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Steelers host rivals Titans to kick off NFL season

THE Steelers get their opening-night showcase as Super Bowl champions.

The oldest rivalry in football has a first-week renewal in prime time. An old AFL-style doubleheader closes out the weekend.

That's how the NFL will begin the 2009 season, starting with as juicy a matchup as possible: Pittsburgh hosting the Tennessee Titans, who merely had the league's best record in 2008 and who beat the Steelers 31-14 in the 15th game of the season.

Opening kickoff is on Thursday night ?? September 10.

Then there is the 178th meeting between the Bears and Packers, in Green Bay on Sunday night on September 13.

For those surprised that the Cowboys, who open their palatial new stadium this season, are not featured in a night game in Week 1, well, baseball got in the way.

So Dallas, the NFL's biggest TV draw, which is moving to Arlington, Texas, near the Rangers' ballpark ?? the Rangers are home that weekend ?? will have to wait until the second week, when the Cowboys are expected to host the Sunday nighter.

"We have the chance to get on the national game the second weekend with not being able to get on the first weekend," Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said Monday at the owners meetings.

"We're having to work with the league on some things."

The Cowboys and Lions get to keep their traditional Thanksgiving hosting slots. The Lions go back to meeting the Packers that day, a matchup that occurred every year from 1951-63 and will happen for the 19th time. The Raiders will be at the Cowboys following that, and the night game will feature the New York Giants at Denver.

"The Thanksgiving game is a tradition and we're proud to have it and to continue it in the new stadium," Jones said.

"It's very important to us."


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