The Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl victory means the season-opening Thursday Night Football game will come to us live from Seattle. Last year, the Baltimore Ravens went on the road to start the season, but that was strictly due to the Baltimore Orioles refusing to change their home game scheduled that day.
Much of the talk among 49ers fans after the game was the notion that the 49ers and Seahawks would square off on Thursday Night Football. It is true this would be absolute ratings gold, and would surely set TNF ratings records. However, I don't see that matchup happening to start the season.
I remain convinced (until the NFL makes me wrong when they release the full schedule) that the 49ers will open their season at home on Sunday Night Football. I predict this because I think the NFL will want to show off the league's newest stadium. The 49ers are looking to have the most technologically advanced stadium in the world, so how could you not show this off in primetime to start the season?
For those wondering about the parking issue we discussed late last year, there are two things to keep in mind. First, that was strictly related to weekday primetime games (MNF, TNF). Second, reports indicate the team and Santa Clara have figured out a solution that will potentially allow for weeknight prime time games later in the 2014 season.
It's entirely possible the NFL will decide to shoot for the moon with their season-opening ratings, but they can still get some quality openers for the Seahawks and 49ers without using one of their two money matchups.
The Seahawks home slate includes the three NFC games, as well as the Cowboys, Giants, Broncos, Raiders and Packers. I think a Super Bowl rematch might make the most sense, but what about Seahawks-Cardinals? I don't expect it, but the Cardinals were the only team to beat Seattle at home. Seahawks-Packers or Seahawks-Cowboys could also be interesting matchups for that opener. My money is on the Super Bowl rematch.
The 49ers home slate includes their three NFC West games, as well as the Chiefs, Eagles, Chargers, Bears and Washington. The Chiefs would be a big name matchup with the return of Alex Smith to face his former team. If the NFL wanted an interesting matchup, but wanted to save that Chiefs game, 49ers-Eagles or 49ers-Bears could both be quality openers.
I'm sure the NFL will decide to prove me wrong, but I think logically it makes sense to save those 49ers-Seahawks contests.
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