Tag Archives: Don Meredith

Monday Night Football at the Saratoga

Pro football seems to me to be a fading proposition.

– We’re scrambling the players’ brains. Their brains! That can’t go on.
– Every third play is either a penalty or a game-stopping injury…or both.
– Replay review is running amok. Can you run amok in super-slo-mo?
– I will never again understand what constitutes a completed pass. “Surviving the ground” sounds like an ecological problem to me.

I have not watched a complete Sunday game in two years. And Thursday Night Football? Please. Isn’t that a fantasy like unicorns and the Easter Bunny……and massive voter fraud in Alabama?

But I have to confess to a persistent fondness for Monday Night Football. I attribute it to happy Monday nights of yore.

My Monday Night Football memories go all the way back to Howard Cosell, Frank Gifford, Dandy Don…and Strat-O-Matic Football.

Before Dungeons & Dragons, and Atari, and Playstation, before Pac-Man and Frogger, and Pokemon, there was Strat-O-Matic football and baseball.

One season in my 20’s, most Monday nights would find me in my friend Davey Koenig’s apartment at his kitchen table recreating the reality of professional football with dice and cards and wits and luck all in the glow of the Monday Night Football broadcast on his TV (I didn’t have my first TV for another five years or so). I lost the tabletop games with disturbing regularity, but I won big with the company.

A few years later, Monday evenings meant a wedge of lettuce (with 4.2 gallons of blue cheese dressing) and a T-bone steak at the Saratoga in Chevy Chase, usually followed by a small financial speculation at the restaurant’s bar and watching the Monday Night Football kickoff and most of the first quarter on the single 10-inch screen over the bar. The screen wasn’t HD – it was ND – No Density. Then, home by ten o’clock since the “Toga” closed at 9:30.

Ah…Lexington night life…it ain’t no good life…but it was my life.