The NFL buried its best Week 1 matchup, Dolphins-Chargers, in an afternoon slot

The NFL buried its best Week 1 matchup, Dolphins-Chargers, in an afternoon slot

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Tua Tagovailoa (left) and Justin Herbert could put on a show. If only people could see it.
Image: AP

Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season is finally upon us, and the most intriguing matchup based on what will happen on the field won’t even be available for most fans to watch live. The Miami Dolphins travel to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers in a battle of two No. 1 picks from the 2020 draft. Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert were selected fifth and sixth respectively out of that class and will be forever linked. If Tagovailoa can recapture the momentum he built up last year, this could be a high-scoring thrill ride. Herbert is equally capable of making sparks fly in a game like this. And you can catch it… buried alongside four other games in a 4:25 ET slot.

Looking at the Week 1 slate, there aren’t a ton of key matchups to look forward to. It’ll be exciting because it’s the start of the season, but this game should be played on a bigger stage. Obviously Chargers at Dolphins won’t be in the league-opening Thursday night slot, nor is it a bigger deal than Aaron Rodgers’ Jets debut on Monday night. On merit, though, Tua vs. Herbert deserves the Sunday night slot over Cowboys at Giants. But it’s the Cowboys, so good luck talking NBC out of that.

Regardless, Chargers-Dolphins will likely be the game everyone is discussing Monday morning. You know Herbert will be slinging it all over the field, and with all the weapons for Tua in Miami, it’d be shocking if both teams don’t score well into the 30s.

At one point last season, Tua was considered in the MVP race before multiple concussions sidelined him. Herbert only threw 25 touchdowns in ’22, but he was also dealing with a rib injury for most of the season. The year prior, Herbert passed for 38 TDs and over 5,000 yards. So, this should be one of those games where we’re saying “wow” every other play.

During the first two years of their careers, the consensus by most was that the Dolphins missed on the Tagovailoa pick and should’ve selected Herbert. Judging by those first two years, it’s hard not to agree with that sentiment. Tua finally had a breakout season under head coach Mike McDaniel. Tagovailoa produced his best season by far and even missed four games.

There’s a great storyline here, and two of the more exciting young QBs featured this week should be in prime time. We get why the Dallas Cowboys-New York Giants are in the Sunday Night Football slot. The New York Jets/Aaron Rodgers storyline has them playing on Monday Night Football to open the season against the Bills, which should be a good game. Despite all that, Herbert v. Tua will blow them all away.

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.