NATIONALLY TELEVISED GAMES HEADLINE 2009 SCHEDULE
- The Green Bay Packers' regular-season schedule – containing five nationally televised games – was released early this evening by the National Football League.
- The Packers will play each of their NFC North opponents in front of a national audience, including a primetime opener in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field and a Thanksgiving game in Detroit against the Lions in Week 12.
- Green Bay also will travel to Minnesota to take on the rival Vikings in Week 4 for the first of two appearances on Monday Night Football.
- "It's great to see that the NFL and our network partners feel strongly about the national appeal and popularity of the Packers, with five of our games slated for national broadcasts," President and CEO Mark Murphy said. "For those taking in games at Lambeau Field, we'll now
begin our detailed planning with our sponsors for creating the great gameday fan experience."
- The Packers' other appearance on Monday night comes Dec. 7 in a Week 13 showdown with the Baltimore Ravens at Lambeau Field. It marks the first MNF game played at Lambeau Field in the month of December.
- 2009 marks the 17th consecutive season the Packers have appeared on Monday Night Football, the NFC's longest active streak.
- Green Bay's fifth game in front of a national TV audience comes against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 10. The Nov. 15 game will kick off at 3:15 p.m. on FOX. The fifth home game on the schedule, the Cowboys contest is slated as a Gold Package (Milwaukee season-ticket holders) game. Cincinnati comes to Lambeau Field in Week 2 for the other Gold
- "I'm excited for the 2009 regular season – we have a great opportunity starting with two home games and three early division games," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "Playing on Monday night after Thanksgiving will give us a chance for another break before the final
month. Historically we've been strong in December, and we'll look to rise to that challenge."
- Green Bay's final four games of the season, including matchups against Super Bowl XLIII opponents Arizona and Pittsburgh, as well as the club's final division game of the season in Chicago, are all subject to the NFL's flexible scheduling.
- Built into the schedule for Sundays from Weeks 11-17, flex changes must be announced 12 days prior to kickoff, except for Week 17, which is announced on six days' notice.
- Green Bay is not a candidate to be flexed in Week 11 against San Francisco because the team plays just four days later against Detroit on Thanksgiving. The Packers also are not a candidate to be flexed in Week 13 because of the Monday night matchup against the Ravens.
AT FIRST GLANCE
- Green Bay's bye week – which occurs in Week 5 – is the earliest bye for the team since 1999, when it had its bye in Week 4.
- Though their bye week comes early, the Packers will get some extra rest coming off the Week 12 Thanksgiving contest. They won't play until the following Monday night, Dec. 7, at home.
- The Packers have five games against playoff teams from a year ago (Week 4 at Minnesota, Week 8 vs. Minnesota, Week 13 vs. Baltimore, Week 15 at Pittsburgh and Week 17 at Arizona).
- The first four games of the season will be broadcast on four different networks. After the bye week, Green Bay has seven straight games on FOX and could have 11 of the last 12 on the network, pending the NFL's flex scheduling. Also dependent upon the flex scheduling is the amount of 12 noon starts, which at this point is set for 10 games. An 11th, at Detroit, is set for 11:30 a.m.
- Green Bay plays three of the four teams who played in last season's conference championships. All three games (vs. Baltimore, at Pittsburgh, at Arizona) occur in the season's final five weeks. Making the season's final stretch tougher too is the fact that three of the final four games will be on the road.
- For the first time since 2003, the Packers will not play a division opponent in the season's final three weeks.
STAFF CHANGES HEADLINE OFFSEASON
- On the heels of a disappointing 6-10 season, a new defensive staff and scheme headlined the changes this offseason at 1265 Lombardi Ave.
- Dom Capers was brought in as defensive coordinator, and the Packers will begin the transition to a 3-4 scheme.
- Joining Capers on the defensive staff are Mike Trgovac (defensive line), who spent the last six years in Carolina as defensive coordinator; outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene, third on the NFL's all-time sacks list and a former player under Capers; and safeties coach Darren
Perry, who most recently coached in Oakland and also played under Capers. Assistant head coach/inside linebackers coach Winston Moss remains on the staff, as does Joe Whitt Jr., who spent 2008 as defensive quality control before his promotion to cornerbacks coach this offseason.
- Shawn Slocum was promoted to special teams coordinator after serving as the unit's assistant each of the last three seasons. Curtis Fuller, a former Packers safety and training camp coaching intern, will serve as his assistant. New strength and conditioning coordinator Dave Redding is entering his 23rd season at the NFL level, while Scott McCurley (defense) and John Rushing (offense) will serve as the quality control coaches.
THE SCHEDULE FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE BALL
- No sport exhibits parity like the National Football League, making it almost impossible to predict what teams will look like when they line up across from the Packers next fall.
- And as coaches often say, it's not who you play, but when you play them. Looking at the schedule five months before the regular season kicks off, it certainly appears as though the offensive unit faces a number of challenges in 2009.
- Under Head Coach Mike McCarthy, the Packers have finished among the NFL's top 10 offenses each of the last three seasons. What's more, 100 percent of the offensive production from 2008 remains on the roster, with additional weapons likely on the way through the NFL Draft and free agency.
- Armed with a 4,000-yard passer (Aaron Rodgers), 1,200-yard rusher (Ryan Grant) and two 1,000-yard receivers (Donald Driver and Greg Jennings), the Packers face five of the league's top 10 defenses from a year ago. Making up six games on the schedule are Pittsburgh (No. 1), Baltimore (No. 2), Minnesota (No. 6, twice), Dallas (No. 8) and Tampa Bay (No. 9).
- For Dom Capers and the new-look 3-4 defense, so too will there be plenty of challenges. Most noteworthy at this point appears to be matchups against Arizona, with its Pro Bowl trio of QB Kurt Warner and WRs Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, and Dallas, whose offensive firepower was on display last fall at Lambeau Field.
