The National Football League will kick off its 2002 season on Thursday, September 5, as the New York Giants host the San Francisco 49ers. It's will be the first time ever that the league has started the season with a Thursday night game.
The first full slate of games will be on Sunday, September 8. The lineup will be capped by the debut of the expansion Houston Texans, who will host the Dallas Cowboys in another television prime-time game.
The next night, the NFL's first Monday night game of the season features the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers, in a rematch of the AFC championship game. The contest also will mark the Patriot's first game in their new home, CMGI Field. National football league commissioner Paul Tagliabue recently met with television executives at CBS and Fox seeking schedule flexibility to insure key games will be played Monday nights on the last four weeks of the season. But both networks balked at the idea of giving up potentially competitive games to ABC for its Monday night broadcast.
The Saint Louis Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Bears each will play three times on Monday night. Super Bowl 37 is scheduled for January 26 in San Diego.