Sorry about the late start, people. (Anyone here?) I’ll be up and running in two seconds.

[Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. I’m Stan, I blog here. I’ll be your cruise director tonight.]
“Let the new era begin!” – Mike Tirico

…and we have an injury on the kickoff.

An inauspicious beginning, no? Anyway, ESPN has MNF now (you’d think they would have advertised it a little bit or something) and they’re hoping that all the preseason jitters have disappeared for their vaunted triangle offense–It’s Tirico as the straight man! Introducing Tony Kornheiser as the color guy! With Joe Theisman as the retard!

I wouldn’t normally resort to name-calling, but I had to work that link in there somehow. And say what you will about Theisman… at least ESPN didn’t bring Paul Maguire along for the ride. It says something about that old Sunday night threesome that the suits at the WWL thought, “That Theisman kid… he’s a keeper.”

Anyway, that’s enough for the intro. For fuck’s sake, someone’s already scored in this game. Tony’s smiling, the Skins have the ball. Let’s get this shit started.

7:29pm – In a new twist on a tired device, MNFONESPN has one player introducing their teammates. Sound like a disaster? It, surprisingly, works better than I would have thought. At least it beats Lavar Arrington inexplicably telling us that he’s “Mr. Nichols from the School of Hard Knocks.”

7:33pm – There’s been some talk about how Brad Childress is really trying to help the Vikings get past their scandal-ridden year. As such, FS Dwight Smith is inactive tonight due to “indecent conduct.” Yep. Get caught having sex in a stairwell? That’s a game, buddy! Wanna try me? I’ll make it two! Also, love this note from the news item: “Rookie Greg Blue, a fifth-round draft choice from Georgia, will start in Smith’s place at free safety.” If the WWL won’t make a joke about Smith getting blue-balled, then I’ll try to refrain as well.

7:39pm – By the way, my buddy Aaron informs me that this is not an HD camera-friendly crew. But I’d bet my life that Michelle Tafoya looks better in HD tonight than Andrea Kremer did in standard def. last night. Yikes.

7:44pm – I should mention that the Skins scored on that last drive. 6-3 Vikings. I’m new to this liveblogging thing. I’ll get into a rhythm soon. In fact… Kornheiser! I’ll race you!

7:46pm – Kornheiser points out that there were about sixty QBs taken in front of Brad Johnson in the 92 draft. Anyone think that the Raiders were looking at that list and thinking, “Hmm…. what’s Tommy Maddox up to?”

7:51pm – Brad Johnson tosses an absolute bomb to Troy Williamson, who somehow fails to catch it. Seriously, it’s like Johnson hit him in the numbers from behind.

7:59pm – Shot of Tom Cruise sitting in Daniel Snyder’s luxury box. Theisman adds, “KATIEHOLMESISWITHTHEM” like a twelve-year-old girl. No word on whether their Asian baby is there as well. Hopefully ESPN is readying a “Minority Report” graphic in case that happens.

8:02pm – “It’s worth the price of admission. That one return… is what it’s all about” – Joe Theisman. Yahoo! Gamecast has Randle El’s punt return at 12 yards. That’s what it’s all about.

8:05pm – Jamie Foxx is in the booth. The big question is: where’s Mario Lopez? ESPN Hollywood has legs!

8:08pm – It’s worth noting that this kind of shit (see: Kornheiser asking Jamie Foxx about Tom Cruise) would generally only fly in the fourth quarter of a game that’s been long-wrapped up… or say the ninth inning of a baseball game where the commentators have run out of shit to say. But not at ESPN, suckers. It’s a new era. Did I mention that MNF is on ESPN now?

8:09pm – It’s also worth noting that I need Santana Moss to have a big game in order to win my fantasy football match-up this week. Like 2-TD big.

8:11pm – Speaking of fantasy football… you know how most people set their rosters knowing that Clinton Portis would be out of action today? TD for Janky Spanky. 10-6 Skins.

8:15pm – “Oh, Daniel Snyder will give you money. Tell him that you’re eligible and he’ll give you money.” – Kornheiser, to Jamie Foxx. I’m not sure, but did he just call Jamie Foxx a whore?

8:17pm – Ralph Maccio is in a new movie. This will not necessitate commentary from me.

8:21pm – Theisman confirms that the hardest thing for a young QB to “get out” is “the verbage.” Second hardest? Getting the bones out of your leg, obviously.

8:23pm – Interesting sign from a fan: “DEE-FENSE”. It’s the obvious choice for anyone who thinks “D-Fense” doesn’t fill up a sign enough and “Defense” is just too accurately spelled to intimidate visiting offenses.

8:26pm – Theisman mentions that we haven’t seen Brandon Lloyd in the game yet. Happy to be out of San Francisco, are ya Brandon? Best of luck on the sideline. [I suppose this is a good time to disclose that I’m a Niner fan.]

