The exhibition season begins with a rare road game at Lucas Oil Stadium against the defending AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts, on Sunday, August 15th, at 1 p.m. local time (10 a.m. Pacific). It will be televised on the CBS network. Usually, if teams are playing this far from home in the preseason, it's because the game is being held in another country, but the rest of exhibition schedule will more than make up for this inconvenience, as the 49ers won't have to board another plane until their regular season opener at Seattle on September 12th.
The contest doesn't figure to hold too much intrigue for 49ers fans as Colts QB Peyton Manning probably won't play more than a few snaps in the preseason opener, but it will be our first chance to see rookies such as linemen Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati, as well as safety Taylor Mays. We'll likely also new veteran acquisitions like Ted Ginn, David Carr, Travis LaBoy and Karl Paymah.
A week later, Sunday, August 22nd, the Niners will play a nationally televised home game against the Minnesota Vikings, at 5 p.m. on NBC. The Candlestick faithful will get their first glimpse of the team and probably local boy Toby Gerhart as well, since the Stanford running back was drafted by the Vikings in the second round over the weekend. I'm guessing when the folks at the peacock network scheduled this game, it was with the expectations that they'll be seeing a certain quarterback play, and I don't mean Nate Davis.
On Saturday, August 28th, the boys will board the buses for the short ride across the bay to take on the Raiders at Oakland-Alemada County Stadium, where the game will be scheduled to kickoff at 6 p.m. and televised on CBS. The third preseason game is the one that all teams take the most seriously, so we can expect at least a half from the starters on both sides. For the 49ers defense that means they'll be chasing around quarterback Jason Campbell, whom the Silver-and-Black traded for over the weekend. Campbell of course became available once the Washington Redskins traded for Donovan McNabb, who Oakland also had interest in.
Finally, the preseason schedule will conclude, in a game none of the front-line players will participate in, on Thursday, September 2nd at Candlestick Park against the San Diego Chargers. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. and again, CBS will have the honors. One, maybe two roster spots will be up for grabs by this point, but the game will have Super Bowl-level importance to the guys in question fighting for jobs.
That will be the sell-job by the advertising people anyway..