Colts to Open 2009 NFL Regular Season on a Sunday Afternoon . . . For a Change
INDIANAPOLIS – For the Colts, the opening weekend of the 2009 NFL season will have an unusual feel.
That's because they won't be in prime time.
The Colts, after playing a prime-time game on the NFL's Kickoff Weekend in each of the past five seasons, will not be featured in a night game for the upcoming season opener. The NFL announced its 2009 Kickoff Weekend at the NFL Owners Meetings, which began Monday in Dana Point, Calif.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the Kickoff Weekend prime time and Thanksgiving Day schedules during a press conference Monday afternoon.
The kickoff schedule was announced as follows:
• The AFC South champion Tennessee Titans at the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, September 10, at 8:30 p.m. on NBC. The defending Super Bowl champion has played host to the Thursday Night Kickoff Weekend game since 2004. The Titans last season snapped Indianapolis' streak of five consecutive AFC South titles.
• The Chicago Bears at the Green Bay Packers at 8:30 p.m., Sunday, September 13, in a renewal of the NFL's most-played rivalry.
• The Buffalo Bills at the New England Patriots at 7 p.m., Monday, September 14, on ESPN.
• The San Diego Chargers at the Oakland Raiders at 10:15 p.m., Monday, September 14, on ESPN.
The Bills-Patriots and Chargers-Raiders games are part of the NFL's celebration of the 50th anniversary season of the American Football League. All four teams began playing in the inaugural 1960 AFL season.
The Colts were members of the NFL before switching to the AFC in the 1970 NFL Merger.
The Thanksgiving Day games are as follows:
• Packers at Detroit Lions on FOX at 1:30 p.m.
• Raiders at Dallas Cowboys on CBS at 4:15 p.m.
• New York Giants at Denver Broncos on NFL Network at 8:20 p.m.
The Colts played at the New England Patriots on Thursday on Kickoff Weekend in 2004, then visited the Baltimore Ravens in a Sunday Night game on Kickoff Weekend 2005. The following year they opened in a Sunday Night game against the New York Giants in the so-called Manning Bowl.
In 2007, they opened the season in the RCA Dome on a Thursday night against the New Orleans Saints. They hosted that game because they won the Super Bowl the previous season.
This past season, they played host to the Chicago Bears in the regular-season opener. That was the first regular-season game at state-of-the-art Lucas Oil Stadium.
POLIAN SPEAKS ON NO. 1 SELECTION: What should the Detroit Lions do with the No. 1 overall selection? Colts President Bill Polian didn't get into specifics. But asked by the Detroit Free Press recently about how to best use the No. 1 overall selection when a quarterback is being considered with the selection, he had this to say:
"You want to make the right pick. You've got to do the due diligence that requires lots and lots of work and lots and lots of study. You have to just do away with all the noise. You have to block it out and make your decision organizationally. The head coach, general manger, president, owner – everybody's involved."
The Colts used the No. 1 overall selection in the 1998 NFL Draft on quarterback Peyton Manning. The Lions hold the No. 1 overall selection, with quarterback Matthew Stafford of the University of Georgia widely considered an option.
"Peyton Manning wasn't a sure thing," Polian said. "Peyton Manning wasn't the most popular pick at the time. That's the point. You've got to make the decision that's best for you. Don't worry about anything else."
Polian was asked if there is a way to reduce the risk in taking a quarterback at the No. 1 position.
"There isn't," Polian told the Free-Press. "This is an inexact science, and you have to try to make the best pick you can make based on your criteria, whatever that may be. . . .
"I don't think there's any one standard measure that says, 'Yeah, do this, do this.' It varies. (New England Patriots quarterback Tom) Brady sat for a couple of years, and Peyton played from Day 1. They're both going to go to the Hall of Fame."
ONE MORE CHANCE: The Colts will receive a compensatory selection at the end of the fourth round of the April 25-26 NFL 2009 Draft, the league announced Monday.
The selection -- No. 36 in the fourth round and No. 136 overall -- was in compensation for losing guard Jake Scott as an unrestricted free agent last off-season. Scott signed with the Tennessee Titans.
The Colts now have eight selections in the 2009 draft: one in each of the seven rounds at the originally assigned position and the compensatory fourth-round selection.