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Super Bowl champion Patriots to reportedly open season against Steelers on Sunday night

It was already reported earlier this year that instead of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots hosting the first game of the 2019 NFL season, the year would start off with the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers doing battle in the historic 100th year of their rivalry. Instead, per reports, the Patriots would open the season on Sunday Night Football. 

It appears that is indeed the case. Per several reports, the Patriots will host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first Sunday night game of the 2019 season.

There had been some speculation that the Pats would open the season against either the Kansas City Chiefs or Cleveland Browns, but instead it will be a continuation of their rivalry with the Steelers. New England will raise its sixth championship banner ahead of the game, which will begin at 8:20 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 8. Coincidentally, the Steelers are the only other NFL team that has won the Super Bowl six times. 

This particular Patriots-Steelers game will look far different than such games have in the recent past. Pittsburgh, of course, traded Antonio Brown this offseason, and also saw Le’Veon Bell leave for the New York Jets. The Patriots, meanwhile, bid adieu to Rob Gronkowski, who announced his retirement. Of course, the longtime coaches (Bill Belichick and Mike Tomlin) and quarterbacks (Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger) for each team are still in place, and will get to continue their rivalry even after the departure of the other star figures. 

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