Afternoon preseason game a rarity

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- About the only thing noteworthy about the Green Bay Packers' preseason schedule, which was released last month along with the entire regular-season schedule, was a rare afternoon exhibition game at the St. Louis Rams on Aug. 16.

The Packers had not played an afternoon preseason game since the 2006 finale against the Tennessee Titans.

Like the game against the Rams this summer, that game kicked off at 3 p.m. local time.

Just how rare are afternoon preseason games around the NFL? The league released the full preseason slate on Monday and there were only four games that start before 5 p.m. local time.

Two of them are in Week 2. A day after the Packers-Rams game, the Denver Broncos play at the San Francisco 49ers in a 1 p.m. local time start. In Week 3, the Buffalo Bills host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 4:30 p.m. local time, while the 49ers host the San Diego Chargers at 1 p.m.

The Rams decided on an afternoon kickoff because the St. Louis Cardinals play at home at 6:15 p.m. Given how big of a baseball town St. Louis is, the Rams probably felt they would draw a better crowd if they played earlier in the day rather than going head to head with the Cardinals.

The Rams' other home preseason game on Aug. 8 is a 7 p.m. start because the Cardinals are on the road at Baltimore that night.

As a reminder, here’s the Packers' full preseason schedule:

  • Aug. 9 at Tennessee, 7 p.m. CT

  • Aug. 16 at St. Louis, 3 p.m. CT

  • Aug. 22 vs. Oakland, 7 p.m. CT

  • Aug. 28 vs. Kansas City, 6 p.m. CT

The Packers have not announced their training camp schedule yet, but camp is expected to open on July 25. Teams can begin practicing 15 days before their preseason opener.