It’s been 214 days since Super Bowl LIII, but after a long offseason, football is finally back.
The Green Bay Packers will take on the Chicago Bears Thursday to kickoff the 2019 NFL season, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. It’s the 199th overall meeting between the two storied franchises — the most in NFL history — and will feature a fully recovered Aaron Rodgers, who played hurt all of last season after suffering a knee fracture in Week 1.
Beginning their 11th year together in NBC’s broadcast booth are Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, with Michele Tafoya returning to her role as the in-game reporter. Despite the interest in gambling thanks to the growing number of states that have made sports betting legal (including Pennsylvania and New Jersey), don’t expect many wagering references during NBC’s broadcast outside of Michaels’ own coded language.
“I’ve had a lot of fun through the years coming in through the back door and sliding in in unexpected ways. I think people enjoyed the fact that they thought I was being a bit of a rascal and all that, but it was all in good fun,” Michaels said during a recent conference call with reporters. “I don’t know how it’s going to wind up at the end of the season. I think at the beginning I’ll probably go about it the same way I’ve been doing it in the past.”
During the preseason, NBC rolled out a view from its “High Sky” camera 50 feet in the air as the primary angle for viewers. The angle allowed football junkies to see everything happening on the field, but reviews among casual fans and some sports writers were decidedly mixed.
Fred Gaudelli, Sunday Night Football’s executive prouder, told reporters that he’s comfortable rolling out the high camera angle during regular-season games for a series or two, but doesn’t expect to use it often as the primary angle for viewers.
“One of the things we lost was just some of the intimacy of a regular play that you would get from the conventional game cameras,” Gaudelli said. “I think we could still get that if we just shot a little bit tighter and lowered the camera from where we had it the other night.”
Here’s everything you need to know to watch or stream the Packers-Bears game:
When: Thursday, Sept. 5
Where: Soldier Field, Chicago
Time: 8:20 p.m. EDT kickoff
TV: NBC (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya, Terry McAulay)
Radio: 94.1 WIP via Westwood One (Kevin Harlan, Kurt Warner)
Streaming: NBC Sports app, NBC app (requires cable authentication), FuboTV, NFL GamePass, YouTube (all require a subscription)
Mobile: NFL Mobile app, Yahoo Sports app, Yahoo Fantasy Football mobile app (free on smartphones and tablets within the Philadelphia market)
Referee: Tony Corrente
Coverage on NBC begins with Football Night in America at 7:30 p.m., hosted by Mike Tirico and featuring co-host Liam McHugh, NFL Insider Mike Florio, and analysts Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, and Chris Simms. The NFL Network will simulcast NBC’s pre-game coverage, which will also include highlights from the NFL Kickoff 2019 event at Grant Park in Chicago, featuring Meek Mill, Meghan Trainor, and Rapsody.
Yes, it’s Thursday, but tonight’s game is technically part of NBC’s Sunday Night Football package. Here’s NBC’s full slate of games this season, with the Eagles scheduled to play in three of the network’s primetime games.
Just a reminder that schedules could change thanks to the NFL’s flex rules, allowing better games to be moved into prime time. As is the case every year, there is no game scheduled for Week 17 because the league will wait to make sure it has an impact on the playoffs.
Sept. 8: Steelers at Patriots
Sept. 15: Eagles at Falcons
Sept. 22: Rams at Browns
Sept. 29: Cowboys at Saints
Oct. 6: Colts at Chiefs
Oct. 13: Steelers at Chargers
Oct. 20: Eagles at Cowboys
Oct. 27: Packers at Chiefs
Nov. 3: Patriots at Ravens
Nov. 10: Vikings at Cowboys
Nov. 17: Bears at Rams
Nov. 24: Seahawks at Eagles
Nov. 28: Saints at Falcons
Dec. 1: Patriots at Texans
Dec. 8: Seahawks at Rams
Dec. 15: Vikings at Chargers
Dec. 22: Chiefs at Bears