NFL kicks off 2011-12 season on NBC
The 92nd regular season of the National Football League begins tonight on NBC with the New Orleans Saints traveling to Lambeau Field, the home of the Super Bowl XLV champion Green Bay Packers. The last regular season game will be held on Sunday, January 1, 2012.
The playoffs will end on February 5, 2012 when NBC airs with Super Bowl XLVI from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
This will be the sixth season under the current television contracts with the league’s television partners: CBS (all AFC afternoon away games), Fox (all NFC afternoon away games), NBC (17 Sunday night games and the kickoff game), ESPN (17 Monday night games over sixteen weeks), NFL Network (eight late-season games on Thursday and Saturday nights), and DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket package.
In Canada, games will be simulcast on Bell Media (CTV and TSN) and Rogers Media (Sportsnet and CityTV) stations.
Notable games of the 2011-12 season include:
- This season’s International Series game will feature the Chicago Bears facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (in their second International Series appearance) at Wembley Stadium in London on October 23, one week earlier than usual, with the Buccaneers serving as the home team.
- Under the terms of the Bills Toronto Series agreement, the Buffalo Bills will host the Washington Redskins at the Rogers Centre in Toronto Sunday, October 30, the traditional weekend of the International Series. The 2011–12 season marks the 20th anniversary of the teams’ meeting in Super Bowl XXVI, won by the Redskins.
- The Detroit Lions will host their first Monday Night Football game since 2001 when they face the Chicago Bears on Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving.
- The Miami Dolphins will travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys and the Detroit Lions will host the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers for the traditional 2011 Thanksgiving Classic games. The Thanksgiving nightcap on the NFL Network will be the San Francisco 49ers traveling to play the Baltimore Ravens; this is the first Thanksgiving game for the 49ers since 1972, the first ever for the Ravens, and a game that puts 1st-year 49ers’ head coach Jim Harbaugh against his brother, Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh.
- Christmas Day, December 25, 2011, falls on Sunday. The league’s general policy when this happens is to hold the majority of its games during the day on Christmas Eve and hold over one or two feature games for Sunday night; in the case of 2011, it will be one game. The Chicago Bears will face the Green Bay Packers on Christmas evening on NBC.
- New Year’s Day, January 1, 2012, also falls on a Sunday, and the NFL will play its entire Week 17 schedule that day. The major college Bowl games usually played on New Year’s Day, as well as the NHL Winter Classic, will instead be played on Monday, January 2. For the second straight year, Week 17 will only feature divisional match-ups.
- The New York Giants will visit the Washington Redskins on September 11, 2011—the first Sunday of the regular season—to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks (both Washington, D.C. and New York City were targeted in the attacks).
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