Download The 2005 Schedule Dope Sheet

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Two years after he co-founded the Packers with Curly Lambeau, George Calhoun began writing a piece called The Dope Sheet, which served as the official press release and game program from 1921-24.

Honoring Calhoun, the first publicity director, the Packers are running this feature as their release, which is being made available to fans exclusively on Packers.com.

Here are some highlights from the 2005 Schedule Dope Sheet:

QUICKLY: Four prime-time contests, including the maximum three Monday night games, and Christmas and New Year's Day matinées highlight the Green Bay Packers' 85th regular-season schedule, released today by the National Football League. Following is an overall analysis of the schedule and related items, followed by notes on each of the 16 contests.

A NATIONAL TEAM: Continuing to garner strong ratings, both locally and nationally, the Packers earned four prime-time kickoffs for the second straight season.

-Eight of the Packers' last nine games are expected to attract national television. Green Bay's last three games, at Baltimore on Monday, Dec. 19, vs. Chicago on Christmas Day, and vs. Seattle on New Year's Day, will go out to an exclusive national audience.

-All four Packers games in November, during the traditional ratings period, will air from coast to coast, on three of the four networks.

-Disadvantages? Well, noon kickoffs, most fans' preferred starting times, are becoming rare. This year, there are five, and only two at home.

-In 2004, the Packers played 17 games, including postseason, and 14 were televised to the largest national audience possible.

TOUGHEST STRETCH?: It might begin Oct. 23, when Green Bay must play five of seven games on the road, including trips to Minnesota, Atlanta and Philadelphia, all 2004 playoff clubs.

-The bonus is Green Bay closes with three of its last four at home for the first time since 1996, the last time it won the Super Bowl.

-What's more, the Packers won't be lacking confidence. They're coming off their best road record (6-2) since 1972.

-Over a longer stretch, Green Bay has won 10 of its last 13 regular-season road contests.

-In 2004, the Packers finished with a road record (6-2) better than their home record (4-4) for the first time since 1987.

-Green Bay finished with winning records on artificial surfaces (2-1) and in indoor stadiums (3-1). That dome record matched the best mark by any previous Packers team, equaling the 3-1 record of that '96 squad.

CONSECUTIVE ROAD OPENERS: Bart Starr was the Packers' coach and Jimmy Carter was in the White House the last time Green Bay opened away from Wisconsin in back-to-back seasons.

-In 1978, Green Bay also opened the year in Detroit, then followed with a 1979 opener at Chicago's Soldier Field.

-The Packers delivered an emotional win in their 2004 opener, at Carolina, a 24-14 victory on Monday Night Football.

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS: For the first time in its 85-year history, the Packers will play on Christmas, Dec. 25, when they host the Bears, the 171st meeting in one of the richest sports rivalries.

-One week later, the team welcomes in the New Year with Seattle, as Brett Favre will close the regular season against his former coach, Mike Holmgren. It's only the second time Green Bay has played on Jan. 1. The club won the 1966 NFL championship on the date in 1967, a 34-27 win over the Dallas Cowboys at the Cotton Bowl - 364 days before the legendary Ice Bowl rematch with Dallas in Green Bay.

-For the first time since 1994, Christmas and New Year's fall on Sundays, causing a difficult situation for the league schedule-makers. They opted to schedule a full slate of afternoon games on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, and on New Year's Day, Jan. 1.

-To be fair, the league could not schedule the Packers with the majority of teams playing Saturday, Dec. 24, because Green Bay plays at Baltimore Monday night, Dec. 19. The NFL didn't want to ask any team to play five days after a Monday night game, so it scheduled the Packers on Christmas Day, Dec. 25. Baltimore also plays Dec. 25.

GOLD-PACKAGE GAMES: Loyal, longtime season-ticket holders from Milwaukee drew two of the most anticipated games on the '05 schedule, Tampa Bay's return to Lambeau Field, Sept. 25, and Minnesota's first appearance in Wisconsin since ending the Packers' season in the '04 playoffs. The Gold Package, created by President Bob Harlan when the team opted to play all home games in Green Bay after the '94 season, annually consists of the Packers' second and fifth home games.

PRESEASON DATES, TOO: The Packers this morning were nearly able to confirm dates and times for the final three preseason tilts (see Page 1). On March 16, the league had announced Green Bay would host San Diego in a contest televised by ESPN, Aug. 11.

IN THE DIVISION: Quirks in the schedule have proven advantageous to Green Bay in years past, and 2005 is no different.

