Chargers at Raiders on MNF to open '06

The Chargers will kick off the 2006 NFL season on Monday Night Football.

One of the NFL's oldest rivalries will meet for the 94th time on Monday, Sept. 11 when the San Diego Chargers descend upon the "Black Hole" to face their arch rival, the Oakland Raiders. The nationally-televised ESPN Monday Night Football showdown kicks off at 7:15 PST and is the second of two Monday Night games that opens the league's first regularly-scheduled Monday Night Football doubleheader. The first game will feature the Minnesota Vikings at the Washington Redskins.

"I love it," said Dean Spanos, Chargers' President and CEO. "What a way to open the season … in prime time against the Raiders. I know both the team and the fans will be up for that game and ready for the challenge."

The last time San Diego kicked off the NFL's schedule on prime time was Sunday, September 4, 1994 against another AFC West rival, the Denver Broncos. The Chargers handed the Broncos a 37-34 defeat in front of a national audience, and a crowd of 74,032 at Mile High Stadium.

Prior to that, the Chargers opened the NFL's schedule on national television on Monday, Sept. 7, 1981 when they defeated the Cleveland Browns, 44-14.

The contest will mark the sixth time in franchise history that the Chargers have opened against the Raiders, the last being in 2000. San Diego's last nationally-televised ESPN match-up against Oakland was on Sunday, December 4, 2005 at Qualcomm Stadium. The Bolts beat the Raiders, 34-10, marking the team's fifth consecutive win over their arch rivals.

"It's definitely an honor and a privilege to be able to open the season on Monday Night Football, especially playing against a rival like the Raiders," Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson said. "It's going to be a crazy environment. Part of me wishes we were playing it tomorrow."

The NFL will release the remainder of the schedule in coming weeks.


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