By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
ORLANDO, March 27 -- The Washington Redskins will host the Minnesota Vikings in the first Monday night game of the 2006 NFL season, the league announced Monday.
The game is scheduled for Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. at FedEx Field and will be televised by ESPN, which is taking over the Monday night package from ABC. The game is part of a Monday night doubleheader that will conclude with a San Diego at Oakland game at 10:15 on ESPN.
"It's always great for your fans and great for your players when you get to play a national TV game in front of your crowd," Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs said at the league meeting. "For the coaches, it's hypertension. I don't particularly like it, but I know the fans do. We're going to have a tough schedule. I'm not happy about opening up against a tough opponent like Minnesota. But I learned a long time ago it doesn't do any good to complain."
The league announced that the Miami Dolphins will play at Pittsburgh in the season opener at 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 7 on NBC. The first Sunday night game will have the New York Giants hosting the Indianapolis Colts at 8:15 p.m. Sept. 10. That game will pit Colts quarterback Peyton Manning against his younger brother, Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
There will be a Thanksgiving tripleheader, culminating with Denver playing at Kansas City at 8 p.m. on the NFL Network. That will follow the traditional Thanksgiving games at Detroit and Dallas with the Lions hosting the Dolphins at 12:30 and the Cowboys hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 4:15.
The rest of the regular season schedule will be announced in April.
Note: The competition committee plans to recommend to owners Tuesday that they crack down on touchdown celebrations during games. Players would not be allowed to lie on the ground during a celebration or use the ball as a prop other than spiking it, spinning it or dunking it over the goal post. Many of the celebrations that have drawn attention to wide receivers Chad Johnson, Steve Smith and Terrell Owens would draw unsportsmanlike conduct penalties if the proposal gets the necessary 24 votes among the 32 owners.
"Individual celebration is on the verge of getting out of hand," said Tennessee Coach Jeff Fisher, co-chairman of the committee.