From the AP:

The 2006 NFL season most likely will start in Pittsburgh on Sept. 7, keeping with a recent trend of beginning the schedule with the current Super Bowl champion.

The NFL also is considering an ESPN doubleheader for the opening Monday night on Sept. 11, one beginning at 6 p.m. Eastern time and the second at 9 p.m., NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Monday. He added that the league is still open to a game overseas for 2006, perhaps in London’s Wembley Stadium.

The new schedule will be disclosed in April, although some games, such as the opener, may be announced earlier.

The Sept. 7 game will be the fifth straight Thursday opener. The first was in 2002 when San Francisco was at the New York Giants, in part to commemorate the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The following season, the New York Jets were at Washington in the game in what was also considered a game honoring the two cities hit by the attacks.

I’m fully in favor of a MNF opener from Wembley — not only will this provide Hank Williams Jr. with any number of new lyrical inspirations, but the likely prospect of Tony Kornheiser getting stuck in traffic on the North Circular could be the hottest autumn topic on “PTI”.