The Chicago Bears will kick off the NFL’s 100th season hosting their biggest rivals – the Green Bay Packers, the league announced Monday.
The game, set for 7:20 p.m. CT on Sept. 5 at Soldier Field, will on air NBC and will mark the 199th meeting between the Bears and Packers.
Hans Schroeder, executive vice president and chief operating officer of NFL Media made the announcement at the league’s annual meeting in Phoenix.
“As an organization, we are thrilled to be kicking off the 100th season of football in the NFL,” Bears chairman George H. McCaskey said in a statement. “As a charter franchise, we cannot think of a better way to begin our centennial season by hosting our longtime rival in prime time at Soldier Field.”
The game will mark the first time in franchise history the Bears have opened the NFL season on Thursday Night Football.
The last time the Bears and the Packers met at night at Soldier Field was 2010. The Monday night game ended in a 20-17 Bears victory.
“Chicago is honored to host the NFL’s 2019 kickoff game and centennial celebration,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. “George ‘Papa Bear’ Halas and the NFL’s co-founders probably didn’t imagine the federation they established 100 years ago in cities and towns across the Midwest would one day be the most successful professional sports league in the world, but that’s what their vision achieved. Chicago – the most American of American cities – is the perfect venue for this game and on September 5th, all eyes will be on Soldier Field as the Monsters of the Midway take the field to celebrate the start of the NFL’s centennial season.”
The Bears-Packers rivalry is the oldest in the NFL and dates back to 1921, the team said. Last season, Chicago dropped a 24-23 decision in Week 1 at Lambeau Field but defeated the Packers in Week 15 at Soldier Field 24-17. That same victory marked their NFC North division championship.
The last time the Bears and Packers met in Week 1 for consecutive seasons was 1980 and 1981.
The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will also raise their banner on NBC in Sunday Night Football on Sept. 8, Schroeder said.