2021 NFL schedule: There's no traditional Week 1 'Monday Night Football' doubleheader. Why?

In 2006, "Monday Night Football" moved to ESPN and to give it a push, the NFL made a MNF doubleheader for Week 1. It stuck.

For more than a decade we've gotten used to the tradition, with one Monday night game starting a little too early and the other ending a little too late, a great way to finish the opening week of the NFL season.

That doubleheader was conspicuously absent in this NFL schedule, released Wednesday. There's just one "Monday Night Football" game in Week 1 this season, to the chagrin of football junkies but not so much for those who don't want to stay up past midnight Eastern time seeing if they won their first fantasy matchup of the year.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) will be on

No 'MNF' doubleheader

There were plenty of highlights when the NFL announced the Week 1 schedule early Wednesday, as there always are. But on Monday in Week 1, we get the Baltimore Ravens and Las Vegas Raiders. That's it.

In April, NBC Sports' Peter King said eliminating the MNF doubleheader was a possibility. The reasoning is strange: The NFL replaces the Week 1 doubleheader with a Week 18 Saturday doubleheader, presumably with a couple of games with playoff implications. It doesn't make a lot of sense why a Week 1 Monday doubleheader and a Week 18 Saturday doubleheader couldn't coexist, but there are television contract considerations.

It just means an extra game on the opening Sunday of the NFL season. With some more sleep on Monday night.

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