Usually when an NFL team erects a monument for themselves we like to call stadiums, they get showered with attention from the NFL and the media. New stadiums instantly shoot to the top of the list when it comes to hosting Super Bowls and as this year’s big game proves, it doesn’t really matter where you build the stadium as even if it’s in New Jersey, you’re getting a Super Bowl if it’s new.
But one thing a new stadium apparently doesn’t guarantee is a spot on ESPN’s Monday Night Football, at least that seems to be the case wight he San Francisco 49ers. According to ProFootballTalk and the San Jose Mercury News, the 49ers won’t be christening their new stadium on Monday Night Football and will stick to playing all home games in Levi’s Stadium on Sunday afternoons.
The root cause isn’t some anti-NFL angle from the Niners nor an anti-new stadium angle from the NFL, because the day that happens is the day the NFL dies. Rather the reason the 49ers won’t be playing on Monday Night Football in 2014 is because of traffic.
With the Santa Clara stadium being on the west coast, Monday Night Football games kick off at night for most of the country but kicks off at about 5:40pm local time which, as Mike Rosenberg pointed out in his column, is right in the middle of rush hour. This is something that local officials don’t want to mess around with and it’s sounding like the decision came from them. The decision to play only Sunday home games means also that the 49ers will be playing their league-mandated Thursday Night Football game on the road, against whoever that may be.
There’s hope that the Niners can secure a Sunday Night Football game at home but it doesn’t look good. So when the Seahawks come to town next year to break in Levi’s Stadium, unless Fox switches it’s doubleheader schedule around, it’s going to be a regional game the rest of the country doesn’t get to see.