After the third year of Monday Night Football on ESPN, the trio of Tirico, Jaworski and Kornheiser have definitely improved in the booth, but there are still some things that bother both myself and the masses. Kornheiser doesn’t seem to annoy everyone as much as in years past, and is starting to settle into his role, but some of his tangents and on-air “articles” remain over-the-top. The constant Brett Favre talk through the first five games or so was unnecessary, and it took a chastising from Tirico to finally make him stop.

Other than that, the only other thing the trio suffered from was a set of terrible games. But even with some stinkers, Monday Night Football was the most watched program on cable this past year. Via ESPN PR….

ESPN’s third season of Monday Night Football was the most-watched series on cable television in 2008, set an all-time cable viewership record for the third straight year and drew the year’s three biggest cable household audiences and 13 of the top 15. In three seasons on ESPN, Monday Night Football has registered seven of the top 10 all-time biggest household audiences in cable history, led by the Eagles-Cowboys telecast on September 15, which attracted cable’s largest household audience ever (an average of 12,953,000 million homes).

ESPN’s 17 Monday Night Football telecasts in 2008 averaged a 8.9 rating, representing an average of 8,679,000 households (11,962,000 viewers – P2+), increases of 3%, 5% and 7%, respectively, vs. 2007 (8.6; 8,277,000 and 11,230,000). MNF ended on a particularly strong note with last night’s Chicago Bears’ 20-17 overtime victory over the Green Bay Packers delivering a 9.8 rating, representing an average of 9,582,000 households (13,803,000 viewers – P2+). The game ranks as the third-largest household audience on cable this year.

The numbers don’t lie, and for those of you expecting or wanting a change, aren’t going to be getting it anytime soon. I know we poke fun at the trio each Monday night, but they’re slowly getting better each season and each broadcast. If it ain’t entirely broken, I’m sure ESPN feels no need to fix it. And they honestly shouldn’t mess with what’s working (for the most part) at this point.

That’s not to say that there weren’t some funny moments and quotes throughout the year, so what I’ve done is come up with a top ten set of quotes, and a compilation video of clips I’ve saved throughout the year. We’ve got Tony apologizing for a comment on Hispanic Heritage Day, Emmitt being Emmitt (Plaxico Berries, Rites of Patches and more) and Kat Deluna butchering the National Anthem. So buckle up and enjoy your 2008 Monday Night Football Season in just eight short minutes!

10. “Hi Brett, Hi Diana.”- Mike Tirico during the Week One Packers-Vikings matchup

9. “This is not a Buccaneer team that’s built to come from behind.” – Jaws
“But they have, on the road. 3 times.” – Mike Tirico

8. “Does that mean that, Delhomme, he went to Jarrett?” – Tony Kornheiser

7. “Great play calling, I can’t tell you anything else. Very hard.”- Mike Ditka

6. “The good thing about being short is that everyone else is tall….”- Emmitt Smith

5. “They were dooing for Deuce McAllister.”- Mike Tirico
“Dooing?”- Tony Kornheiser
“Deucing.”- Mike Tirico

4. “We put the focus on Favre because people like me are in love with him.”- Tony Kornheiser

3. “That’s exactly the kind of pass Favre would have thrown. Does it remind you of him at all?”- Tony Kornheiser
“Yes, but you’ve got to let it go, Tony.”- Ron Jaworski
“I’m going to put a Favre moratorium on the Second Half. You only get five mentions!”- Mike Tirico

2. “I took high school Spanish, either he said he’s not going to be caught, or please pick up my dry cleaning tomorrow.” – Tony Kornheiser
“I said something before which I shouldn’t have said, I apologize for it. Not my first mistake, undoubtedly won’t be my last, but a 100% apology.”- Tony Kornheiser

1. “This kid has obviously not earned his rites of patches in the locker room.”- Emmitt Smith

Thanks again to all of you who took the time to join in on the live-blogs each Monday Night, and sorry for bailing near the end of the season (there was good reason, but I don’t want to bore you with the details).

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