NFL schedules get off to strong starts with Week 1 twinbills

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FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2021, file photo, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) runs during an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Green Bay, Wis. Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst says the team remains committed to Rodgers for the foreseeable future one year after trading up in the first round to draft the three-time MVPs potential successor. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps, File)

An additional week of regular-season games will benefit NFL fans right from the start.

In order to keep an equal number of doubleheaders between CBS and Fox, the league has decided to make Week 1 a doubleheader for both networks, which is also what they do on the final week.

Blake Jones of the league's scheduling department said the success of the doubleheaders during the final week was one of the driving forces behind adding it to the opening week. It also means Fox and CBS will each have 10 doubleheaders during the season.

“It is an amazing amount of football and everyone gets four games (two each on Fox and CBS),” Jones said. “It is also not favoring one network over the other. Both can showcase their games and give our fans something special.”

The featured games in the 4:25 p.m. window on Sept. 12 will be Green Bay at New Orleans on Fox and Cleveland at Kansas City on NBC.

Fox has traditionally had the Week 1 doubleheader, but Fox Sports executive vice president Michael Mulvihill doesn't mind sharing the day.

“It is a fun way for the season to start. It’s really a feast,” he said.

Jones said the scheduling department did deep dives on close to 500 combinations that were run through the league servers before narrowing it down the last couple weeks. It wasn't until last Saturday evening that the final schedule was presented to Commissioner Roger Goodell and signed off on.