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#TBT: MNF marks 10 years since NFL’s return to Superdome

ESPN will televise the Atlanta Falcons versus New Orleans Saints game on Monday Night Football next week (Sept. 26, 8:15 p.m. ET). The game will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of when the same two teams played on Sept. 25, 2006.

In one of the most memorable games in MNF history – and one of the first on ESPN – the Saints hosted the Falcons as the Louisiana Superdome officially reopened after Hurricane Katrina.

But this was much more than a game. The entire day was a celebration of New Orleans and its people – and, most importantly, an indication that the city was back open for business.

On the field, the game produced the most famous play in Saints history – Steve Gleason’s punt block and return for a touchdown. The 23-3 Saints’ victory that night also launched the franchise onto the national scene with new quarterback Drew Brees and first-year head coach Sean Payton.

The gallery above highlights ESPN’s coverage from New Orleans that day in 2006. In addition to the game telecast and NFL studio shows on-site, ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike was live from the dome that morning, and Bob Ley hosted Outside the Lines and segments of Monday Night Countdown, where he was joined by special guests, including former President George H.W. Bush and ABC’s Robin Roberts.

Also, the video below is the special open that kicked off ESPN’s MNF telecast that night. It features Rev. Charles Southall III preaching a sermon at First Emmanuel Baptist Church in New Orleans with the congregation singing “When the Saints Go Marching In.” This was played just before the Saints took the field at the dome.

Editor’s Note: ESPN’s broadcast team discussed being part of this memorable night with NOLA.com in 2011.

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