NFL Kickoff Game information: 2023 matchup, history, records, FAQ (2024)

Following a busy offseason in which a seven-time Super Bowl champion retired, a four-time MVP was traded and three superstar quarterbacks joined the $50 million club, the 2023 NFL season is finally on the horizon. Will Aaron Rodgers lead the Jets to their first playoff appearance since 2010? How will the Jordan Love era begin in Green Bay? Have the stars aligned for Mike McCarthy's Cowboys? Can the Kansas City Chiefs become the first franchise to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the 2003-04 Patriots?

As has become tradition, the reigning champs will host the NFL Kickoff game to open the season. Here's everything you need to know about this year's Kickoff Game:

2023 NFL Kickoff Game information

  • Matchup: Detroit Lions vs. Kansas City Chiefs
  • Date: Thursday, Sept. 7
  • Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
  • Location: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium -- Kansas City, Mo.
  • Broadcast: NBC
  • Stream: Peacock

When does the 2023 NFL season start?

The 2023 NFL season officially begins with the Kickoff Game on Thursday, Sept. 7.

Who's playing in the 2023 NFL Kickoff Game?

The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Detroit Lions in the 2023 NFL Kickoff Game.

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, the reigning NFL AP Most Valuable Player and Super Bowl LVII MVP, looks to maintain success in Kansas City as Andy Reid's squad tries to become the first franchise to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the 2003-04 Patriots. Detroit's revitalization was prompted by the hiring of head coach Dan Campbell two years ago; the Lions have since formed into an intriguing young team headed by QB Jared Goff, who welcomes dynamic rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs into the fold.

What time is the 2023 NFL Kickoff Game?

Lions-Chiefs is scheduled to kick off at 8:20 p.m. ET.

How do I watch the 2023 NFL Kickoff Game?

Lions-Chiefs will be broadcast live on NBC.

Can I stream the 2023 NFL Kickoff Game?

Yes. Lions-Chiefs will be streamed live on Peacock and on NFL+ on mobile and tablet devices.

Where does the 2023 NFL Kickoff Game take place?

Lions-Chiefs takes place at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. It will be the 22nd Kickoff Game in the tradition's history -- and the second hosted by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Do the defending Super Bowl champions always host the NFL Kickoff Game?

The defending Super Bowl champions have hosted the Kickoff Game since 2004, with two exceptions:

  • In 2013, the reigning champion Baltimore Ravens went on the road to face the Denver Broncos to begin the season due to a scheduling conflict with MLB's Baltimore Orioles.
  • In 2019, though the New England Patriots were the reigning champions, the Chicago Bears hosted the Green Bay Packers -- the league's oldest rivalry was featured in a celebration of the NFL's 100th season.

How is the NFL Kickoff Game's opponent decided?

The opposing team for the defending Super Bowl champions in the NFL Kickoff Game varies, but league schedule-makers often select either a rivalry matchup, a team on the rise or debuting a new star player, or even a rematch of the prior February's Super Bowl, if applicable.

When did the NFL Kickoff Game tradition begin?

The NFL Kickoff Game debuted in 2002 and has since been an annual league tradition that signifies the official start of a season. The first Kickoff Game took place on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2002, at Giants Stadium in New York, N.Y., with the San Francisco 49ers squeaking by the New York Giants, 16-13. Washington beat the visiting New York Jets, 16-13, the following season, in 2003. In 2004, the league began featuring the defending Super Bowl champions in Kickoff Games.

Is the NFL Kickoff Game always on Thursday night?

The Kickoff Game has been scheduled on Thursday night since 2002, with one exception:

  • In 2012, the reigning champion New York Giants hosted the Dallas Cowboys on Wednesday, Sept. 5 in order to avoid conflict with the last day of the Democratic National Convention, which featured President Barack Obama's acceptance speech.

NFL Kickoff Game all-time results

  • 2022: Buffalo Bills 31, Los Angeles Rams 10
  • 2021: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31, Dallas Cowboys 29
  • 2020: Kansas City Chiefs 34, Houston Texans 20
  • 2019: Green Bay Packers 10, Chicago Bears 3
  • 2018: Philadelphia Eagles 18, Atlanta Falcons 12
  • 2017: Kansas City Chiefs 42, New England Patriots 27
  • 2016: Denver Broncos 21, Carolina Panthers 20
  • 2015: New England Patriots 28, Pittsburgh Steelers 21
  • 2014: Seattle Seahawks 36, Green Bay Packers 16
  • 2013: Denver Broncos 49, Baltimore Ravens 27
  • 2012: Dallas Cowboys 24, New York Giants 17
  • 2011: Green Bay Packers 42, New Orleans Saints 34
  • 2010: New Orleans Saints 14, Minnesota Vikings 9
  • 2009: Pittsburgh Steelers 13, Tennessee Titans 10 (OT)
  • 2008: New York Giants 16, Washington 7
  • 2007: Indianapolis Colts 41, New Orleans Saints 10
  • 2006: Pittsburgh Steelers 28, Miami Dolphins 17
  • 2005: New England Patriots 30, Oakland Raiders 20
  • 2004: New England Patriots 27, Indianapolis Colts 24
  • 2003: Washington 16, New York Jets 13
  • 2002: San Francisco 49ers 16, New York Giants 13

