The 2011 NFL regular season kicks off Thursday, Sept. 8, in Green Bay, Wis., as the New Orleans Saints visit the Super Bowl champion Packers in Lambeau Field. NBC televises the game at 8:30pm ET. The full NBC Sunday Night Football schedule below, followed by the original schedule announcement release and schedule highlights from NBC. The full NFL TV schedule is available here.
2011 NFL Sunday Night Football on NBC
Week 1 Thursday, Sept. 8, NFL Kickoff: New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers, 8:30pm ET
Week 1 Sunday, Sept. 11, Dallas Cowboys at New York Jets, 8:20pm ET
Week 2 Sunday, Sept. 18, Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons, 8:20pm ET
Week 3 Sunday, Sept. 25, Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts, 8:20pm ET
Week 4 Sunday, Oct. 2, New York Jets at Baltimore Ravens, 8:20pm ET
Week 5 Sunday, Oct. 9, Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons, 8:20pm ET
Week 6 Sunday, Oct. 16, Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears, 8:20pm ET
Week 7 Sunday, Oct. 23, Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints, 8:20pm ET
Week 8 Sunday, Oct. 30, Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles, 8:20pm ET
Week 9 Sunday, Nov. 6, Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:20pm ET
Week 10 Sunday, Nov. 13, New England Patriots at New York Jets*, 8:20pm ET
Week 11 Sunday, Nov. 20, Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants*, 8:20pm ET
Week 12 Sunday, Nov. 27, Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs*, 8:20pm ET
Week 13 Sunday, Dec. 4, Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots*, 8:20pm ET
Week 14 Sunday, Dec. 11, New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys*, 8:20pm ET
Week 15 Sunday, Dec. 18, Baltimore Ravens at San Diego Chargers*, 8:20pm ET
Week 16 Sunday, Dec. 25, Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers, 8:20pm ET
Week 17 Sunday, Jan. 1, To Be Announced*, 8:20pm ET
*Flex schedule week. Games in Weeks 10-15 and 17 subject to change.
2011 “SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL” SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED
NFL Season Begins on NBC with Thursday NFL Kickoff Featuring the Last Two Super Bowl Champions (Saints at Packers) and Ends on NBC with Super Bowl XLVI From Indianapolis
Jets Host Cowboys in Opening SNF Game on 10th Anniversary of 9/11 Storied Rivalries Including Cowboys-Eagles, Colts-Patriots, Bears-Packers, Giants-Cowboys, Patriots-Jets, Ravens-Steelers, Eagles-Giants
Storied rivalries including Giants-Cowboys, Bears-Packers on Christmas Night at Lambeau, Colts-Patriots, Steelers-Ravens, Cowboys-Eagles, Patriots-Jets and Eagles Giants; a matchup of the last two Super Bowl Champions as the Packers host the Saints in the opening Thursday night game; and Peyton Manning returning home to New Orleans in a Super Bowl XLV rematch highlight the “Sunday Night Football” schedule as the NFL announced its 2011 slate of games today. The season concludes on NBC with Super Bowl XLVI from Indianapolis. Highlights of the 2011 “Sunday Night Football” schedule:
- Sixteen of NBC’s 17 scheduled games involve at least one playoff team from last season; 11 of 17 include two playoff teams.
- The last two Super Bowl Champions, Saints and Packers, meet in the Thursday night NFL opening game.
- A rematch of last year’s NFC Championship game between the Packers and Bears on Christmas Night in Green Bay, the oldest rivalry in the NFL. The only other time Bears-Packers met on Christmas Day was in 2005 with the Bears winning 24-17 at Lambeau Field.
- Peyton Manning goes home to New Orleans as Saints host Colts in Week 7 in a rematch of Super Bowl XLV.
- Rex Ryan’s Rivals: Meets brother Rob (Dallas defensive coordinator) and the Cowboys in Week 1 in New York on the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001; Ryan faces his old team, the Ravens in Week 4; and his nemesis the Patriots in Week 10, in a rematch of last year’s AFC Divisional playoff game.
- Three matchups among bitter NFC East rivals: Cowboys-Eagles, Eagles-Giants, and Giants-Cowboys.
- Eagles QB Michael Vick goes back to Atlanta to face his former team for the first time as an opposing starting quarterback in Week 2.
- Traditional “Sunday Night Football” rivalries: Colts-Patriots (Week 13), Ravens-Steelers (Week 9).
- The first “NBC Sunday Night Football” trip to Kansas City as Chiefs host Steelers in Week 12.
DICK EBERSOL, CHAIRMAN, NBC SPORTS GROUP: “We are pleased to have another terrific schedule for ‘Sunday Night Football.’ The incredible success the league has enjoyed with every television partner (ESPN, CBS, Fox, NFL Network) experiencing increases each of the last three seasons is a testament to the league focusing its entire scheduling process to maximize viewership. The NFL remains the most powerful content in the entire sports and entertainment universe.”
SNF DOMINATED SUNDAY NIGHTS: Last season, “Sunday Night Football” was the No. 1 show all 18 nights (100 percent) vs. its competition (16 Sundays, one Tuesday and one Thursday). In 2009, SNF was the most-watched Sunday night primetime broadcast in a then-record 15 of 16 (94 percent) weeks. In 2008, SNF won 13 of 16 (81 percent) Sunday nights. In 2007, SNF won 11 of 16 (69 percent) and, in 2006, SNF won nine of 16 (56 percent). For the full season, “Sunday Night Football” averaged 21.8 million viewers, a gain of 12 percent from 2009 (19.4 million) and the best viewership for the NFL’s premier primetime broadcast package in 14 years.
SNF NO. 1 PRIMETIME PROGRAM FOR SEASON: For the primetime television season, “Sunday Night Football,” during its season, ranked as the most-watched show (persons 2+) and the No. 1 program across the key demographics of Adults18-49, 18-34, 25-54 as well as Men 18-49, 18-34 and 25-54, based on Nielsen live + same day data. Additionally, SNF was the No. 3 show among Women 18-34 behind only Grey’s Anatomy and Glee, and, remarkably, No. 3 among Women 18-49 behind only Dancing with the Stars and Grey’s Anatomy.
NFL OPENING KICKOFF: In a tradition that began in 2004, the Super Bowl champion annually hosts the following season’s Thursday night season kickoff. The NFL will open this season on NBC, Thursday, Sept. 8, with a matchup of the last two Super Bowl Champions as the Packers host the Saints. Last year’s opening game featuring the Vikings at Saints drew 27.5 million viewers, the most-watched regular-season primetime NFL game ever on NBC. In the first “Sunday Night Football” contest of the season the Jets host the Cowboys on the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001.
Photo: Credit: Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT