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NFL Kickoff Game

The NFL Kickoff game logo used for 2016; the year is updated annually, with the new NFL Shield logo being used for the first time in 2009. In 2015, an alternate black and gold version of the logo was used.

The National Football League Kickoff game, along with related festivities, marks the official start of the National Football League (NFL) regular season. A single game is held, preceded by a concert and other ceremonies. This first game of the season is usually scheduled for the Thursday following Labor Day and since 2004, it was hosted by the current Super Bowl champions. However, in 2012, the game was moved to Wednesday to prevent conflicts with the acceptance speech of the Democratic National Convention.[1] The remainder of the league plays their opening weekend games the following Sunday and Monday.

The Kickoff Game was introduced in the 2002 season. From 2004 onward, the defending Super Bowl champion has hosted the Kickoff Game with a couple of exceptions -- in 2013 the defending champion Baltimore Ravens opened on the road because of a conflict with a previously scheduled Orioles baseball game the same day,[2] and in 2019 the defending champion New England Patriots did not play at all in the Kickoff Game as the league instead scheduled the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears for that game to celebrate its 100th season of operation (the Bears-Packers rivalry, featuring two of the league's oldest franchises, is the most-played of all NFL rivalries; the Patriots instead played on Sunday Night Football).[3]

  1. ^ "NFL season-opener to be held Wednesday, Sept. 5". National Football League. February 28, 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
  2. ^ Maske, Mike (March 22, 2013). "Ravens to play NFL's season-opening game on the road". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
  3. ^ Capaccio, Sal (March 25, 2019). "Packers at Bears to kick off NFL season on Thursday Night". WGR. Retrieved March 25, 2019.