8:30pm – Fantasy stalwart Santana Moss almost has a big catch called back, but it’s ruled that he was pushed out of bounds. To remind you of the rules, you’re not allowed to touch balls once you’ve been on the sideline. In retrospect, this excuse coulda been an easy out for Suzy Kolber, no?

8:34pm – Santana. You gotta hold on to that shit. Not just for you. Not just for your team. But my team. My fantasy team. I’m down by 10.

8:35pm – Darren Sharper, now available in burrito form.

8:37pm – By the way, the Skins had to settle for a FG. They’re up 13-6 now, which is somewhat surprising given the relative ease with which the Vikings scored that first TD.

8:42pm – There’s no way in hell I’m liveblogging the halftime show. I, for one, don’t need Chris Berman to reflect on 9/11 for me.

8:50pm – They just kicked it over to the other MNF crew to plug the next game. Jaws: “31! 37! 28!” (LDT’s carries in his three games in Oakland). Nessler: “Those are pretty good measurements, actually.” And I thought Tirico was a dog.

9:05pm – If you think about it some more, 31-37-28 would be pretty freakish.

9:07pm – I’ve been trying to talk about announcing, given that this site is called “Awful Announcing.” One of my big pet peeves about football commentary is this: “You talk about…” As in, “You talk about a tough guy at the line of scrimmage” or “You talk about a guy who commands a huddle.” At this point, I think the “You talk about” count is at about fifteen, and the third quarter just started.

9:09pm – Another bomb from Johnson. Caught by Marcus Robinson. 17-9 Vikings.

9:12pm – Tirico just scolded Kornheiser for plugging his daughter’s company. Amateur Hour on the Worldwide Leader.

9:13pm – I think these Nike “Briscoe High” commercials are pretty well done, but I really don’t think a high school team that starts LaDainian Tomlinson and Michael Vick would need to rely on trick plays to win games.

9:16pm – Anyone else notice that Kornheiser has really toned it down tonight? I’d really like to see him provoke Theisman some more, but I was the asshole kid who fried ants with a magnifying glass.

9:21pm – Tirico: “When you see two 27-yard field goals and one 22-yard attempt, you know that says two things–good red zone defense and missed red zone opportunities.” Remember, folks, keep it tuned to ESPN for the latest in breaking news and biting sports analysis. Seriously, this analysis bites.

9:26pm – I checked to see if I could find that one cheerleader they just showed before they went to commercial, but why bother linking to just one? LINK TO CHEERLEADERS. I love that their squad has a “Crystal B.” and a “Crystal H.” Not to mention a “Tiffani” and a “Tiffany.” And a “Chastity” and a “Ginger.” The Redskins roster is one “Amber” short of opening a Cheetah’s.

9:33pm – That Redskins fan was waving around a yellow towel. I mean, I’m a Charlie Batch fan too, but I wouldn’t wave that shit around at a Niner game.

9:35pm – From the comments, Jay writes, “And, I love how so many of them claim to be a “student”. Probably pre-law like most the strippers I’ve met. I blieve them too.” Here are my favorites from the Redskins roster: Kimberly, IT Program Manager. Lauren, Neurotherapist. Shaina, Risk Management Consultant. Ginger, Third-grade Teacher.

9:41pm – Tirico: “Fred Smoot smelled it out.” I got nothing, guys. Write your own jokes.

9:42pm – Big ups to Kornheiser for bringing up the sex boat. It’d be really easy for them to gloss over shit like that, cause… well…. that’s what ESPN does.

9:45pm – Looks like the Vikings are out of the danger zone, but I need to talk about this anyway. Is there anything dorkier in football than a defense’s celebration after a safety?

9:56pm – You talk about an announcing crew that can make a tied game boring.

9:58pm – See, this is why you need three top-notch guys in the booth. Tirico: “At 6’5″, he can jump up almost eight feet and make those kinds of plays.” Theisman: “See, Tony, you don’t need seven footers! We were talking about that earlier.” Kornheiser: “But he’s 6’5″.” Quality you can taste.

10:04pm – Sean Taylor has just been penalized for the 105th time tonight. Class act, that guy.

10:08pm – I’d be perfectly happy with this game ending in a tie.

10:12pmUPDATE: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes prefer the pinky-hold to the full hand clasp.

10:13pm – Minnesota was awfully nonchalant about taking time off the clock with some short runs in the red zone. Now they’re settling for a field goal. If I were a betting man (and I am), I’d bet good money (which I don’t have) that the Redskins come back to win this thing in the next minute and a half. IN FACT, they won two or three games that way last year, did they not? Bombs to Santana Moss? Yes. Yes, I believe that happened. Anyway, watch for it.

10:16pm – By the way, that field goal made it 19-16 Vikings.

10:19pm – Wide right. Shoulda gone deep to Santana, fuckers. Final score: 19-16 Vikings.

Hey guys, it’s been a blast. I’m not sticking around to do the second game. Thanks for reading and commenting. Enjoy the Chargers and Raiders! Oh yeah, and remember… Brad Nessler likes em top heavy.