The NFL preseason will officially kick off on Thursday night with the annual Hall of Fame Game. A yearly tradition that coincides with the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the Hall of Fame Game will represent the NFL’s first live action since February.
Which teams will play in the Hall of Fame Game, and where you can watch Thursday’s contest? Let’s break down all the details you need to know.
What Is the NFL Hall of Fame Game?
The NFL Hall of Fame Game is an annual exhibition played the same weekend as the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s yearly ceremony. From 1971 to 2010, the game typically featured an AFC team squaring off against an NFC club. However, beginning in 2011, each squad has been tied to a player being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
When Is the NFL Hall of Fame Game in 2023?
- Date: Thursday, Aug. 3
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- Location: Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio
Who Is Playing in the Hall of Fame Game?
The New York Jets will face the Cleveland Browns in the 2023 Hall of Fame Game. Former Jets Darrelle Revis and Joe Klecko and ex-Brown Joe Thomas are among this year’s Hall of Fame inductees, so it makes sense that New York and Cleveland will be featured in the HOF game.
Neither the Jets nor the Browns have played in the Hall of Fame Game in several decades. Cleveland played in the HOF game after the Browns were reformed in 1999, while Gang Green was last involved in the contest in 1992.
NFL teams don’t typically make their best players suit up for the Hall of Fame Game, and Jets fans won’t get to see Aaron Rodgers’ debut in green on Thursday. Former No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson, Tim Boyle, and Chris Streveler are instead expected to see time under center for New York.
With running back Breece Hall recovering from a 2022 ACL tear and receiver Garrett Wilson nursing an ankle injury, the Jets will deploy their backup skill position players. In the backfield, fifth-round rookie Israel Abanikanda will attempt to push Michael Carter and Zonovan Knight for carries as Hall works his way back to the field.
Meanwhile, Deshaun Watson and Josh Dobbs — the Browns’ top two quarterbacks — will sit out of the Hall of Fame game, leaving Kellen Mond to start. Rookie signal-caller Dorian Thompson-Robinson is also expected to see time on Thursday night. Thompson-Robinson’s former high school teammate — third-round WR Cedric Tillman — will also be on the field as he attempts to fight for snaps in a crowded Cleveland receiver room.
What Channel Is the Hall of Fame Game On?
NBC will broadcast the 2023 Hall of Fame Game, with pre-game coverage beginning at 7 p.m. ET. The game will also be streamed on Peacock.
History of the Hall of Fame Game
The inaugural Hall of Fame Game was played in 1962. The Pro Football Hall of Fame officially opened the following year, and the second HOF game took place one day after the museum’s debut. In 1970, the NFL began playing the Hall of Fame Game at the start of the preseason.
The NFL has held a Hall of Fame Game in nearly every season since, but there have been exceptions. In 1966, the league did not play the HOF contest following the NFL-AFL merger. In 2011, the game was canceled as a result of the ongoing NFL lockout.
Five years later, poor field conditions forced the game to be wiped out. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic made the game untenable.
In 2022, the Hall of Fame Game was delayed due to inclement weather. The Jaguars and Raiders ended up getting the game going once conditions improved. Starting running back Josh Jacobs’ inclusion in the Hall of Fame Game was the primary storyline, while the Raiders’ quarterback tandem of Jarrett Stidham and Austin Walter eventually led Vegas to a 27-11 win.
Is the Hall of Fame Game Considered Preseason?
The Hall of Fame Game is considered an exhibition game like the rest of the preseason. The game is played one week before the rest of the league begins its preseason games. Therefore, the teams that play in the Hall of Fame Game will participate in four total preseason contests instead of the standard three.
Who Is Being Inducted into the HOF in 2023?
The Pro Football Hall of Fame will add nine individuals to its ranks in 2023:
- Ronde Barber, CB
- Don Coryell, Coach
- Chuck Howley, LB
- Joe Klecko, DL
- Darrelle Revis, CB
- Ken Riley, CB
- Joe Thomas, OT
- Zach Thomas, LB
- DeMarcus Ware, LB
Can You Bet on the Hall of Fame Game?
Yes, you can bet on the Hall of Fame Game just as you can wager on any NFL preseason game. Sportsbooks will offer game totals, over/unders, and bets on specific player performance for the Hall of Fame Game.