Reports: Packers and Bears to open 2019 NFL season instead of Super Bowl Champion Patriots
(CBS Sports) -- The NFL's tradition of having the defending Super Bowl champion host a Thursday night home game to open the following season could be taking a one-year hiatus in 2019.
According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune and long-time NFL reporter Ed Werder, the Patriots are likely going to be getting the boot from the 2019 opener in favor of two completely different teams. This isn't any conspiracy against the Patriots; the NFL is just thinking about doing something different because the league will be kicking off its 100th season in 2019.
To celebrate the occasion, the NFL is apparently thinking about having two of its oldest teams -- the Bears and the Packers -- open the 2019 season with a Thursday night game in either Green Bay or Chicago. The Packers just celebrated their 100th season in 2018 and the Bears will be celebrating their 100th year in 2019, so the pairing would definitely make sense.
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The NFL kicked off its 100-year festivities on Sunday with a commercial that aired during the Super Bowl.
If the Patriots get taken out of the Thursday night opener, there's a good chance they'll be moved to Sunday night in Week 1. If that happens, there are plenty of intriguing matchups that the NFL could choose from for the first Sunday night game of the year. The Patriots host the Jets, Bills, Dolphins, Cowboys, Giants, Steelers, Browns and Chiefs in 2018, and about half of those would be interesting.
With the Chiefs on the Patriots' home schedule, the NFL could choose to have a rematch of the AFC title game for New England's home opener. Of course, a game against the Steelers, Browns or Cowboys would also be fascinating.
One thing that could also happen is that the Patriots don't get to play a home game at all. According to ESPN.com, there's an outside chance that the Patriots might have to hit the road for their first game of the 2019 season. The last defending Super Bowl champion to open on the road was the Baltimore Ravens. Back in 2013, the Ravens opened their season in Denver because of a parking conflict with the Baltimore Orioles, who were scheduled to play on the same night.