The NFL made a pretty surprising decision this week, scheduling the Detroit Lions for the league’s opening regular season game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night. While it’s normal to have the returning champions to play in the first regular season game of the year, the Lions—who missed out on the playoff last year with a 9-8 record—are a bit of an unconventional pick.
On Thursday, NFL vice president of broadcasting Onnie Bose, who is heavily involved in the schedule making process, joined the “Dan Patrick Show’ to explain why they decided to put the Lions on that national stage.
“We really like that narrative around that team,” Bose said. “As you well know, the culture that they’re building there, the way they finished that season—eight wins out of their last nine or 10 games. Last time we saw them on national television was the last game, game 272 of the regular season, and they were beating the Packers in Lambeau to keep Aaron Rodgers out of the playoffs. We really like that. There’s a lot of energy there, and we feel really good about starting the season with that energy against the Super Bowl champs.”
Picking the Lions to start the season is even more astonishing when you look at the Chiefs’ home options the league had to choose from this year. They could have done a Super Bowl rematch with the Eagles, an AFC Championship rematch with the Bengals, Patrick Mahomes vs. Josh Allen and the Bills, or even given the sneaky Los Angeles Chargers the stage.
“Any one of those games would have gotten blockbuster numbers,” Bose said. “We considered all of them.”
You can watch a clip of that interview on the Dan Patrick Show below: