ESPN’s ‘Monday Night Football’ to Break With Tradition, Air National Anthem Tonight

But will Jerry Jones’ Dallas Cowboys all stand and salute?

“Monday Night Football” isn’t missing out on the chance to telecast a national news story. Oh, and this will also be good for TV ratings. Cool how that works out.

The weekly ESPN primetime presentation of NFL football will televise tonight’s national anthem before the Dallas Cowboys-Arizona Cardinals game, TheWrap is told by an ESPN insider. That’s not something “MNF” does each week.

Additionally, “Monday Night Football” will also air the NFL’s “Inside These Lines” ad during the telecast, which debuted last night during NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.” Readers can watch that video above.

Finally, reaction of the NFL, teams and players will be a conversation topic on ESPN’s “Monday Night Countdown” pregame show (6 p.m. ET), of course, and it’s also a certainty the in-game team led by Sean McDonough and Jon Gruden will comment on the goings-on — especially around the anthem performance itself.

Tonight, sideline-watching might be the real spectator sport — especially near the Visitors’ bench, since Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is very much a stand-and-salute guy. And, ya know, that whole “America’s Team” thing (a.k.a. The Dallas Cowboys).

Neither Dallas nor Arizona has issued a statement (yet) whether players from each team will stand, sit out or take a knee tonight before the coin toss. Sadly, such a media release has become an actual thing these days.

Oh, and there is one more part of this to report, actually. We asked a person with knowledge of the ESPN executive-level conversation if anyone at the cable network is nervous about losing viewers because of the divisive protest. The answer there was a decided “No.” This is still football, folks.

Last night’s primetime football game was down double digits in overnight ratings, but that’s definitely more a reflection of an uncompetitive contest than politically turned-off TV viewers.

In case you’ve been buried in a locker room longer than protocol calls for, hundreds of National Football League players kneeled, ditched or otherwise protested the “Star-Spangled Banner” on Sunday. The few-minute boycott actually originated last August as San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s lone, silent statement about police brutality and racism in America. Some joined in last season, though the movement caught fire this weekend after President Trump bad-mouthed its participants on Twitter.