The 2019 NFL regular season schedule won't be revealed until April, but the league did announce that longtime rivals the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears will open the season at Solider Field in Chicago.
The news is noteworthy on two fronts: Green Bay and Chicago are two of the NFL's oldest franchises. The Bears, then the Decatur Staleys, were one of the league's charter members in 1920, while the Packers joined a year later. The 2019-2020 season will mark the league's 100th year of existence, so the NFL selecting such storied franchises makes quite a bit of sense.
It also means the league is shirking tradition. The defending Super Bowl champion has opened the season since 2013, but this year the New England Patriots will have to wait until the season's first Sunday night game to take the field. Admittedly, the franchise has had quite a few opportunities to open the season — much to the chagrin of non-Patriots fans everywhere — thanks to their nearly two decade run of unparalleled success.
But New England has also been embroiled in a bit of off-the-field controversy this offseason following owner Robert Kraft's charge for soliciting a prostitute. The NFL will instead be able to delay discussing the incident on opening night with a likely celebratory emphasis on the game's history. Tim O'Donnell