The NFL, as part of its celebration of its 100th season, is breaking from its recent tradition of having the defending Super Bowl champion host the opening night game.
The league announced Monday that the Chicago Bears will host the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 5 in the opening game of the 2019 season. The Thursday night game is scheduled for 8:20 p.m. Eastern time and is to be televised by NBC.
It will be the 199th meeting between the Packers and Bears, including the postseason.
The NFL is opting to feature one of its most storied rivalries on opening night rather than sticking with the approach it had taken since 2004. That's when the league began to have the Super Bowl champ host the Thursday night opener. Since then, the NFL had deviated from that only once, when the Baltimore Ravens played in Denver instead of at home in 2013 because of a scheduling conflict with baseball's Baltimore Orioles.
The league said that the New England Patriots, coming off a Super Bowl triumph in February over the Los Angeles Rams, will host the season's first Sunday night game on Sept. 8. The NFL did not identify the Patriots' opponent for that game, which is to be carried by NBC and kicks off at 8:20 p.m.