- And defensive coordinators have plenty to worry about in the NFC North, which for the Packers will include two games each against the likes of Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, Lions WR Calvin Johnson and QB Jay Cutler in Chicago.
- Though the Packers don't know which side of the ball they'll line up on, they will face some of the premier rookies in the 2009 class. Six teams on the schedule possess top-10 selections in the upcoming NFL Draft, including Detroit at No. 1 overall.
GREEN BAY ON THANKSGIVING DAY
- Green Bay travels to Detroit on Nov. 26 for the annual Thanksgiving game, televised nationally on FOX. It marks the 33rd time the franchise will play an NFL game on the holiday.
- Green Bay first played a league game on Thanksgiving in 1923, a 19-0 win over the Hammond Pros. Its most recent game came in 2007, a 37-26 victory in Detroit.
- 2009 is the fourth Thanksgiving matchup this decade between the NFC North teams. Green Bay has won two of three.
- The 2007 victory improved the club's all-time record on Thanksgiving to 12-18-2, including 6-11-1 in Detroit.
- The two division rivals played for 13 consecutive seasons on Thanksgiving, from 1951-1963, before the league began rotating opponents for the Lions.
- The Packers traveled to Dallas twice on the holiday, in 1970 and '94.
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?
- For a 17th consecutive season, the Green Bay Packers will appear on Monday Night Football, the most successful series in sports television history.
- The Packers own the NFC's longest active appearance streak on MNF.
- Green Bay will kick things off on MNF against division rival Minnesota in Week 4, the seventh Monday night matchup in the border rivalry. Fittingly, the all-time Monday night series stands tied at 3-3.
- The Packers' second Monday night matchup comes in Week 13 at Lambeau Field against the Baltimore Ravens on Dec. 7. The teams' last meeting also came on MNF, a 48-3 Ravens victory in Baltimore on Dec. 19, 2005, that marked the first significant playing time for QB Aaron Rodgers, then a rookie.
- The bright lights of Monday night are nothing new for Head Coach Mike McCarthy and the Packers. In his three seasons as coach, the team has made six regular-season appearances on MNF and is 2-4 in the games.
- Green Bay is 26-27-1 all-time on Monday night.
IN THE PRESEASON
- Also finalized with the regular-season schedule were the dates and times for the preseason opponents. Green Bay opens the preseason with two consecutive home games before wrapping up the exhibition slate on the road. Exact dates and times are still to be determined.
- All four games will be produced by CBS Sports and aired on Green Bay's WFRV-TV (Ch. 5), in conjunction with Milwaukee's WTMJ-TV, over a nine-station network throughout the state of Wisconsin, Upper Michigan, and Northeastern Minnesota. In addition to WFRV-TV and WTMJ-TV, the games are televised over WKOW/ABC, Madison, Wis.; WAOW/ABC, Wausau/Rhinelander, Wis.; WXOW/ABC, La Crosse, Wis.; WQOW/ABC, Eau Claire, Wis.; WYOW/ABC, Eagle River, Wis.; WJMN/CBS, Marquette, Mich.; and KQDS-TV/FOX, Duluth, Minn./Superior, Wis.
- The Packers have designated the preseason opener against the Browns, to be held Sat., Aug. 15 at 7 p.m., as the 60th annual Upper Midwest Shrine Game. The tradition, which began in 1950, has raised more than $3.1 million for the Midwest Shrine's burn centers and hospitals for crippled children. Green Bay has won four of its last five and eight of its last 10 in the Shrine series. The Packers and Browns will meet in the preseason for the first time since 2003, a contest that ended a four-year preseason series between the clubs.
- The Week 2 preseason contest against the Bills, set for Sat., Aug. 22 at 7 p.m., will be the 49th annual Bishop's Charities Game, a charitable contest initiated in 1961 by Vince Lombardi and the Diocese of Green Bay that has raised more than $3.4 million. Green Bay and Buffalo last met in the preseason in 2005 in Buffalo. The Bills will be making their first preseason game appearance at Lambeau Field since 1979, having played the Packers twice in the preseason in Madison (1989, 1991) and once in Toronto (1997). Buffalo also opposed the Packers in the annual Family Night Scrimmage at Lambeau Field in 2005.
- The Packers' first road preseason contest will be at Arizona against the defending NFC champion on Fri., Aug. 28. The Cardinals are one of Green Bay's regular-season opponents in 2009, a game that also will be played in Arizona. The two clubs last met in the preseason in 2002, also out west. That's the only preseason meeting between the teams since the Cardinals moved to Arizona from St. Louis in 1988.
- The preseason concludes with a road contest at Tennessee, Thur., Sept. 3, as the Packers and Titans will meet in the preseason finale for the eighth consecutive year. Tennessee has won three straight in the series and five of seven overall.
- One of the hottest tickets to get next fall will be for the Dallas Cowboys game, a Week 10 matchup on Nov. 15 televised nationally on FOX.
- One need only to point to last season, when the Cowboys-Packers matchup set a new regular-season attendance record at Lambeau Field with a crowd of 71,113.
- Last fall's 27-16 loss marked the first time the Cowboys had ever won at Lambeau Field in franchise history. They are now 1-5.
- The most famous current NFL player from the state of Wisconsin, QB Tony Romo, will make his second career start at Lambeau Field.
- The game was chosen for a national broadcast by FOX for good reason. Just last month, the NFL and ESPN Sports Poll conducted a study to determine the country's most popular pro sports franchises across all sports. The Cowboys and Packers grabbed the top two spots, which also included four other NFL franchises in the top 10.
- Dallas Cowboys
- Green Bay Packers
- New York Yankees
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Boston Red Sox
- Atlanta Braves