Being a football fan can be such a pain.

Either you're straining your eyes at home, watching the game on that puny 19-inch monitor, or you're wading through the smell of grease and clouds of cigarette smoke in a sports bar. And, on any given Sunday, you'll be combating the inevitable whiplash caused from keeping an eye on two dozen television screen.

The brothers McMenamin have solved your viewing problems. At their Mission Theater, it's one game, one night a week, and one big-ass screen.

Football fans: Monday Night is back.

If this 90-year-old former longshoremen's hangout seems an unlikely place to find the rowdy after-work football crowd, that's because these ancient locales normally become fire stations or bingo halls. Or haunted, all-ages music venues or movie theaters (as the Mission Theater is six other days a week).

Tonight's game pits the Denver Broncos against the Oakland Raiders. The theater is packed before the game even begins. It's become a mini-stadium where the line for beer is long, and these beer drinkers--many of them in oversized jerseys in honor of their favorite players--are impatient and fidgety, wanting to get back to their seats.

It's clear from their clothing, not to mention their incessant heckling and yelling profanities at Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon, that the majority here are Denver fans. Near chaos breaks out when, halfway through the second quarter, Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith gets ejected. His sucker punch--intended, of course, for his Raiders opponent--instead lands in the face of a game official.

Booing erupts from inside this place--how dare that horrible official eject this innocent player. It was a mistake!

Yeah, right. These fans are just as barbarous as the men on the playing field. No matter, the Broncos are killing the Raiders, and by the end of the third quarter, this game is over. The score: Broncos 31, Raiders 7. Despite this slaughter, these people are staying, and drinking, until the bitter end.

Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan St., 225-5555 ext. 8832. 6 pm kickoff. 21+