Personal Assistant
YES, MNF CAN GET WORSE -Phil Mushnick-NY Post
AND DOES OH, DID YOU WANT TO SEE THIS? Bill Cowher and Mean Joe Greene get together during the Steelers' 75th-anniversary ceremony last Monday night, which ESPN promoted heavily, then largely ignored.

November 11, 2007 -- FOR ALL our griping over what ESPN has become as op posed to what it could've been, you still have to admire its work. For example, just when you're convinced that it's impossible for "Monday Night Football" to get any worse, it does!

This past Monday's telecast opened to Tony Kornheiser's reading of a syrupy ode to the Pittsburgh Steelers as "the most celebrated of Super Bowl dynasties," an essay that should have instead been poured on a stack of pancakes. But the theme was established:

The Steelers, on this night, were saluting the players on those championship teams - ceremony at halftime - as part of the club's 75th anniversary. And we were told about this throughout the first and second quarters. Big night in Pittsburgh, yes, siree. OK. Cool. We're in.

But when halftime arrived, ESPN threw it back to Chris Berman in the studio for his standard self-promotional bit - clowning it up over Sunday highlights that many already had seen four or five times.

Then it was thrown back to the stadium, where Stuart Scott, with that Steelers' ceremony partially seen and heard behind him, introduced the weekly cross-promotion of Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon doing their "Pardon the Interruption" bit, which, at this moment, was particularly unpardonable. That, too, played to the Steelers' ceremony in the background.

Finally, when the weekly halftime ESPN promotion festival ended, ESPN gave the ceremony - the one it had pointed to throughout the entire first half - an entire minute. How silly of us to have expected more or better.

Then, when the game restarted, ESPN brought Terry Bradshaw into the booth, and the theme again turned to all those great teams that had been reunited on the field at halftime!

And, distracted by design, ESPN had lost its grip on that night's Ravens-Steelers game in the first quarter. As Ben Roethlisberger's pass made it 6-0, linebacker Terrell Suggs was flagged for a late hit. But when the Steelers kicked off from their own 45 - the 15-yarder against Baltimore assessed on the kick - and the kick sailed through the end zone, Mike Tirico said that was caused by the wind.

Yeah, the wind. Pardon the indigestion.

The sell during tomorrow's Niners-Seahawks MNF telecast will be NASCAR. There's a big race next Sunday on ESPN on ABC. And these days I don't even have to add that I'm not kidding. You know I'm not.