NFL Kickoff 2014: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Seattle Seahawks Cheerleaders

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The NFL is finally back.

The season begins Thursday night when the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks host the Green Bay Packers, and in typical NFL fashion, the game will be accompanied by a host of festivities including a pregame concert.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. Pharrell & Soundgarden Will Perform Before the Game & Ariana Grande Will Sing the National Anthem

(Getty)

(Getty)

Pharrell Williams and Soundgarden, which are from Seattle, will perform at a free concert held outside Seattle’s CenturyLink Field. Meanwhile, Ariana Grande (pictured) will sing the national anthem.


2. The Last Time These Teams Met, it Ended the Referee Lockout


Ridiculous Call at Greenbay Packers vs Seattle Seahawks Game HD 9/24/12 – akaviking14Comment, like, share and subscribe! Horrible and questionable call made by the replacement referees. The Packers obviously caught the ball and had the most possession, but the call was given to Golden Tate from the Seattle Seahawks. Worst call ever made in the history of NFL football. Melvin Delaine Jennings should have intercepted the ball.…2012-09-25T04:00:09Z

The last time these two teams played, it was one of the more controversial games in recent history, and essentially ended the NFL referee lockout.

When the “touchdown” pass from Russell Wilson to Golden Tate, tabbed the Inaccurate Reception, was ruled in Seattle’s favor, the league scrambled to end the referee lockout. Prior to that, the replacement officials had made several questionable calls, but none were as bad as when Tate tackled the Green Bay cornerback who clearly intercepted the ball in the end zone, but it was somehow ruled a touchdown.

That controversy was back in Week 3 of the 2012 season, and despite both teams reaching the playoffs the last two seasons, they haven’t met since.


3. Green Bay’s Center Will Be Making First Start

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

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Corey Linsley will start at center for the Green Bay Packers without having had a single snap with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (pictured) in preseason play.

That’s not the easiest assignment, as CenturyLink Field is widely considered the loudest NFL stadium.

The Packers’ starter at center, JC Tretter, sustained a fracture to his left knee during an Aug. 22 preseason game against the Oakland Raiders.

And Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin can’t help but feel sorry for the new Green Bay center.

“I’m going to pray for him,” Irvin told reporters Tuesday. “It’s going to be a long night, man. We’ve got to just take advantage of it.”


4. Seattle Is a 6-point favorite

Marshawn Lynch

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According to Bodava, Seattle is a six-point favorite. Meanwhile, the game’s total is sitting at 46½ points.


5. This Will Be NBC’s Lone Thursday Night Game

Jay-Z, Rihanna

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This week’s Seattle-Green Bay matchup will be the lone Thursday Night Football game broadcast on NBC. Starting with next week’s game between Pittsburgh and Baltimore, CBS and the NFL Network will televise Thursday Night Football games.

After this week’s game, the opening theme song will feature musical artists Jay-Z and Rihanna singing “Run This Town,” while actor Don Cheadle will narrate a customized preview of that night’s game.

“This open combines one of music’s biggest stars with one of the most dynamic actors in Hollywood,” said CBS Sports creative director Pete Radovich, who directed and produced the theme, via the NFL. “The energy that both talents provide gives the opening to every Thursday night the big-game, primetime feel it deserves. It is a dream scenario for any director.”

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