Football is back. Well, preseason football at least.
While Eagles fans will have to wait another week for the team’s preseason debut against the Tennessee Titans, the NFL preseason officially kicks off Thursday night with the annual Hall of Fame game, featuring the Denver Broncos taking on the Atlanta Falcons at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. Denver Broncos vs Atlanta Falcons
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The Broncos and the Falcons have appeared four times each in the annual preseason game, which dates back to 1962. The Eagles have also played in the Hall of Fame game four times, most recently in 2006, where the Jeff Garcia-led Birds lost to the Oakland Raiders, 16-10. Denver Broncos vs Atlanta Falcons
One quirk of playing in the Hall of Fame game is that both the Broncos and the Falcons will end up playing five exhibition games, since the match-up is scheduled a week before the league’s four-week preseason begins. As a result, many starters aren’t expected to see the field at all Thursday night, including Falcons receiver Julio Jones, who told reporters he won’t play during the preseason. Denver Broncos vs Atlanta Falcons
Calling the game will be longtime play-by-play announcer Al Michaels, returning for his 13th season with NBC and his 34th season as the voice of the NFL’s top primetime package. Joining Michaels will be longtime analyst and self-professed Eagles Cris Collinsworth and sideline reporter Michele Tafoya. Denver Broncos vs Atlanta Falcons
In addition to Thursday’s game, NBC will also air an Aug. 25 preseason match-up between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans. That game takes place the third week of the preseason, so viewers can expect to see most starters on the field through at least the first quarter.
NBC10 will air two specials ahead of the game. Eagles Year in Review will air at 7 p.m., followed by the network’s 2019 Eagles season preview at 7:30 p.m.
NBC’s telecast of Thursday’s preseason game will feature interviews with several members of this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame class. Football Night in America analyst and Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy will will join Michaels and Collinsworth in the booth during the second half of tonight’s game.
Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2019
There will soon be eight new members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This year’s enshrinement ceremony will take place Saturday, Aug. 3, at 7 p.m., and will be televised by both ESPN and the NFL Network. Here is the list of this year’s inductees:
Champ Bailey, cornerback, Washington Redskins (1999-2003), Denver Broncos (2004-2013)
Pat Bowlen, owner, Denver Broncos (1984-present)
Gil Brandt, executive, Dallas Cowboys (1960-1988) Denver Broncos vs Atlanta Falcons
Tony Gonzalez, tight end, Kansas City Chiefs (1997-2008), Atlanta Falcons (2009-2013)
Ty Law, cornerback, New England Patriots (1995-2004), New York Jets (2005, 2008), Kansas City Chiefs (2006-2007), Denver Broncos (2009)
Kevin Mawae, center, Seattle Seahawks (1994-1997), New York Jets (1998-2005), Tennessee Titans (2006-2009)
Ed Reed, safety, Baltimore Ravens (2002-2012), Houston Texans (2013), New York Jets (2013)
Johnny Robinson, safety, Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs (1960-1971) Denver Broncos vs Atlanta Falcons