The Patriots don’t get to play the first game of the season, as has become tradition. But they won’t have to wait long for their first prime time appearance.
According to multiple reports, the Patriots will host the Steelers in the NBC’s Sunday Night Football opener on Sept. 8. The full schedule will be announced tonight at 8 p.m.
The league is opening its 100th season with its oldest rivalry — Packers-Bears — in the Thursday debut, so putting the defending champions in the spotlight game of the week makes sense.
It should also provide a compelling look at two of the long-standing powers who have undergone dramatic makeovers this offseason.
Between the Steelers parting ways with both Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell, and the Patriots losing Rob Gronkowski to retirement, both teams have significant work to do to keep their offenses performing at traditional levels.
But they’re also two of the most consistently successful teams in the league, who have stayed that way through many such changes, making it an interesting way to kick off the season for NBC.