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NBC Sports kicks off 100th NFL season with Packers-Bears rivalry followed by Steelers-Patriots, highlighting 2019 'Sunday Night Football' schedule

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Thu, Apr 18th 2019 09:10 am

Bears, Chiefs, Cowboys, Eagles, Patriots & Rams make ‘SNF’-high 3 appearances apiece

‘SNF’ returns to Cleveland for first time since 2008, as Baker, Beckham Jr. & Landry host Aaron Donald and NFC champion Rams

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” America’s No. 1 primetime television show for an unprecedented eight consecutive years, gets “Back to Football,” broadcasting 19 NFL games during the 2019 regular season.

NBC, the first network to broadcast an NFL game (Philadelphia Eagles at Brooklyn Dodgers, Oct. 22, 1939 from Ebbets Field), will televise the first game of the NFL’s milestone 100th season on Thursday, Sept. 5, from Soldier Field in Chicago, as Khalil Mack and the defending NFC North-champion Bears host Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in “NFL Kickoff 2019” at 8:20 p.m. ET. Packers-Bears is the most-played rivalry in NFL history, with the kickoff game the 199th meeting between the clubs (first game was Nov. 27, 1921).

Then, in the season opener of “Sunday Night Football” on Sept. 8, New England will raise its sixth Super Bowl banner at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, before Tom Brady and the Patriots host Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Roethlisberger-Brady meeting in Week 1 is the first of an “SNF” schedule packed with star-studded quarterback matchups, headlined by 2018 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes facing two-time MVP Aaron Rodgers for the first time, as the Kansas City Chiefs host the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 27.

In addition to kicking off the 2019 NFL season, NBC will also broadcast a Divisional Playoff game on the weekend of Jan. 11-12, 2020, and a Wild Card Playoff game on the Jan. 4-5 weekend.

Highlights of the 2019 “Sunday Night Football” schedule:

•All 18 scheduled “SNF” games feature at least one 2018 playoff team (week 17 game TBD) – up from 14 such matchups last year. In addition, nine contests feature both clubs from the 2018 postseason, highlighted by a rematch of last year’s AFC Divisional Playoff, as Andrew Luck and the Colts again visit Mahomes and the Chiefs (Oct. 6).

•All 2018 NFL playoff teams are on the “SNF” schedule, including three games each for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, NFC champion Los Angeles Rams, AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs, NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys, NFC North champion Chicago Bears, and NFC Wild Card Philadelphia Eagles.

•Matchup milestones: Eagles-Cowboys on Oct. 20 is the 13th meeting between the clubs on “SNF” – ranking as the most-played matchup in NBC “SNF” history (since 2006). In addition, it marks the 11th consecutive season for the matchup on “SNF” – the longest streak for any matchup on the broadcast primetime package in NFL history (ABC 1970-2005; NBC 2006-present).

•Other notable games: Roethlisberger and the Steelers battle 2004 Draft classmate Philip Rivers and the Chargers in Los Angeles on Oct. 13; Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints visit Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons on Thanksgiving night, after the clubs met in New Orleans last year on the holiday; and NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald and the Rams host the Bears on Nov. 17 as they look to avenge last year’s week 14 “SNF” loss in Chicago.

•The “SNF” slate features multiple appearances by star QBs Russell Wilson of the Seahawks, Jared Goff of the Rams, Dak Prescott of the Cowboys, and Carson Wentz of the Eagles. 

•First “SNF” game in Cleveland in 11 years: On Sept. 22, NBC will broadcast its first Browns game in Cleveland since 2008, as Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry face the Los Angeles Rams. The game also marks the Browns’ 2019 primetime debut at home.

•Celebrating the NFL’s 100th Season – In addition to the Packers-Bears “NFL Kickoff” matchup on NBC, and the only two teams to win six Super Bowls (Steelers and Patriots) featured in the “SNF” opener, the Oct. 27 Rodgers-Mahomes QB showdown highlights Packers vs. Chiefs – the two teams who faced off in Super Bowl I on Jan. 15, 1967.

•NBC to broadcast 23 NFL games in 2019: As part of the agreement NBC signed with the NFL in December 2011, the network will broadcast 19 regular-season games, including 17 regular-season “SNF” games, “NFL Kickoff 2019,” and the annual Thanksgiving night game. NBC’s original “SNF” agreement, which began in 2006, included 17 regular-season games. It was increased to 18 games in 2010. NBC will broadcast a Divisional Playoff game and a Wild Card Playoff game. In the preseason, NBC will televise the NFL Hall of Fame Game (Falcons-Broncos) in primetime on Thursday, Aug. 1, and Steelers-Titans on Sunday night, Aug. 25.

• NBCSports.com & NBC Sports app to live stream all NBC NFL Games: NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app will stream all NBC games to desktops, mobile, tablets and connected TVs via “TV Everywhere,” giving consumers additional value to their subscription service, and making high-quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms. The full HD-quality video stream will come directly from NBC’s broadcasts. NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app are powered by Playmaker Media and available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Samsung Smart TVs, Xbox and Chromecast.

•“SNF” on pace to be television’s No. 1 primetime show for record 8th consecutive year: NBC concluded its 13th season of “SNF” in 2018 with its most-dominant performance ever in average viewership and household rating vs. its competition, while once again pacing to finish as primetime’s No. 1 TV show in all key metrics for an unprecedented eighth consecutive year – adding to its record for the most consecutive years atop the charts (since 1950), based on official live plus same day data provided by Nielsen.

The fall-spring TV season officially ends on May 22.

•Flexible scheduling: Flexible scheduling will be used in weeks 11-17. Additionally, in weeks 5-10, flexible scheduling may be used in no more than two weeks. In weeks 5-16, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for “SNF” on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would be moved to an afternoon start time.

Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday or Monday nights.

A flexible scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before the game. For week 17, the Sunday night game will be announced no later than six days prior to Dec. 29. The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in week 17, but an afternoon game with playoff implications will be moved to that time slot.

Flexible scheduling ensures quality matchups in all Sunday time slots in those weeks, and gives “surprise” teams a chance to play their way into prime time.

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