Analysis: Only the NFL can dominate sports headlines with a 2-day schedule release
Only the NFL can turn a schedule release into a two-day event that dominates sports headlines in the middle of the NBA and NHL playoffs.
Social media crews for the league’s 32 teams outdid themselves with clever, hilarious ways to reveal the full slate of dates and opponents after the NFL released many of the spotlight games through their network partners Wednesday and early Thursday.
It’s probably only a matter of time before the league releases the schedule over a week-long stretch. Captivated football fans eat it up. It works.
Here are the top 10 highlights from the NFL’s 18-week, 272-game regular-season schedule:
LIONS at CHIEFS, Sept. 7
The NFL’s 104th season kicks off with its annual Thursday prime-time game featuring the Super Bowl champion Chiefs against the rising Detroit Lions at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Two-time NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff lead high-powered offenses. The Lions went 8-2 in the final 10 games in 2022, knocked Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers out of the playoffs in the season finale and are favorites to win the NFC North.
BILLS at JETS, Sept. 11
Rodgers dons his new, green-and-white No. 8 Jets jersey for the first time in a Monday night matchup against Josh Allen and the AFC East champion Buffalo Bills. It’ll be the first of six nationally televised games for the Jets, who became a media darling after acquiring Rodgers last month. The future Hall of Famer aims to become the third quarterback in four years to win a Super Bowl in his first season with a new team after Tom Brady did it in 2020 and Matthew Stafford in 2021. But New York has to go through Buffalo first.
CHIEFS at JETS, Oct. 1
The first ever Mahomes-Rodgers matchup will be New York’s first Sunday night game since 2011.
COWBOYS at 49ERS, Oct. 8
It’s a double revenge game for Dallas, which was eliminated by San Francisco in the playoffs each of the last two seasons. Dak Prescott and the Cowboys are set to play six prime-time games, including this Sunday night contest. The 49ers could have Brock Purdy back for this one after the quarterback had offseason elbow surgery.
TEXANS at PANTHERS, Oct. 29
Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud, the first two picks in the draft, could go head-to-head for the first time when Carolina hosts Houston. The Panthers chose Young, the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner over Stroud with the No. 1 overall pick. The Texans quickly snatched up Stroud and traded for the No. 3 pick to get edge rusher Will Anderson. Both teams play in wide-open divisions, so their rookie QBs could make an immediate impact.
DOLPHINS vs. CHIEFS in Frankfurt, Germany, Nov. 5
All-Pro receiver Tyreek Hill faces his former team when Miami meets Kansas City in the NFL’s second regular-season game in Germany.
EAGLES at CHIEFS, Nov. 20
A Super Bowl rematch on “Monday Night Football.” Mahomes rallied the Chiefs to a 38-35 victory over Jalen Hurts and Philadelphia. There are plenty of other storylines, including (Travis) Kelce vs. (Jason) Kelce and Andy Reid coaching against his former team again.
DOLPHINS at JETS, Nov. 25
The NFL follows up a Thanksgiving tripleheader with Rodgers and the Jets hosting Tua Tagovailoa and Miami in the league’s first game on Black Friday — because football is better than shopping.
49ERS at EAGLES, Dec. 3
The NFC championship game rematch is back on Philly’s turf. The Eagles knocked Purdy out of the conference title game on their way to a dominant 31-7 win. Several 49ers have said the outcome would’ve been different if Purdy didn’t get hurt. They’ll get a chance to prove it.
BENGALS at CHIEFS, Dec. 31
Joe Burrow leads Cincinnati back to Arrowhead Stadium for a rematch of the AFC championship game. This one could determine the AFC’s No. 1 seed.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL