Five reasons to watch Dallas-Washington on MNF

Tonight’s Dallas Cowboys-Washington Redskins game (ESPN, 8:15 p.m. ET) is one of the best matchups of the 2015 Monday Night Football season. Here are “Front Row’s Five Things to Know” about the game.

1. This is the 17th Cowboys-Redskins meeting on MNF (series tied 8-8), tying Raiders-Broncos as the most-played rivalry game in the 46-year history of the long-running primetime NFL series.

(ESPN Monday Night Football)
(ESPN Monday Night Football)

2. Multiple ESPN analysts have been a part of the Cowboys-Redskins rivalry on MNF, including NFL Live’s Mark Brunell. In 2005, Brunell completed two long touchdown passes in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, leading Washington to a 14–13 win.

“One of my favorite moments on the gridiron was the MNF game against the Cowboys in 2005,” Brunell said. “After over three-and-a-half quarters of getting beat down, we found a way to make a couple big plays at the end. What made it so special was that it was the Redskins versus Cowboys, one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports.”

Mark Brunell during his career as the Redskins QB (Washington Redskins)
Mark Brunell during his career as the Redskins QB. (Washington Redskins)

3. For the second year in a row, ESPN MNF analyst Jon Gruden will call a game when his brother Jay, the Washington Redskins head coach, is on the sidelines. Jay was an offensive assistant on Jon’s staff when the older Gruden led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a title in Super Bowl XXXVII.

Jon & Jay Gruden from a 2014 MNF production meeting (Jim Carr/ESPN)
Jon (left) and Jay Gruden in a 2014 MNF production meeting. (Jim Carr/ESPN)

4. ESPN’s Jon Gruden has mentored multiple quarterbacks in tonight’s game as part of his annual Gruden’s QB Camp series, most notably Redskins starter Kirk Cousins. Other QB Camp alums include Washington backups Colt McCoy and Robert Griffin III, and Dallas backup Kellen Moore.

Jon Gruden (l) with Kirk Cousins of Michigan State University (Jay Rothman/ESPN)
In a Gruden’s QB Camp episode, ESPN analyst Jon Gruden (l) tutored Kirk Cousins of Michigan State University. (Jay Rothman/ESPN)

5. The Cowboys have played on ESPN’s MNF every year since 2006, and those games annually rank among MNF’s most-watched games of the year. In fact, the Redskins-Cowboys game last year – a 20-17 Washington victory in overtime – is ESPN’s fourth most-viewed MNF game ever (18.8 million viewers).

Colt McCoy from last year's Redskins-Cowboys MNF game. (Scott Clarke/ESPN)
QB Colt McCoy was Washington’s hero in the 2014 Redskins-Cowboys MNF game. (Scott Clarke/ESPN)

Bonus: One more reason to watch – ESPN’s MNF schedule has produced more than its share of close games and wild finishes this season in 2015 – the forced fumble in the end zone to end the Lions-Seahawks game; the Steelers’ one-yard touchdown run to beat the Chargers as time expired; and last week’s “kick-six” return of a blocked field goal for a touchdown in the Ravens-Browns game. MNF might be in-store for yet another must-see finish tonight for Cowboys-Redskins.

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