Today the NFL announced some early parts of the 2006 schedule. They only revealed the partial week 1 schedule and the Thanksgiving Day games but we are one step closer to the return of football nonetheless. Here is what we know so far, times are listed in eastern:
Thursday, September 7:
MIA @ PIT 8:30pm NBC (season opener)
Sunday, September 10:
DAL @ JAX 4:15pm FOX
IND @ NYG 8:15pm NBC
Monday, September 11:
MIN @ WAS 7pm ESPN (doubleheader)
SD @ OAK 10:15pm ESPN
Thursday, November 23: (Thanksgiving)
MIA @ DET 12:30pm CBS
TB @ DAL 4:15pm FOX
DEN @ KC 8pm NFL Network
While I'm thrilled that the Broncos get to play on Thanksgiving for the second straight year, I am completely shocked that the Broncos do not open the season at Pittsburgh. Traditionally it is a playoff opponent that opens at the defending Super Bowl champion. Carson Palmer is hurt for Cincinnati and Pittsburgh does not host Indianapolis in 2006 so the only logical choice would have been to host Denver. I get that Miami is going to be much improved in 2006 but to give the marquee macthup to a team that failed to make the playoffs in 2005 is a slap in the face.
Another poor move is to feature Oakland on opening week AGAIN. Oakland was an embarrassing team in 2005 and got beat by New England in the opener last year. I understand that an AFC West divisional matchup is the point here but with San Diego going with Philip Rivers at QB and Oakland barely making any improvements this could turn out to be a lackluster game. San Diego at Kansas City would have been a much more attractive matchup. Al Davis must have an awful lot of pull on the NFL.
I like the rest of the matchups that were announced. I like it when teams such as Jacksonville are highlighted. And like I said, Denver was given a prime matchup as well so I can't be too bitter about the week 1 shaft. I love the idea that the NFL is going to broadcast a game on either Thursday or Saturday in each of the last 8 weeks of the season on the NFL Network. Now just watch as the entire country goes into fits trying to figure out if they get that channel or not. For the record, I do and I'm extremely happy about it. This just means that more games will be televised and more opportunities to watch football!
The rest of the schedule will be announced in early April. You can bet that I'll be right on top of that announcement and I will share the best macthups and my thoughts with you again. Now if someone will tell me what the big game of the week is supposed to be now that ABC is no longer broadcasting Monday Night Football. I still don't understand if it supposed to be Monday Night on ESPN or Sunday Night on NBC. I guess when the rest of the schedule comes out things will become more clear.