Perfect Game’ for Both Teams: Collinsworth and Tirico Weigh in on Lions vs. Chiefs NFL Kickoff 2023

NBC Sports' Cris Collinsworth and Mike Tirico can't contain their excitement about the Detroit Lions facing off against the Kansas City Chiefs.

When it comes to season openers, the Lions vs. Chiefs NFL Kickoff 2023 is shaping up to be one for the books. The Detroit Lions are set to face off against the defending Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, at Arrowhead Stadium. This matchup has the broadcasting team of NBC Sports' Sunday Night Football—Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth, and sideline reporter Melissa Stark—all revved up, as they revealed during a conference call on Wednesday.

Mike Tirico’s Close Relationship with the Lions

For Tirico, who's lived in Michigan for over two decades, this game holds particular importance. “Early in the season, there’s no doubt this is as big a buildup to a Lions’ game as we’ve seen in a long time,” Tirico said. To underline his point, he shared a fascinating story of being recognized in Paris, of all places, because of his Detroit Tigers cap. A passerby stopped to talk to him specifically about the Lions, highlighting the global anticipation for this matchup.

Yet, Tirico offers a note of caution to enthusiastic Lions fans: “It starts all over again. They’re going to have a little pressure to prove all this buildup is for real.”

“They’ve played in playoff games. People forget sometimes they’ve played in playoff games, so the games to get to those games were highly anticipated,” Tirico said. “But I think early in the season, there’s no doubt this is as big a buildup to a Lions’ game as we’ve seen in a long time.”

Mike Tirico
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Cris Collinsworth’s Detailed Observations

Collinsworth began by delving into the recent history of the Lions under head coach Dan Campbell. After a rough start last season, the team finished strong, winning eight of their last 10 games. Collinsworth praised not just the Lions' physicality but also their late-season turnaround and the performances of emerging stars like Penei Sewell, Alim McNeil, and Aidan Hutchinson.

What stuck out to me is that they were losing on the scoreboard but physically whipping the teams that they were playing. I don’t know everything about football, but typically that doesn’t happen over a sustained period of time,” Collinsworth said. “Then they came out last year, and they started slowly — and I was like, well, maybe this just is not going to happen. Then it happened. Then they won eight out of their last 10 games.

Cris Collinsworth on the Lions transformation under head coach Dan Campbell’s leadership

Addressing the impending matchup, Collinsworth expressed his initial surprise at the Lions being chosen for the opener but ultimately labeled it the “perfect game” for both teams.

TL;DR (too long didn't read)

  1. NBC Sports broadcasters Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth express excitement and offer nuanced takes on the NFL Kickoff 2023 featuring the Detroit Lions vs. the Kansas City Chiefs.
  2. Tirico emphasizes the unprecedented buildup for an early Lions season game but cautions fans about high expectations.
  3. Collinsworth finds the matchup to be the “perfect game” for both teams, noting the Lions' late-season surge and promising talent.