PALM BEACH, Fla., March 29 (UPI) -- The NFL said Monday the Superbowl Champion New England Patriots will host the Indianapolis Colts Sept. 9 to open the league's 2004 schedule.
The Thursday game was one of four season-openers announced at the annual league meeting, which runs through Wednesday. The others are Dallas at Minnesota and Kansas City at Denver Sunday, Sept. 12, and Carolina at Green Bay Monday, Sept. 13.
During this week's sessions, the NFL is expected to toughen penalties on players who overdo their touchdown celebrations.
Players who engaged in excessive celebrations have been fined, and the league now is considering automatic yardage penalties.
"I don't think players want to see 15 yards thrown on their team as a penalty and come to the sidelines and face their coach," said Rich McKay, co-chairman of the Competition Committee.
Also, Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has called for penalties against players who take foreign objects onto the field.
The NFL also kmay make "instant replay" a permanent part of the game instead of continuing it on a trial basis. A proposal to revamp the playoff format -- adding two more teams -- is among other matters on the agenda.