Thursday, April 15, 2004


No holiday for
4 NFL teams

The league's two Christmas Day
games mean the Hawaii Bowl
will be played Christmas Eve

NEW YORK >> Christmas Day will be a holiday for most of the NFL -- but not for three of the four teams in the AFC West.

The NFL schedule, released yesterday, has two Christmas games -- Oakland at Kansas City and Denver at Tennessee. They will begin at noon and 3:30 p.m. Hawaii time, respectively.

The contests will follow a Christmas Eve game featuring two NFC Central teams: Green Bay at Minnesota, starting at 10 a.m.

Because of the NFL games on Christmas, the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl played at Aloha Stadium and televised by ESPN will probably be moved to Christmas Eve, the game's executive director said yesterday. The two-year-old bowl game has featured the University of Hawaii against a Conference USA opponent and was played on Christmas both years.

"There's all kinds of logic to move it to Christmas Eve. It's a day off for two-thirds of the people in Hawaii," Jim Donovan said. "I talked with my bosses today, and ESPN is still trying to decide, so we can't confirm it yet. But I stick with my earlier statement that it's 90 percent the game will be on Christmas Eve."

The highlights of the NFL's opening week were announced two weeks ago with Indianapolis opening the season at New England on Thursday, Sept. 9 in a replay of last season's AFC title game. The first Monday night game will be Green Bay at Carolina, which lost to the Patriots in last season's Super Bowl.

As usual, the Thanksgiving games will be in Detroit and Dallas.

The Lions host the Colts at 7:30 a.m., then Chicago visits the Cowboys in a game starting at 11:15 a.m.

The schedule was announced for the first time on the NFL Network, which began broadcasting last November.


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