Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals will open the 2014 season at home on "Monday Night Football" against the Chargers.
Ten wins gets you attention – and added exposure on national TV.
That was clear Wednesday when the NFL released its 2014 schedule, and the Cardinals are scheduled to appear in three prime-time games: The "Monday Night Football" regular-season opener at home against San Diego Sept. 8, a "Thursday Night Football" appearance in St. Louis Dec. 11 and then a "Sunday Night Football" showdown at University of Phoenix Stadium against Seattle Dec. 21.
It's the first time the Cards have had three nationally televised games since 2009, when the team split four appearances given after their Super Bowl year – wins on Sunday night against the Giants and Vikings, a Sunday night loss to the Colts and a Monday night loss to the 49ers.
Coach Bruce Arians had been hoping for multiple national TV games when he spoke about the impending schedule release.
"I think our play spoke for itself the second half of the season," Arians said, and the networks
That doesn't include the preseason "Sunday Night Football" game the Cardinals will host against Cincinnati.
The Cards' first road game comes in Week 2, when they travel to New York to play the Giants. Then comes a home game against San Francisco Sept. 28 before the Cardinals receive an early bye weekend.
After the bye, the Cardinals visit Denver to face Peyton Manning and the Broncos Oct. 5 and then host Robert Griffin III and the Redskins Oct. 12. That month closes with a trip to Oakland Oct. 19 and a home date against Philadelphia Oct. 26.
A road game at Dallas begins November before back-to-back home games against St. Louis and Detroit Nov. 9 and 16. The difficult game in Seattle is Nov. 23, followed by a road trip to Atlanta Nov. 30.
December begins with the Kansas City Chiefs visiting University of Phoenix Stadium, followed by three straight against the NFC West to close the season. There are the TV games at the Rams and home against the Seahawks. The season ends for yet another year against the 49ers, this time in the Cardinals' inaugural visit to brand-new Levi's Stadium.
The Seahawks' game on NBC is subject to flex scheduling, which allows the Sunday night game to be changed to a more attractive matchup if needed. In an interesting twist, the NFL has adjusted its flex scheduling abilities this year. Previously, games could be flexed into "Sunday Night Football" only from Week 11 on. Now it can start Week 5, although only two games total can be flexed between Weeks 5 and 10.
The Cards' opener against the Chargers makes sense, given that the league has held Monday night doubleheaders on opening weekend the past few years and needs a game in the West for a late kickoff. The Giants will visit the Lions in the "Monday Night Football" early game Sept. 8, with the Cards and Chargers getting started at 7:20 p.m.
"(The release) is a little bit late for me," Arians said. "I wish we would have known already. But it is what it is. We'll play it."
For ticket information, fans can visit to azcardinals.com/tickets online or call 602-379-0102. Availability of single game tickets won't be until later in the summer.
PRESEASON SCHEDULE ALSO SET
The Cardinals also finalized the final two dates and times of their preseason schedule. The Cards open at home against Houston Aug. 9 at 5:30 p.m., travel to Minnesota Aug. 16 at 5:30 p.m., host the Bengals in a "Sunday Night Football" telecast Aug. 24 at 5 p.m., and then close out the preseason against the Chargers Aug. 28 at 7 p.m.
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