For the last 10 years, the NFL season has begun in prime time on the Thursday after Labor Day. And on the last eight occasions, the chance to host that game has been awarded to the defending Super Bowl champion.

The NFL has confirmed that all but one of those trends will continue in 2012, with the Giants hosting an opponent to be named later at MetLife Stadium in prime time on NBC.

The difference? This year’s opener will be contested on a Wednesday evening, making it the first game in modern NFL history to take place on hump day.

Why? Politics, of course. Or more accurately, smart business or respect for the President of the United States or some combination of those factors.

The game is being played a day earlier to avoid a conflict with Barack Obama‚Äôs Thursday night speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. And in an election year, that’ll undoubtedly draw a particularly large national audience.

This way, NBC keeps POTUS happy while ensuring that the ratings for its opener won’t be in any way diminished by silly real-word stuff like presidential speeches.

The only vexed party? The Republicans, surely.