The Bengals will open the 2000 regular season at the new Paul Brown Stadium on Sun., Sept. 10, at 1 p.m. against the Cleveland Browns. The opener was announced today by the NFL office, along with the rest of the 2000 schedule.
Cincinnati gets its bye for the 2000 season during Week 1 (games of Sept. 3-4), gaining an extra week to prepare for the Browns in the "Battle of Ohio" rivalry. The Bengals had requested that Cleveland be the opponent for the first game in the new stadium, since the late Paul Brown, one of pro football's most revered figures, was the founder and first head coach of both franchises.
"It's fitting that we open the regular season in this fashion," said Bengals president Mike Brown. "There will be a real sense of history added to the start of a new era for our franchise. It promises to be a memorable day for football fans across the state and our region."
The Bengals swept their two-game series against the Browns last season, and can square the all-time Battle of Ohio series at 27- 27 with a victory in the opener.
As previously announced, the preseason home opener and first scheduled action for the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium will be Sat., Aug. 19, at 7:30 p.m. against the Chicago Bears. Cincinnati will also play in the preseason at home on Fri., Aug. 25 at 7:30 p.m. vs. Detroit. The preseason opener will be on Fri, Aug. 4 at Buffalo at 7:30 p.m.
After the regular season opener, Coach Bruce Coslet's squad will play two road games, Sept. 17 at Jacksonville and Sept. 24 at Baltimore, before returning home to face Miami at 4:05 p.m. on Oct. 1.
The first four regular season home games will be against Cleveland, Miami, Tennessee (on Oct. 8) and Denver (on Oct. 22).
"It's a very attractive start at the new stadium, with some marquee match-ups that our fans should enjoy," said Mike Brown. "The appeal of the Cleveland game is self-evident, Miami is a traditional playoff team, Denver should be strong with the return of Terrell Davis, and Tennessee is the defending AFC champion."
It has been 5 years since the Miami Dolphins visited Cincinnati, during the 1995 season.
The Bengals will have a chance to make an early statement in the AFC Central Division race, playing five of their first six games against divisional foes.