EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Dec. 26 (UPI) -- A U.S. sports institution is ending with the final airing of ABC TV's "Monday Night Football."
The 36-year-old broadcast has been in or near TV's Top 10 for nearly all of its run, The New York Daily News noted.
The first game was broadcast Sept. 21, 1970 with former Dallas Cowboy quarterback Don Meredith, sportscaster Howard Cosell and ABC's Keith Jackson in the broadcast booth. The following year, Jackson was replaced by Frank Gifford.
Meredith, Gifford and Cosell became ABC's "must see TV" regardless of what teams were playing, the Daily News said. The popular trio received a variety of drop-in guests during their broadcasts -- even John Lennon popped in one week.
Cosell interrupted the Dec. 8, 1980, broadcast to announce Lennon's death to the nation.
Monday night's final game between the playoff-bound New England Patriots and hapless New York Jets was merely a sidebar to the final broadcast.
ESPN takes over the Monday night broadcasts starting next year.