The Chicago Bears and the NFL will kick off their 100th season under the lights in front of a nationally-televised NBC audience when they play host to the Green Bay Packers at 7:20 p.m. CT on Thursday, Sept. 5 at Soldier Field, adding to the Bears centennial celebration, which kicks off June 7-9 at the Rosemont Convention Center.
“As an organization, we are thrilled to be kicking off the 100th season of football in the NFL,” Bears chairman George H. McCaskey said. “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 City of Chicago, through the Chicago Sports Commission, and the Bears partnered with the NFL to bring this kickoff game and festivities to Chicago.
“Chicago is honored to host the NFL’s 2019 kickoff game and centennial celebration,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “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 game will mark the first time in franchise history in which 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 on Monday Night Football, a 20-17 Bears victory in Week 3.
The Bears-Packers rivalry is the oldest in the NFL, dating to 1921. The two teams will be meeting for the 199th time on Sept. 5 with Green Bay owning a slight edge in the all-time series, 97-95-6. The Bears and the Packers split the season series last season as Chicago dropped a 24-23 decision in Week 1 at Lambeau Field before defeating the Packers in Week 15 at Soldier Field, 24-17, to clinch the NFC North division championship. The last time the Bears and Packers met in Week 1 in consecutive seasons was 1980 and 1981.