Are you ready for some football? Video game publisher Namco is, and not just because watching Colin Kaepernick run and pass all over the Green Bay Packers left them wanting more. Tonight’s Monday Night Football opener on ESPN between the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins is filled with intrigue, but one question rises above them all: why on Earth is Pac-Man going to be featured? And no, we’re not talking about Pac-Man Jones.
The original Pac-Man — the yellow circular dude who eats dots and runs from ghosts — is going to play a role in the first game of the Monday Night Football season. In fact, it’s not just tonight: Namco has signed a deal with ESPN and the NFL that will have the iconic yellow arcade hero represent ’80s pop culture throughout the 2013 NFL season.
Every Monday night, Pac-Man will be included in an opening montage that carries fans through 40+ years of Monday Night Football’s greatest moments and pop culture events. Tonight’s game between the Eagles and Redskins will give NFL fans a taste of what’s to come throughout the year. So, if you don’t like what you see, you’d better just get accustomed to not watching the storied intro.
Namco inked the promotion with the NFL to draw attention to several Pac-Man games shipping this fall. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures will ship for Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U and 3DS; Pac-Man Museum will hit both Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network; and so will Pac-Man CEDX+.
“We are thrilled for PAC-MAN to be represented in the latest season of one of America’s most iconic sports brands,” said Chris Gilbert Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing for NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. “Families have grown up with both PAC-MAN and Monday Night Football for over 30 years and can now share their passion of video games and football together each Monday night throughout the football season.”
Monday Night Football premieres tonight (Sept. 9) with a doubleheader featuring the Eagles vs. the Redskins at 6:55 PM EST/3:55 PM PST, followed by the Houston Texans vs. the San Diego Chargers at 10:15 PM EST/7:15 PM PST. Both games will be broadcast on ESPN. The latter, in fact, marks the first time the Texans and Chargers have faced off since 2010.
The first game in tonight’s double-header holds a ton of intrigue. How will Michael Vick’s stats compare to RG3′s? How will RG3 perform in his first game back from surgery? What will new Eagles coach Chip Kelly’s offense actually look like? Can Kelly successfully translate his fast-paced offensive scheme, which led the University of Oregon to four straight BCS bowl games, into the NFL?
And then there’s this whole Pac-Man thing. In all honesty, it is intriguing to see the Monday Night Football opener feature a video game character, and an insanely old one at that. But has the NFL completely sold its soul by having such a “cute” character be included in its revered intro? Would you react any differently if it had been Mario, Samus, Master Chief or a Tetris block acting as a goal post? Let us know in the comments below.