Why are the Bears taking on the Packers instead of the defending Super Bowl champions playing Thursday night?

By Charlotte Carroll
September 05, 2019

Why are the Bears taking on the Packers on the opening night of the upcoming NFL season instead of the Super Bowl champions?

While the Bears and Packers face off on Thursday at 8:20 p.m. ET, the Patriots will host the Steelers on Sunday night. 

In honor of the NFL's 100th anniversary celebration, the league decided to showcase the NFL's oldest rivalry. The Bears and Packers, NFC North rivalries, first played in 1921 and have faced each other 198 times since.

The Patriots defeated the Rams in Super Bowl LIII in February to earn the franchise's sixth championship title. 

This is the first time in over a decade that the Super Bowl champion will not appear in the league's opening game. 

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