-For only the second time since 1967, when the league re-aligned its divisions, the Packers will play four home games outside their division before hosting a team within their division. Green Bay hosts Cleveland, Tampa Bay, New Orleans and Pittsburgh before its first NFC North home date, Nov. 21 vs. Minnesota. The only other instance was 2002 (Atlanta, Carolina, Washington and Miami, before Detroit on Nov. 10).

-Over the same stretch (1967-2005), Nov. 21 equals the latest the Packers have hosted their first divisional foe. In 1982, the Packers also hosted the Vikings Nov. 21, the first game after a 57-day player strike.

-Three of Green Bay's final four home games are against NFC North foes.

BYE-WEEK FYI: The Packers' Week 6 open date is the earliest in Mike Sherman's tenure. In fact, only once over the last 12 seasons (1994-2005) have the Packers had a bye before Week 5. That was in 1999, a Week 4 bye during the team's worst season (8-8) over the period. Why so fortunate?

-Most of it is coincidence, especially since the league expanded to 32 teams in 2002. There is no league effort to give the Packers a bye consistently during the middle of the season.

-Green Bay's reputation for cold weather is probably a factor, considering the league doesn't want to miss putting the Packers on the field during Wisconsin's great early-fall weather.

-The NFL usually gives many early-season byes to teams who share stadiums with baseball. Other stadium conflicts (conventions, major events, etc.) also can affect when a team receives/requests its bye.

-Part of it can be attributed to the Packers' consistently strong television ratings. The networks generally use Green Bay games to highlight double-headers or prime-time broadcasts, which usually carry larger crews and more equipment, difficult to move in bad weather.

-The league attempts to accomodate requests, but each request usually centers around either the middle of the season, or after a long road trip.

Until the Texans entered the league in 2002, a winning record usually guaranteed a team would not see an early bye the following year.

-From 1990-98, or before the expansion Browns gave the NFL an odd number of teams, byes were scheduled by division for a few years, until the networks requested a different policy.

-From 1999-2001, because of the odd number of teams, at least one team had a bye each week of the season. In general, the early-season byes were reserved for teams with the lowest winning percentages.

-The one constant is this: With 32 teams, the league does its best to avoid giving one team an early bye (Weeks 3-5) two or three years in a row.

MORE THAN JUST AN ANNOUNCEMENT:

Schedule day is the most anticipated date on the Wisconsin calendar. Fans want to plan trips to Green Bay or road trips to see the Packers in other cities. Plus, in Wisconsin, even non-fans anticipate this date simply to schedule their lives - including weddings, business meetings, family reunions and hunting excursions - around the team's schedule.

-According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette, local hotels as of this press release are launching marathons in which phones don't stop ringing for at least six hours. Thanks to simple supply and demand, hotels are booking two-night minimums at premium rates. Kari Silva, president of the Packer Country Visitor & Convention Bureau, estimates a typical home weekend generates $3.5 million for the local economy. The two Gold Package games for season-ticket holders from Milwaukee generate $3.9 million, she said.

STIFF COMPETITION: Green Bay squares off with defending champions from four of the seven other divisions - Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Seattle. And, the Packers get each of the last three NFC Super Bowl representatives: Tampa Bay, Carolina and Philadelphia.

MILESTONE POSSIBILITIES:

-Sept. 11 at Detroit: Brett Favre needs 266 yards passing to become the third player in NFL history with 50,000, joining Dan Marino (61,361) and John Elway (51,475).

-Sept. 18 vs. Cleveland: Ryan Longwell could match his own Packers record for consecutive games with a field goal, 14 (1997-98)...Favre (178) can establish the single-stadium NFL record with three TD passes at Lambeau Field, breaking John Elway's mark at Mile High Stadium (180)...The Packers have scored in a franchise-record 217 straight games (dating to Oct. 17, 1991). On the NFL list, the club over its first two games can pass the No. 5 (Oakland Raiders, 217, 1966-81) and No. 4 (Dallas Cowboys, 218, 1970-85) streaks.

-Sept. 25 vs. Tampa Bay: Favre's consecutive starts streak would reach 208 and pass No. 6 Gene Upshaw (207) on the recorded list...Donald Driver could extend his streak of games with a reception to 51 and move into fourth on the all-time Packers list, passing 50-game streaks by Don Hutson (1941-45) and Paul Coffman (1979-82).

-Oct. 23 at Minnesota: Favre's starts streak would surpass the fourth-longest stretches on record, 210, shared by Jim Otto and Fred Cox.

-Dec. 11 vs. Detroit: Favre could play his 100th game at Lambeau Field, already a record for the legendary stadium.

