Winning a Super Bowl comes with quite a few benefits. A parade. A shiny ring. Fans memorizing your name. Visiting the White House, sometimes. That extra little piece of serenity in retirement.
However, the lone on-field perk the NFL gives its Super Bowl champion is the privilege of hosting the following year’s league-wide season opener. In addition to all the fun of celebrating a championship, the game also usually takes place on a Thursday, giving its participant an extra three days of preparation for Week 2 while the rest of the league plays Sunday.
Unfortunately for the New England Patriots, the NFL might have different plans for next season.
NFL reportedly favoring Packers-Bears over Patriots for season opener
The NFL is “leaning toward” a Packers-Bears game instead of the Patriots for the 2019 season’s opening kickoff game on Thursday, Sept. 5, according to the Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand. This would be the first time since 2003 that the defending Super Bowl champion didn’t play in the opener.
The reason why: The NFL is celebrating its 100th season, and there would be no more apt opener for that milestone than the league’s oldest rivalry.
If the NFL were to go ahead with Packers-Bears, the Patriots would reportedly host the Sunday Night Football game that week. Per Ourand, the Pats’ possible opponents would be the Browns, Chiefs, Giants or Steelers, with the Giants as the favorite.
There has been only one exception in the league’s tradition of having the Super Bowl champion host the season opener since the practice began in 2004. The 2013 Baltimore Ravens were forced to open their season on the road against the Denver Broncos due to a parking lot conflict with MLB’s Baltimore Orioles.
Even though there’s reportedly a legitimate reason behind the decision, you can imagine this will only fuel a fanbase that looks for every possible slight as evidence of a league-wide conspiracy against their team as it enters the 2019 season looking for their seventh Super Bowl ring in two decades.
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