The NFL has its favorite teams and brands that it likes to showcase on national television and in primetime. The Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, etc. But one stat about appearances on Monday Night Football went viral showing the hierarchy of appearances on the historic showcase that will definitely come as a surprise.
With their victory over the Carolina Panthers in the first game of ESPN and ABC’s Monday Night Football doubleheader, it was actually the New Orleans Saints that made their 19th appearance on MNF since the 2012 season. Believe it or not, that’s the highest total in all the NFL, ahead of the Steelers, Bears, and Giants on 18 appearances.
Some of the teams that you would most expect to see on Mondays actually fall fairly far down the list with the Patriots (14), Packers (12), and Cowboys (11) in the middle of the pack. Of course, the NFL has a national TV window at 4:25 PM ET, Sunday Night Football, and Thursday Night Football to try to placate as well with their scheduling.
The other surprise comes at the opposite end of the spectrum. Four teams are tied for next to last at the bottom of the list with 8 appearances since 2012 – the Bucs, Titans, Dolphins, and Browns. That’s 8 more appearances than the last placed team – the Jacksonville Jaguars. Amazingly, the Jags have had zero Monday Night Football appearances in the last 11 years while the next lowest teams are far ahead of them.
Here is the great graphic from Jay Cuda on Twitter.
Number of Monday Night Football games since 2012 pic.twitter.com/I07VI5oHdk
— Jay Cuda (@JayCuda) September 19, 2023
Thankfully for the Jaguars and their fans, their playoff appearance last year has finally landed them a Monday Night Football game this year in Week 13 against the Cincinnati Bengals on December 4th. It will be almost 12 years to the day since their last MNF appearance – a 38-14 loss to the Chargers on December 5th, 2011. Why has it taken so long for them to get a solitary appearance while every other team has gotten several? It could be just a quirk of the complex schedule making process. It could be that the NFL had mandatory Thursday Night Football appearances for several years. It could also be that the league just didn’t have faith in the franchise in an era where there was no possibility to flex Monday Night Football games. Nevertheless, the team and its fans will finally get to enjoy the experience this season.
As for the Saints, their MNF appearance lead might come as a shock too given they’ve always been one of the smaller market teams in the league without a history of success before Sean Payton and Drew Brees arrived in 2006. However, the city has always delivered huge ratings for their team. Since then, the Saints have been transformed into one of the most consistently successful organizations in football with a Super Bowl victory, three NFC championship game appearances, and seven division titles. In addition to that, the Saints under Brees and Payton had a remarkable primetime record, especially at home. They were 36-18 in primetime and 17-8 on MNF with Brees and Payton. Although the last couple years have been a challenge, Derek Carr was able to notch one more primetime victory last night.