PHOENIX (March 26, 2007) -- The NFL announced its 2007 Kickoff Weekend national television schedule -- including a Monday night doubleheader -- and its Thanksgiving Day national TV tripleheader.
In a tradition that began in 2004, the Super Bowl champion annually hosts the NFL Thursday night season kickoff the following year. Sept. 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC
, the Super Bowl XLI champion Colts will welcome the New Orleans Saints to Indianapolis
. The game will have an "All-Star" flavor, featuring the starting quarterbacks from the 2007 Pro Bowl -- Indianapolis' Peyton Manning and the Saints' Drew Brees.
Peyton Manning and the Colts have two primetime games set in stone.
On Sunday, Sept. 9
, the FOX national doubleheader game at 4:15 p.m. ET will send the defending NFC champion Chicago Bears to visit the AFC West champion San Diego Chargers
, led by reigning NFL MVP LaDainian Tomlinson and new head coach Norv Turner. San Diego (14-2) and Chicago (13-3) led their respective conferences in regular-season wins in '06.
The Sunday night primetime game (8:15 p.m. ET) on NBC will feature the NFC Wild Card Playoff teams of last season, as the New York Giants visit the Dallas Cowboys
, led by new head coach Wade Phillips.
Monday night, Sept. 10
, ESPN will host a Monday Night Football doubleheader featuring two critical division matchups. The first game (7 p.m. ET) will send the AFC North titlist Baltimore Ravens to Cincinnati
to battle the Bengals. The MNF nightcap (10:15 p.m. ET) will be an NFC West matchup, as the San Francisco 49ers host the Arizona Cardinals
. The game will showcase talented young quarterbacks -- Arizona's Matt Leinart (No. 10 overall selection in last year's draft) and the 49ers' Alex Smith (No. 1 overall pick in '05).
On Sunday, Sept. 9, CBS, which has U.S. Open tennis in the late afternoon slot, will carry a lineup of early regional NFL games. CBS will televise the NFL national doubleheader late game in Week 2.
Continuing an innovation introduced last season, the NFL will serve up three nationally-televised games on Thanksgiving Day
, including the first of NFL Network's late-season primetime offerings of 2007.
The early game (FOX, 12:30 p.m. ET) will be an NFC North meeting of the Green Bay Packers at the Detroit Lions
. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the second game (CBS, 4:15 p.m. ET) will be a family affair when the New York Jets travel to the Dallas Cowboys
. It will be a matchup of running back brothers -- 28-year-old Thomas Jones, recently acquired by the Jets in a trade, against his sibling, 25-year-old Julius of the Cowboys. This will be the second meeting of their professional careers -- Julius (150 yards, two touchdowns) got the better of Thomas' Bears on Thanksgiving Day in 2004 in a 21-7 Cowboys' victory.
The Thanksgiving tripleheader continues at 8:15 p.m. ET on NFL Network
when the Colts visit the Atlanta Falcons
, led by new head coach Bobby Petrino.
The announcement of these national TV games was made March 26 by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at the NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.
The rest of the 2007 regular-season schedule will be completed and announced in April.
The 2007 Kickoff Weekend and Thanksgiving national television games: