The 2017 National Football League season gets off to an explosive start on Thursday in a showdown that will live stream from Foxborough, Massachusetts, as the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots open their quest for a sixth NFL championship by taking on the 2016 AFC West-winning Kansas City Chiefs. But the real action may take place in the stands as fans will be waving “clown towels,” ridiculing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
So what will NBC, which pays approximately $45 million per game to broadcast and live stream NFL Thursday Nighy Football, do about the towels which risk offending their business partner, the NFL and its chief, Goodell? The only way to find out will be to watch the game. Information on how to access a live stream of the Chiefs vs. Patriots 2017 NFL opening game can be found at the bottom of this article.
Goodell is widely loathed in New England for his handling of the so-called “DeflateGate” affair, which led to the Patriots’ future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady suffering a four-game suspension at the beginning of last season.
The towels, a reported 70,000 of them, are the brainchild of Dave Portnoy, president of the iconoclastic New England sports web site Barstool Sports. Portnoy plans to hand out the towels to fans during tailgate parties outside Gillette Stadium prior to the game.
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) August 30, 2017
But there will also, of course, be action on the field as the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots each try to start the season in the win column — in a season when many football experts have predicted not only another Super Bowl title for the Patriots, but an unprecedented, undefeated 19-0 season.
Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 5:30 p.m. Pacific, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, on Thursday, September 7. The Thursday night season kickoff game, which was first played in 2002, has featured the defending Super Bowl champion each year since 2004. That Patriots have played in three such games after winning Super Bowl titles — and have won them all.
But the Patriots this time around are missing two of their key players who suffered season-ending injuries in preseason play. Wide receiver Julian Edelman and cornerback Cyrus Jones will both be absent for the Chiefs game — and for every other game this season.
Watch a preview of the Chiefs vs. Patriots game, from the perspective of the New England media, in the video below.
Another question for the Patriots will be Brady himself, and whether he will finally show signs of aging. He starts the season having turned 40-years-old on August 3, making Brady only the eighth quarterback in NFL history to play a game while past the age of 40.
To watch a live stream of the Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots NFL season opener on Thursday, go to NBC Sports Live Extra at this link. NBC Sports Live Extra is also available on mobile devices and set top devices such as the Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV.
[Featured Image By Steven Senne/AP Images]