Patriots fans, get ready to spend your Sunday afternoons watching other teams play.
The NFL schedule was released Thursday, and it features five nationally televised games for New England, including a Monday night season opener against Pittsburgh for the first regular season football game ever at CMGI Field. Including a prime time preseason game against Philadelphia, the six nationally televised games are the most in team history.
Rumored for quite some time, the Monday night opener will create a rematch of last year's AFC Championship game. New England also will make a second trip in three years to Detroit for a Thanksgiving Day clash.
In addition to the tilts with the Steelers and Lions, New England will play a second Monday night game, this one at Tennessee. The Patriots also will play a pair of Sunday night games, hosting the New York Jets for one and traveling to Oakland for the other.
After originally getting their bye in the final week of the regular season last year, the Patriots bye week comes in Week Seven in 2002. Six of the 13 teams New England with face were in the postseason a year ago, and the combined records of the teams was 105-103. Because of the realignment, Indianapolis is no longer in the same division and will not play the Patriots next season.
Here is the Patriots schedule for the 2002 season, with the nationally televised games in bold:
Monday, Sept. 9 PITTSBURGH 9 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 15 @ NY Jets 1 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 22 KANSAS CITY 1 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 29 @ San Diego 4:15 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 6 @ Miami 1 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 13 GREEN BAY 1 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 20 BYE
Sunday, Oct. 27 DENVER 4:15 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 3 @ Buffalo 1 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 10 @ Chicago 4:15 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 17 @ Oakland 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 24 MINNESOTA 1 p.m.
Thurs., Nov. 28 @ Detroit 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 8 BUFFALO 1 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 16 @ Tennessee 9 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 22 NY JETS 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 29 MIAMI 1 p.m.