In a rather unexpected move, the NFL has announced that the Detroit Lions will face off against the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, in the league's opening regular season game on Thursday Night Football. Traditionally, the Super Bowl winners are given the honor of playing in the first game of the year, but when you look at their opponents for the 2023 season, one would think that a team other than the Lions would have gotten the nod. During an appearance on the “Dan Patrick Show,” NFL VP of Broadcasting Onnie Bose shed light on the rationale behind this decision.
- The Lions, with their 9-8 record last season, have been chosen to open the NFL regular season against the Chiefs.
- The Lions' impressive finish, winning eight out of their last ten games, played a significant role in their selection.
- The team's last appearance on national television, defeating the Green Bay Packers and preventing Aaron Rodgers from reaching the playoffs, added to their appeal.
- The energy and narrative surrounding the Lions make them an exciting choice to face the reigning Super Bowl champions.
NFL reveals why Detroit Lions were picked to play Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1
Bose explained that the league was drawn to the narrative surrounding the Lions and their impressive finish to the previous season.
“We really like the narrative around that team,” Bose said on the Dan Patrick Show. “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 ten games. The 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.”
Bottom Line: Lions get spotlight over other formidable teams
The league could have opted for a Super Bowl rematch against the Philadelphia Eagles, or an AFC Championship rematch with the Cincinnati Bengals, among other games, but instead, they chose the up-and-coming Detroit Lions. Bose acknowledged that any of these games would have garnered significant viewership, and the league thoroughly weighed its options before settling on the Lions.
“Any one of those games would have gotten blockbuster numbers,” Bose added. “We considered all of them.”