Don’t expect concrete answers on everything that is put in front of the owners at the NFL meetings that begin Monday morning in West Palm Beach, Fla.
But word is the league will reveal the national television schedule for kickoff weekend on Monday, and possibly the lineup for Thanksgiving Day. The Washington Post already reported the Redskins will open the season at the defending champion New York Giants on Thursday, Sept. 4. The remainder of the schedule could come later in the week with considerable scuttlebutt that an announcement will be made Thursday afternoon.
Generally speaking, the Bears are good business for the networks because they reside in the league’s second-largest television market. But given the club’s tailspin to 7-9 last season, it’s difficult to imagine NFL and TV execs finding a delicious opening weekend matchup they deem must-see viewing for the nation.
The Bears last appeared on Thanksgiving Day in a wretched 21-7 loss at Dallas in 2004. It was Craig Krenzel’s final start as a an ankle injury did in his season, and when Jonathan Quinn’s relief effort was, well, a lot like his starts earlier in the season, the Chad Hutchinson era spawned.
The last time the Bears visited the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day was Nov. 25, 1999. Since, the Lions have played division rival Green Bay three times on Thanksgiving without playing Minnesota. Since the merger, the longest the Lions and Bears have gone without hooking up on Thanksgiving has been 11 seasons (1980 to 1991).
Compensatory picks will also be announced this week from the meetings. The Bears are almost assured of receiving one pick and could land two.