The Green Bay Packers will open their 2004 preseason in prime-time on ESPN against the Seattle Seahawks, the National Football League announced Monday.
The opener pits the Packers against former coach Mike Holmgren and Seattle in a rematch of a 2003 NFC Wild Card playoff. One of the NFL's most memorable clashes, the Jan. 4 game ended in overtime, 33-27, when Green Bay's Al Harris returned an interception 52 yards for a touchdown, the first time a defensive score ended a sudden-death NFL playoff contest.
The game marks the Packers' first ESPN appearance during the preseason since 1998, when Green Bay met Kansas City in the American Bowl at the Tokyo Dome. This also marks the 12th consecutive preseason (1993-2004) the league has given Green Bay at least one national television appearance.
Following Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck, Green Bay hosts another former Brett Favre backup, Aaron Brooks and the New Orleans Saints, in Week 2. While the Saints have played several preseason games in Wisconsin (they trained at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse from 1988-99), the teams have not met at Lambeau Field in the regular season since 1989.
Green Bay's first road trip is to Jacksonville, in Week 3. The Packers last saw the Jaguars Dec. 3, 2001, when Favre threw three touchdowns and ran for the deciding score in a 28-21, comeback win on Monday Night Football. The 2004 game marks the teams' first-ever preseason meeting, and third overall. During the regular season, Jacksonville will make its initial appearance at Lambeau Field.
Incidentally, Green Bay's regular-season docket will include two of its four preseason opponents: Jacksonville and Tennessee, the Packers' preseason road opponent in Week 4. Green Bay closes its preseason schedule with the Titans for a third straight year. On Aug. 28, 2003, the teams endured a 2-hour, 33-minute weather delay at Lambeau Field. Fittingly, the game ended a strange 2003 preseason that also saw third-quarter weather cancel the Packers' opener with Kansas City in the Aug. 4 Hall of Fame Game, and a memorable night in a Cleveland hotel, before an Aug. 15 Browns game, during the largest blackout in U.S. history. Like Jacksonville, Tennessee will see the Packers again in the regular season, at Lambeau Field.
The Packers and their opponents likely will finalize specific dates and times for the middle two preseason games by mid-April. The league is expected to announce regular-season dates and times by early May.
Packers 2004 Preseason Opponents
Mon., Aug. 16 - vs. Seattle Seahawks - 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Bishop's Charities Game along with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
Aug. 19-23 - vs. New Orleans Saints - TBA (state)
Midwest Shrine Game
Aug. 26-30 - at Jacksonville Jaguars - TBA (state)
Sept. 3 - at Tennessee Titans - 7 p.m. (state)
All times indicated are Wisconsin