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NFL's Week One Not A Weak One

Gerald Ford is shown as a football player at the University of Michigan.
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The 2000 NFL season gets underway with a bang, not a whimper in Week One.

The marquee game takes place on the league’s marquee night – Monday night – when the winners of the last three Super Bowls square off.

The Denver Broncos, winners of Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII, travel to St. Louis to play the reigning world champion Rams.

The Broncos are trying to get off the mat after a disappointing 6-10 season in 1999.

"Anybody who knows football knows the Rams have a high-powered offense and they go out and make plays," said Broncos linebacker Al Wilson. "It’s that simple. But we know our talents and what we can do. And we're very confident going into the game."

While there wasn’t much of turnover personnel-wise for the Rams, there was a significant change at the top as Mike Martz takes over for Dick Vermiel as head coach.

While the team’s performance will be the ultimate indicator, the transition hasn’t been difficult.

"It’s Gone very smoothly; especially for myself knowing Coach Martz and getting to go know him like I did last year," said Rams quarterback Kurt Warner. "I think our philosophy stayed the same from an offensive/defensive standpoint. We go about things the same way."

Perhaps the most traumatic upheaval for St. Louis entering the season is a change in their uniforms. But they seem to be taking that in stride as well.

"They’re beautiful, wonderful," said Rams tight end Roland Williams of the new uniforms. "It’s got a nice contemporary 2000 flavor to it. This is the perfect kind of uniform for a world championship team."

Last season’s AFC representative in the Super Bowl, the Tennessee Titans, face the team they eliminated from the playoffs in one of the most bizarre and thrilling finishes anyone could imagine.

The Titans head to Buffalo knowing the unforgettable cross-field lateral kickoff return play is burned into the Bills memory.

While Titans running back Eddie George knows the Bills have a special reason to be gunning for Tennessee, he also realizes that his team has gone from being a hunter to being the hunted in the AFC.

"We have to go out and just focus on being a dominant football team week in and week out. And let everything fall where it may. George said. "I think when we start to focus on being in the playoffs and the chapionship is around November or December, but right now we are just focused on starting off fast and putting together a dominant football team that is tough to deal with week-in, week-out."

In other opening game action:

  • A re-tooled, star-studded Washington Redskins team hosts Carolina on the heels of signing running back Stephen Davis to a lucrative, long-term contract. There is a lot of pressure on the ‘Skins and coach Norv Turner to perform this season and nobody has higher expectations than owner Daniel Snyder.
  • The Miami Dolphins have won their past eight season openers, and with a victory over the Seattle Seahawks on opening weekend will tie the Chicago Bears for the third-longest streak of season-opening victories in NFL history. The Bears won nine in a row from 1984-92.

    The Dallas Cowboys won an NFL-record 17 consecutive openers from 1965-81. The Detroit Lions won 10 in a row from 1930-39.

  • An improved Philadelphia Eagles travel to Dallas for another renewal of their bitter rivalry with the Cowboys.
  • The New England Patriots and New York Giants will also take the field in new uniforms this season.

    Produced by John Esterbrook