Kickoff Game 2019 Features Packers-Bears Rather Than Defending Super Bowl Champion
Let the party begin.
The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears kick off the 2019 season on Thursday, Sept. 5. It marks the start of a NFL opening weekend, which has become an American party.
When the NFL started Thursday night games in 2006, it opened the door to starting the kickoff game that night of the week and now all of America is tuned into this new tradition. This leads into the weekend, which has games on Sunday afternoon, Sunday Night Football and now two games for Monday Night Football.
Traditionally, the defending Super Bowl champions host the opening game, but the Bears were allowed to do so in 2019 because it is their 100th year as an NFL franchise. The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots are playing the Sunday night game, hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Monday Night Football games are Houston at New Orleans (7:10 p.m., ET), and Denver at Oakland (10:20 p.m.).
For America, this is a party. College football has Labor Day Weekend to add to its opening weekend party scene but the NFL must rely on its own. Still, fans turn out to the ballgames, set up tailgates, host house barbeques or – and here’s where the real partying kicks in – goes to sports bars.
One Bears fan now living in Brazil spent weeks looking for a bar there that would show Green Bay-Chicago and finally found one. “I can’t wait,” he told PubClub.com. “Can’t wait for the Bears game.”
This is from a fan of a team that many “experts” predict won’t make the playoffs. But it goes to show you how opening weekend has captivated America and its NFL fans.
So yes, the creation of a kickoff game and Thursday Night Football has indeed made NFL Opening Weekend an American party.