Jon Gruden spent the last nine NFL seasons working in a booth for Monday Night Football. The new Oakland Raiders' leader kicks off his return to coaching on the same program. This time from the sidelines.
It's coincidentally funny that we know Gruden will return to MNF before ESPN selected his booth replacement.
Gruden's celebrated return to coaching is perfect for the final game to wrap up Week 1. The former Super Bowl victor will begin the opening chapter of his coaching comeback against the 2017 NFC West champion and in-state rival Rams. There is zero doubt the Black Hole will be off the chain for the matchup.
L.A. spent the offseason importing an array of weaponry to join an already star-studded nucleus. The Rams added Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib and Brandin Cooks to a corps of Aaron Donald, Todd Gurley and Jared Goff. The all-in Rams seemed destined to begin their 2018 campaign in prime time.
Let's take a gander at the rest of the Opening Week prime-time slate:
The Super Bowl champs host a rematch of last season's divisional-round tilt. Will Carson Wentz be ready to play by Week 1 or will Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles continue to steer the ship?
New Chicago coach Matt Nagy gets a taste of this NFC North rivalry right out of the gate as he attempts to jumpstart a hibernating Bears offense and groom Mitchell Trubisky into a franchise signal-caller. SNF will be the setting for Aaron Rodgers' return to the field after a collarbone injury wiped out his last campaign. It's also the first time in a decade Rodgers will do so without Jordy Nelson wearing Packers' green.
The NFL is going big on Nagy's Bears out of the gate with the opening SNF tilt and following that up with a MNF game at Soldier Field vs. the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2. The Bears will also play Thanksgiving in Detroit at a 12:30 p.m. ET kickoff on CBS.
Matt Patricia opens his tenure as the Lions head coach facing a team he's vastly familiar with after 14 years with the New England Patriots in the AFC East. Could New York be launching a new era in prime time with a rookie quarterback selected No. 3 overall in next week's draft?