The networks that are home to NFL games seem to want a piece of the Chicago Bears after their rise to the top of the NFC North standings in 2018.
Add John Ourand of Sports Business Journal to the list of reporters hearing from sources that the NFL will open its 100th season with the Bears and Packers on Thursday Night Football. But that’s not the only Bears-related nugget Ourand has on his plate. The SBJ reporter hears that a Bears-Lions Thanksgiving rematch is on the table. If it goes down like that, it will mark the second consecutive year in which Detroit has hosted Chicago on Thanksgiving.
Quarterback Chase Daniel wrecked the Lions on Thanksgiving last year, while Prince Amukamara led a Motown tribute celebration that was probably more inspired than anything we saw on the GRAMMYs last night. What could a Mitch Trubisky led encore have in store for Detroit? I can’t wait to tune in and find out!
Between Bears-Packers as the lid-lifter and Thanksgiving matchups featuring Bears-Lions and Cowboys-Dolphins (which will no doubt provide ample opportunity for Leon Lett related call-backs), I suppose the NFL is angling for as many prime slot opportunities for games with any hint of historical flavor to them. It’s not a bad strategy to tug at the heart-strings of football fans if the goal is to pull in as many eyes as possible for any given game.
Just don’t think those are the only primetime slots the Bears will find themselves in 2019. Ourand reports networks are showing an interest in the Bears (as well as the Chiefs and Rams) in the same way they do other “reliable ratings performers” such as the Packers, Patriots, Steelers, and Cowboys. There figure to be plenty of opportunities for each network to get a piece of the Bears in front of a primetime audience since they play a first-place schedule (which features games against the Cowboys and Rams), the AFC West (Trubisky-Mahomes Episode I), and the NFC East (games that will include New York, Dallas, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia markets).
The NFL’s schedule won’t be released until the spring, but it’s looking quite likely that we’re going to see some more primetime Bears action in 2019. And that’s alright with me!