Why are there two Monday Night Football games tonight?

NFC South and AFC North foes will clash in a doubleheader on Monday

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Week 2 wraps up Monday with not one but two NFL games.

From 2006 to 2021, NFL fans became accustomed to a Monday night doubleheader on ESPN to conclude Week 1.

But after 2021, the doubleheader was pushed back to Week 2, which will again be the case in 2023 when four teams battle nearly an hour apart from one another.

Let's look into why that is ahead of the NFC South and AFC North affairs:

What football games are on tonight?

The first game is an NFC South clash between the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers at the Bank of America Stadium at 7:15 p.m. ET/4:15 p.m. PT.

The second is an AFC North battle between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium at 8:15 p.m. ET/5:15 p.m. PT.

What channel do I need for Monday Night Football?

ESPN will broadcast the Saints-Panthers matchup while ABC will carry Browns-Steelers.

Why are there two Monday Night Football games tonight?

The two-game slate dates back to 2021 when the NFL negotiated a new TV deal with certain broadcast stations. The new deal included the addition of three Monday Night Football doubleheaders over the course of a season.

The first two weeks will see the games start at staggered times, with the final week seeing both games start simultaneously.

“We’re going to learn more about what optimizes best, and I think by next year we’ll continue to hone on driving the biggest viewership between the two games,” ESPN president of content Burke Magnus said, per The Athletic. “We will learn if it is better to start with the ABC game, the ESPN game, or the other way around."

Additionally, ABC, which is also owned by Disney like ESPN, is set to air more Monday Night Football games this year due to the ongoing writers' strikes in Hollywood, per The Associated Press. Ten games that were only going to be broadcast on ESPN will also be simulcast on ABC.

What weeks will have Monday Night Football doubleheaders in 2023?

Week 2 has the Panthers-Saints and Browns-Steelers starting at staggered times.

The next doubleheader isn't far away, as Week 3 will feature the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 7:15 p.m. ET/4:15 p.m. PT followed by the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals at 8:15 p.m. ET/5:15 p.m. PT.

The final doubleheader will return in Week 14. Both the Green Bay Packers-New York Giants and Tennessee Titans-Miami Dolphins games will start at 8:15 p.m. ET/5:15 p.m. PT.

"The thought there is, can we combine total audience and do a little bit like we used to do in the old days of college football where we create a simultaneous national and regional appeal and use our networks to do that in a single window?" Magnus said on starting the doubleheader simultaneously. "Then it combines to sort of like a super audience total number.”

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