The NFL season finally gets started Thursday night, a later-than-usual beginning to the season.
It’s not only opening night for Pittsburgh and Tennessee, it’s also the official opening night for the man replacing John Madden on NBC’s NFL telecasts.
The Pittsburgh Steelers ended the last NFL season by winning their sixth Super Bowl.
Thursday night, they open the season in pursuit of number seven, hosting the Tennessee Titans.
"There still isn't anything that replaces the thrill of going to the stadium on game day,” says NBC’s new NFL analyst Cris Collinsworth.
For Collinsworth, it’s his first official regular season game since taking over for retired Hall of Famer John Madden.
"I hope nobody thinks that anybody can replace John Madden. He's the greatest that's ever been and will ever be, but I'm working with a pretty good guy over there, too. So I think we'll carry on just fine,” Collinsworth says.
‘That guy’ would be Collinworth’s broadcast partner play-by-play man Al Michaels.
"I don't think people should expect Cris to be like John. He's his own man. Cris is really terrific and when this is all said and done, he's going to have a legacy that's pretty terrific as well,” Michaels says.
As for the odds of Pittsburgh repeating as Super Bowl champs, Michaels long ago gave up trying to predict the NFL.
"I've learned when somebody tells you to buy a stock, I usually short the stock. No one knows any more than you or I know,” Michaels says.
That’s why they play the games, starting Thursday night on 11 News at 6 p.m.
Programming note: Jeopardy is scheduled to air on 11 News at 9:30 p.m. Thursday at the end of the football game. If the game runs long, we will join Jeopardy in-progress. 11 News at 10 p.m. will air starting at 10 p.m.
Wheel of Fortune will not be aired Thursday night. We apologize for any inconvenience.