NFL Kickoff Game all-time single-game records

PASSING

  • Yards: 462 (Broncos' Peyton Manning in 2013 vs. BAL)
  • Touchdowns: 7 (Broncos' Peyton Manning in 2013 vs. BAL)
  • Completions: 42 (Cowboys' Dak Prescott in 2021 vs. TB)
  • Interceptions: 3 (Giants' Kerry Collins in 2002 vs. SF; Rams' Matthew Stafford in 2022 vs. BUF)

RUSHING

  • Yards: 148 (Chiefs' Kareem Hunt in 2017 vs. NE)
  • Touchdowns: 3 (Patriots' Mike Gillislee in 2017 vs. KC)

RECEIVING

  • Yards: 169 (Falcons' Julio Jones in 2018 vs. PHI)
  • Touchdowns: 3 (Patriots' Rob Gronkowski in 2015 vs. PIT)
  • Receptions: 13 (Cowboys' Amari Cooper in 2021 vs. TB; Rams' Cooper Kupp in 2022 vs. BUF)

DEFENSE

  • Sacks: 2.5 (Broncos' Shaun Phillips in 2013 vs. BAL)
  • Interceptions: 1 (34 total players tied; Steelers' Troy Polamalu, in 2006 and 2009, and Broncos' Chris Harris, in 2013 and 2016, are the only players to have logged one interception in two Kickoff Games)

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Kickoff return touchdowns: 1 (Packers' Randall Cobb in 2011 vs. NO)
  • Punt return touchdowns: 1 (Saints' Darren Sproles in 2011 vs. GB)

Who holds the single-game record for passing yards in an NFL Kickoff Game?

Broncos QB Peyton Manning had 462 passing yards in 2013 (vs. Baltimore) to set the single-game record in an NFL Kickoff Game, per NFL Research.

Who holds the single-game record for passing touchdowns in an NFL Kickoff Game?

Broncos QB Peyton Manning had seven passing touchdowns in 2013 (vs. Baltimore) to set the single-game record in an NFL Kickoff Game, per NFL Research.

Who holds the single-game record for completions in an NFL Kickoff Game?

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott had 42 completions in 2021 (vs. Tampa Bay) to set the single-game record in an NFL Kickoff Game, per NFL Research.

Who holds the single-game record for interceptions thrown in an NFL Kickoff Game?

Giants QB Kerry Collins (2002, vs. San Francisco) and Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford (2022, vs. Buffalo) each threw three interceptions to tie for the single-game record in an NFL Kickoff Game, per NFL Research.

Who holds the single-game record for rushing yards in an NFL Kickoff Game?

Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt had 148 rushing yards in 2017 (vs. New England) to set the single-game record in an NFL Kickoff Game, per NFL Research.

Who holds the single-game record for rushing touchdowns in an NFL Kickoff Game?

Patriots RB Mike Gillislee had three rushing touchdowns in 2017 (vs. Kansas City) to set the single-game record in an NFL Kickoff Game, per NFL Research.

Who holds the single-game record for receiving yards in an NFL Kickoff Game?

Falcons WR Julio Jones had 169 receiving yards in 2018 (vs. Philadelphia) to set the single-game record in an NFL Kickoff Game, per NFL Research.

Who holds the single-game record for receiving touchdowns in an NFL Kickoff Game?

Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski had three touchdown receptions in 2015 (vs. Pittsburgh) to set the single-game record in an NFL Kickoff Game, per NFL Research.

Who holds the single-game record for receptions in an NFL Kickoff Game?

Cowboys WR Amari Cooper (2021 vs. Tampa Bay) and Rams WR Cooper Kupp (2022 vs. Buffalo) each had 13 receptions to tie for the single-game record in an NFL Kickoff Game, per NFL Research.

Who holds the single-game record for sacks in an NFL Kickoff Game?

Denver Broncos DE Shaun Phillips had 2.5 sacks in 2013 (vs. Baltimore) to set the single-game record in an NFL Kickoff Game, per NFL Research.

Who holds the single-game record for interceptions in an NFL Kickoff Game?

Thirty-four total players are tied for the single-game record of interceptions in an NFL Kickoff Game, with one, per NFL Research (Troy Polamalu did it twice for the Steelers, once in 2006 and once in 2009, and Chris Harris did it twice for the Broncos, once in 2013 and once in 2016).

Who holds the single-game record for kickoff return touchdowns in an NFL Kickoff Game?

Green Bay Packers WR Randall Cobb's 108-yard touchdown return in 2011 (vs. New Orleans) is the only kickoff return score in the NFL Kickoff Game's history, per NFL Research.

Who holds the single-game record for punt return touchdowns in an NFL Kickoff Game?

New Orleans Saints RB Darren Sproles' 72-yard touchdown return in 2011 (vs. Green Bay) is the only punt return score in the NFL Kickoff Game's history, per NFL Research.

NFL Kickoff Game information: 2023 matchup, history, records, FAQ (2024)
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