As a kid growing up in Phoenix if it was a Monday night from September through December, you knew where to find
“The only thing I ever watched every Monday night was ‘Monday Night Football,’ ” said Miller, now in his first season as the Seahawks’ tight end. “When I was a kid that was a dream to play on Monday night.
“I was a Cardinal fan, of course, but also a Niner fan when they were good in the 80s. So you’d watch, because they’ve had a history of great games, and wonder what it would be like to be out there. It was something I always wanted to do.”
Miller’s perspective has changed, but not his enthusiasm from the tradition that is “Monday Night Football.” And on this Monday night, Miller and his teammates will host the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field.
“It’s the only game. Everyone is watching,” he said. “So it’s a lot of fun.”
The Seahawks have not appeared on the showcase telecast since 2007, when they blanked the San Francisco 49ers 24-0 on Nov. 12.
But over the years, “Monday Night Football” has been very, very good to the Seahawks, and vice versa. The Seahawks are 16-8, for a winning percentage of .667 that is tops in the history of the primetime telecast. Yes, better than the Pittsburgh Steelers (.639), Indianapolis Colts (.636) and even Miller’s favored 49ers (.615), as well as his previous team – the Oakland/Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders (.595).
Five of the Seahawks’ 16 shutout victories in franchise history came on “Monday Night Football.”
There also was the flimflammery featured in a 31-28 victory over the Falcons in Atlanta, in the Seahawks’ first MNF appearance on Oct. 29, 1979; that emotional Monday night at the Kingdome in 1992, when the Seahawks pulled out a 16-13 victory over the Denver Broncos in overtime on an evening when Pete Gross was inducted in the Ring of Honor – two days before he would die of cancer; that emotional Monday night in Green Bay in 1999, but for a completely difference reason, when Mike Holmgren returned to Lambeau Field as coach of the Seahawks and left with a 27-7 victory over his former team; and a rematch with the Packers on a snowy night in Seattle in 2006, when Shaun Alexander carried 40 times for 201 yards in a 34-24 victory.
Monday nights always have been special for the Seahawks, and this Monday night should be no different – even if the Seahawks are 5-7 and the Rams 2-10.
“There’s no doubt about it,” coach Pete Carroll said when asked if playing on “Monday Night Football” was a motivator for his team. “It’s not to be ignored really. It’s to be accepted. That’s what it is.
“It’s fun for these guys and they like it. Everybody enjoys the heck out of it and we’re fortunate to have the opportunity, and we want to play real well. So I think the message is clear. We pounded away at these guys that this is another great opportunity. We did the work during the week, so we should have a chance to play well and it’ll be fun for everybody.”
Fun moments have been few and very far between for the Rams, but coach Steve Spagnuolo feels the same way about getting the chance to play in “the only game in town,” as the players have repeatedly referred “Monday Night Football.”
“I think every player in the NFL feels (it’s special),” he said. “There is something about it. It’s been going on in this league for a long time. It’s great tradition. I know that people there in Seattle and everywhere in the country are no different than here in St. Louis – that when the schedules come out, everybody looks and say, ‘OK, we’re on Monday night here and here.’
“You get excited about it when the time comes, and the competitive juices flow and everybody gets out there and ties to compete on a big stage.”
For the Seahawks, that time to compete on the biggest stage comes on this Monday night – for the first time in 49 months of Monday nights.