There may be no more hyped event during the spring than the announcement of the upcoming NFL schedule. This year, the league and its TV partners stretched out the fanfare even more by letting each network announce a Week 1 matchup on their respective morning shows.
Touted as the “Biggest Season Ever” since this will be the first NFL schedule with 17 games, the announcement of the 2021 schedule certainly appears to be the biggest ever with hours of coverage on ESPN networks and the broadcast network announcements.
NBC’s Today show had “sports news for sports fans,” as Hoda Kotb put it from the show’s vividly-colored set.
Mike Tirico announced that the 2021 season will kick off with a Thursday night matchup with the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 9. And for Sunday Night Football‘s Week 1 game (Sept. 12), the Chicago Bears will visit the Los Angeles Rams.
The @NFL will announce the entire schedule for its “Biggest Season Ever” tonight. @miketirico is here to exclusively reveal two of the season’s biggest matchups. ? #NFLScheduleRelease pic.twitter.com/lsy8dvZcLc
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) May 12, 2021
On ABC, Mike Greenberg popped in from ESPN’s Get Up set to briefly join Good Morning America and interrupt Robin Roberts’ morning with Dolly Parton in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. He told viewers that the season-opening Monday Night Football matchup is Ravens at Raiders.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) May 12, 2021
The NFL Today‘s Nate Burleson emerged from the green room at CBS This Morning to share some of the notable Week 1 games on the network, including Steelers at Bills and Jets at Panthers among the 1 p.m. ET slate. Revenge game for Sam Darnold?
For the 4:25 p.m. ET window, CBS will have Dolphins at Patriots and arguably the week’s best matchup with Browns at Chiefs.
We have an exclusive first look at Week 1 of the 2021 @NFLonCBS schedule.
@CBSSports and "NFL Today" analyst @nateburleson
discusses the matchups we'll see and the upcoming season's biggest storylines.
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) May 12, 2021
Finally, Fox announced its Week 1 NFL broadcast schedule on Fox News’ Fox & Friends and FS1. But neither of those networks posted any video to Twitter. We were in danger of being accused of bias for not sharing any video from a Fox channel!
Fortunately, the schedule announcement was released to local Fox affiliates. Thanks to Q13 FOX in Seattle for giving us something to use here!
Seattle’s Fox affiliate providing video is appropriate too, since the Seahawks are involved in the network’s best Week 1 matchup, facing the Colts at Indianapolis. 10 a.m. kickoff for fans in the Emerald City! Packers at Saints for one of the 4:25 p.m. ET games is also an appealing pairing.
Here is the full slate of NFL Week 1 games to begin the 2021 season:
The full Week 1 schedule for the 2021 NFL regular season has now been announced.
A look at all 16 games: pic.twitter.com/mbhlkKAjwW
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) May 12, 2021
The full 2021 NFL schedule will be released Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN 2 with a three-hour (!) special, along with coverage on ESPN+, the ESPN app, and the network’s various social media accounts. NFL Network will also unveil the 2021 slate (with a simulcast on FS1).