OTHER MILESTONES TO WATCH:

-Early in the season, Ahman Green needs three rushing touchdowns to surpass No. 2 Paul Hornung (50) on the Packers' all-time list...Longwell needs 36 points for 1,000 career.

-Later, Mike Sherman could post a sixth straight winning season. Since the 1993 collective bargaining agreement, no other coach has notched winning seasons in each of his first five NFL campaigns...Also with an eighth win, Sherman would rank among the 10 winningest coaches over their first six seasons since the 1970 merger...Favre's 24th touchdown pass would make him the second player in NFL history to reach 400, joining Marino (420)...With 3,000 yards passing in a 14th overall season, Favre would break Marino's career NFL record...Green with 1,000 yards rushing in a fifth straight season would erase Jim Taylor's franchise record (five, 1960-64)...Green also needs 866 total yards from scrimmage to eclipse James Lofton's franchise record, 9,901.

FAMILIAR WITH UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY: The Packers make two more trips to new stadiums - or stadiums new to them - in 2005.

-On Oct. 30, Green Bay makes its first appearance at Cincinnati's Paul Brown Stadium, the club's first trip to that city since Sept. 20, 1998.

-Then, on Dec. 19, the Packers make their first regular-season appearance at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium. It's the first Green Bay trip to that city in 23 years, since a 1982 tie with the Colts at Memorial Stadium.

-Green Bay has won six of its last seven regular-season games playing for the first time in unfamiliar stadiums (wins at FedEx Field and Reliant Stadium in 2004, renovated Soldier Field in 2003, Ford Field, Memorial Stadium in Champaign and Gillette Stadium in 2002). The only loss in the stretch was in 2004, their regular-season debut at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field.

-Over a longer regular-season stretch, the Packers have won nine of their last 12 (wins at Jacksonville in 1995, St. Louis in 1996 and Carolina in 1997, losses at Tampa Bay in 1998, Tennessee in 2001 and Philadelphia in 2004) in unfamiliar territory.

IT'S ABOUT TIME: Former AFC Central clubs Cincinnati and Pittsburgh are on the Packers' schedule for the first time since 1998, snapping Green Bay's longest active series droughts, respectively.

WHEN IN THE WORLD?: The Packers still haven't met the newest version of the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland. Green Bay has gone there twice in preseason, but won't play a regular-season game at Cleveland until 2009, 10 years after the franchise resurfaced as an expansion club.

-The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots haven't been to Green Bay since Oct. 1, 1979, a classic Monday night matchup won by the Packers, 27-14. The Patriots, who played in Milwaukee in 1988, will end their Green Bay drought next season.

-The Steelers opened their new stadium, Heinz Field, in 2001. The facility will be eight years old before the Packers see it, in 2009.

-San Diego will next travel to Lambeau Field in 2007, 11 years after their most recent visit, 1996.

-Brett Favre and Reggie White hadn't yet won a Super Bowl the last time the Packers played at Seattle, in 1996. However, including preseason and postseason, Seattle makes its fourth trip to Green Bay in three years. Incidentally, the Seahawks will host Green Bay in 2006.

YOU AGAIN?: Green Bay has seen plenty of three non-division NFC opponents in recent years, thanks to quirks in the league's objective eight-year schedule rotation (2002-09).

-Tampa Bay left the Packers' division in 2002, but the teams still played in 2002 and '03, both at Tampa. After a one-year break, the first time the Packers and Bucs didn't play since 1976, the Bucs are back on in 2005, this time in Green Bay.

-Carolina and Green Bay might as well be in the same division. The Panthers appear on the regular-season schedule for the eighth time in the last nine years. Counting the 1996 NFC Championship, they've met nine of the last 10 seasons. Since the Panthers launched in 1995, the Packers have seen them every year except '95 and 2003.

-Thanks to their respective first-place finishes, the Packers make a second straight regular-season trip to Philadelphia in 2005. Also, Green Bay's 2003 season ended in Philadelphia, a 20-17 overtime loss in the NFC playoffs.

WELCOME TO THE 21ST CENTURY: For the first time since 1969, the Packers will not play a regular-season game on "AstroTurf."

-In 2005, Green Bay still plays three games on fake grass, but they're on the softer, more realistic "FieldTurf" (at Atlanta, Detroit and Minnesota), the same surface that covers two of the Packers' three practice fields.

-Green Bay played its first game on the hard, abrasive AstroTurf Dec. 6, 1970, a 20-12 win over the pre-dynasty Pittsburgh Steelers at Three Rivers Stadium.

-Brett Favre and the Packers are 4-1 all-time on FieldTurf (since 2002): 2-1 at Ford Field, 1-0 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill., and 1-0 at the Metrodome.

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