|**DATE:**||Sunday, September 3, 2000|
|**SITE:**||Foxboro Stadium (60,292) - Grass|
|**TIME:**||1:00 p.m., EDT|
|**TELEVISION:**||This week's game will be broadcast nationally on FOX (locally on WFXT Channel 25 in Boston). Ray Bentley will provide the play-by-play detail and will be joined by broadcast partner Ron Pitts.|
|**RADIO:**||WBCN's Rock Radio Network 104.1 FM. Gil Santos, who enters his 24th season as voice of the Patriots, will call the action along with Gino Cappelletti. The tandem is entering their 17th season together.|
The New England Patriots open the 2000 regular season on Sunday, Sept. 3 by hosting the defending NFC Central Division Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It will be the second time the Patriots have hosted the Buccaneers in two weeks. Tampa Bay won the first contest on Aug. 20, a 31-21 decision in the Patriots fourth preseason game.
It will be the third consecutive year that the Patriots have kicked off their regular season against a defending division champion. In 1998, the Patriots opened against the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos and last season they opened in New York against the Jets.
This week's game will be just the third regular season home opener hosted by the Patriots in the last 10 years. The last time they hosted a regular season opener was in 1997. That year, they defeated the San Diego Chargers, 41-7. In 1995, the Patriots hosted the Cleveland Browns in the season opener and claimed a 17-14 victory with a touchdown in the final seconds of the game.
Overall, the Patriots are 19-21 in their season openers, 12-11 at home. Recently, the Patriots have been phenomenal in Foxboro during the opening month of the season. Since 1996, they are 10-0 in Foxboro Stadium during the opening month (first four games) of the regular season. Their last loss at home during the opening month of the season was a 20-3 loss to the Miami Dolphins in 1995 (9/10/95).
Head Coach Bill Belichick won back-to-back season openers in Cleveland in 1993 and 1994, but his loss to the Patriots in 1995 dropped his season-opening record to 2-3.
The Patriots opened the preseason with victories over San Francisco and Detroit in their first two games before being dealt losses at Washington and at home vs. Tampa Bay. With a 29-21 victory over the Carolina Panthers in their fifth and final preseason game, the Patriots completed their 2000 preseason with a 3-2 record. The last five times the Patriots completed the preseason with a winning record they have gone on to qualify for the playoffs.