On Saturday, this year's class will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But first, two teams of current NFL players will kick off the 2019 preseason.
The exhibition schedule gets underway Thursday night when the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons face off in this year's Hall of Fame Game, which takes place at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium next to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
The Broncos and Falcons will each play five preseason games because the Hall of Fame Game is an extra contest before the four-week preseason schedule begins.
Here's how to watch the Hall of Fame Game as well as what to expect from the exhibition contest.
Hall of Fame Game Information
Date: Thursday, Aug. 1
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live
For fans wanting to see starters in action, the Hall of Fame Game won't be the time for that. However, it does signal the return of competitive NFL football and will feature Broncos and Falcons players who are battling to earn a roster spot this preseason.
There will also be some rookie debuts, most notably Denver quarterback Drew Lock, who was selected in the second round of the 2019 NFL draft after playing the past four seasons at Missouri.
He could be the Broncos' quarterback of the future, and while it's unlikely he'll start this year, it will be exciting to see him officially begin his pro career on Thursday night.
"Once you're on the field, you go play the game, but in the end, it takes time to mature as a quarterback in the NFL," Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello said, according to the Denver Post's Ryan O'Halloran. "There are no shortcuts."
While some may feel the NFL preseason is too long, these two teams will use the extra exhibition game to evaluate their backup players and allow them to have an additional chance to develop in a game setting.
"We're very excited to go and get a chance to visit the Hall," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter. "It's a huge opportunity and a huge advantage for both Denver and us to get a chance to play more of the younger players. Why not take advantage of that?"
The Broncos and Falcons are in similar positions entering the 2019 season as both look to get back to the playoffs. Since winning Super Bowl 50, Denver has missed the postseason each of the past three years. Meanwhile, Atlanta, which played in Super Bowl 51, also missed the playoffs last season.
Both of these teams have veteran quarterbacks—Denver's Joe Flacco and Atlanta's Matt Ryan—and have reason to believe that this season will be better than last year.
And while Thursday's Hall of Fame Game won't give a great indication of where these teams stand entering the new season, it will showcase both teams' depth and perhaps highlight some players who could make an impact down the line.