With live sports still some time away in North America, sports networks continue to broadcast great games from their vast content libraries. That trend continues Monday when ESPN will rebroadcast the instant Monday Night Football classic between the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Diego Chargers from 2015. The game will re-air at 5 p.m. PT following "Peyton's Places."
That game, which featured a rookie Melvin Gordon and a still-dominant Antonio Gates, saw four lead changes in a back-and-forth battle. Though the schedule makers originally intended the matchup to feature 2004 NFL Draft alumni Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger, the latter missed the game due to an injury suffered two weeks earlier. In his place, a 35-year-old Michael Vick made one of the final starts of his career.
Vick performed admirably given his limitations -- he completed 13 of 26 passes for 203 yards, one touchdown, and an interception while also delivering a 24-yard scramble -- but third-year running back Le'Veon Bell became the star of the night. Bell finished the game with 127 yards from scrimmage and capped it off by scoring the go-ahead touchdown just as time expired.
Though few likely remember given the outcome, Gordon delivered one of his first big performances in the NFL. The rookie recorded 94 yards from scrimmage -- 52 coming as a receiver -- and helped keep the Chargers close late into the game.
The defeat previewed what would become a lost season for the Chargers, who finished 4-12 in head coach Mike McCoy's penultimate season at the helm.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH