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Report: ABC moving toward first NFL package since 2005

Mike Florio and Chris Simms react to the news that no cheerleaders, mascots, or reporters will be allowed on NFL sidelines during the 2020-21 season.

For months, it has been rumored that Monday Night Football could be headed back to its original home of ABC. Those rumors could be coming to fruition.

Michael McCarthy of reports that ABC “is in an increasingly strong position to score its first live NFL game package in 15 years.”

One possibility, as mentioned by McCarthy, would be for Monday Night Football to be simulcast on ESPN and ABC. That would, however, strip away much of the value of having ESPN in the first place. Another possibility, as the rumors have circulated, would be for ABC to resume broadcasting MNF, with ESPN snagging Thursday Night Football.

There also has been talk of ESPN+ being in play for the streaming rights to NFL Sunday Ticket.

McCarthy points out that the return of ABC to the collection of NFL broadcast partners would potentially put ABC in the Super Bowl rotation, with NBC, CBS, FOX, and ABC getting the game once every four years, each.

The MNF package expires after the 2021 season, one year earlier than the other packages. Some have wondered whether Peyton Manning is waiting to enter the broadcast booth until Monday Night Football returns to ABC, where it would generate much higher ratings -- and where the job presumably would justify a much higher salary.

In 2006, Monday Night Football became a lower-profile cable offering, and Sunday Night Football moved from ESPN to NBC, making it the marquee NFL prime-time game of the week. SNF has been the highest-rated network show in prime-time since 2011.