Chargers to open ’09 on Monday night

The NFL announced Monday that the Chargers will kickoff their 2009 season in Oakland against the rival Raiders as part of an ESPN Monday Night Football doubleheader on Monday, Sept. 14.

“Playing a division rival on national television is a great way to start our season,” Chargers President Dean Spanos said. “We’re excited about the opportunity for Chargers fans across the country to watch us kick off a tough schedule.”

The 2009 season marks the 50th anniversary of the American Football League, and four of the eight original AFL franchises will be celebrated in the doubleheader. The Patriots will host the Bills in the first half, and the Chargers and Raiders will follow with kickoff scheduled for approximately 7:15 p.m..

“The Chargers-Raiders rivalry is always a heated matchup,” Head Coach Norv Turner said. “Our fans always get a little extra excited when we play the Raiders, and this will be a great way for us to get things going.”

The game marks the second time in four years that the Chargers have opened their season on Monday night in Oakland. They began their 2006 campaign with a 27-0 victory against the Raiders in Philip Rivers’ first start of his career. The 2009 opener will provide the Chargers with a chance to run their current win streak over the Raiders to 12 games.

The Chargers’ trip to Oakland in 2006 began a tradition of Monday Night Football doubleheaders in Week 1, and this season will be the third time the Raiders have hosted the West Coast portion of the event. Last season, Oakland dropped a 41-14 decision to the Broncos in Kickoff Weekend.

The rest of the NFL schedule will be released sometime next month. In addition their annual AFC West slate, the Chargers will host the Redskins, Eagles, Dolphins, Bengals and Ravens. Away games in ’09 include matchups against the Giants, Cowboys, Browns, Steelers, Titans and the AFC West.

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