Well, it is finally official: The 2022 Monday Night Football season was the worst season of Monday Night Football in the recorded history of Monday Night Football. We here at ALDLAND were on this early, and, in a report published on December 6, 2022, disclosed the preliminary and then-conclusive findings derived from our proprietary MNF Index: “This has been the worst slate of Monday-night games in NFL history….Monday Night Football never has been less worthy of its billing than in 2022.” Today, ALDLAND updates and confirms that conclusive conclusion conclusively for the now-completed 2022 NFL season.
As a reminder:
Unlike Monday Night Football’s ascendant sibling, Sunday Night Football, or its soon-to-be-terminated cousin, SEC on CBS, all MNF matchups must be chosen well before the season starts. This means that the NFL and its media partners have to make significant, long-range predictions based on minimal data when they are setting all of the pairings for their premier weekly showcase. How well do they do this?
To answer this question, the MNF Index evaluates the quality of Monday Night Football games immediately prior to kickoff to present a quality score illustrating the schedule-makers’ degree of success at presenting enticing games likely to live up to the expectations of a nationally televised, Monday-night event. The MNF Index therefore does not consider any in-game performance data.
Looking ahead from that early December vantage point, we wondered whether the three remaining Monday-night games– Rams at Packers, Chargers at Colts, and Bills at Bengals– might offer a meaningful chance at redemption. They did not. Indeed, Rams-Packers (Week 15) was, according to the ALDLAND MNF Index, the worst MNF game of the season. And although the no-doubt quality matchup between the Bills and Bengals (Week 17) would have been the best MNF game ever, the game (a) correctly was canceled due to Damar Hamlin’s frightening, serious injury and (b) would not remotely have altered the ultimate conclusion that there has been no worse season of Monday Night Football than the just-completed 2022 season of Monday Night Football had it been played.
Some good news: Not only does ALDLAND’s MNF Index generate results, but it also gets results. Beginning in the 2023 NFL season, Monday Night Football will be subject to flex scheduling. This option should allow ESPN to buoy the quality of its flagging showcase and, if executed effectively on an ongoing basis, could cement the 2022 MNF season as the worst-ever MNF season ever.