader earlier in the season it's staggered scheduling. One game starts about an hour earlier than the other and they they overlap for however long the games end up going.

For this week, both games are starting at the same time which is...certainly a choice.

How to watch Packers vs Giants

  • Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
  • TV: ABC | ESPN2 | ESPN+
  • Streaming: ESPN App, Fubo

How to watch Titans vs Dolphins

  • Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN | ESPN2 | ESPN+
  • Streaming: ESPN App, Fubo


The good news is that there’s a ManningCast scheduled for tonight, and they’re expected to keep an eye on both games rather than just focusing on one game. Neither of the matchups look like they’re going to be barn burners, with the Titans-Dolphins game the one with the most on the line.

More Tampa Bay Buccaneers news and rumors