The Packers and Bengals will meet for the 16th time in preseason action. They last played in 2006, also on ESPN's Monday Night Football.
PRESEASON KICKS OFF IN PRIME TIME
-The 88th NFL season of Green Bay Packers football kicks off tonight at Lambeau Field on ESPN's Monday Night Football as the Cincinnati Bengals come to town for a preseason contest.
-Opening up the preseason in prime time seems fitting for a team that has dealt with the national spotlight for the past couple of weeks. It is the first of five national television appearances on the 2008 schedule.
-After 15 practices since opening training camp July 28, including the 'Family Night' intra-squad scrimmage this past Sunday, Green Bay lines up against an opponent for the first time since the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 20.
-Typically, starters don't play more than a few series in the first preseason game of the slate, but all eyes will be on the debut of new starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Injuries will be the determining factor for which starters will play and which will sit, as will the need to see many players in game action for the first time. The first NFL-mandated roster cut, to 75 players, is Tuesday, Aug. 26.
-The Packers and Bengals will meet for the 16th time in preseason action. They last played in 2006, also on ESPN's Monday Night Football.
-Head Coach Mike McCarthy, entering his third season at the helm, leads a team that hopes to build upon the progress it achieved last season when the team matched a franchise record with 13 regular-season wins. Nearly all core players return from a team that was an overtime away from a Super Bowl berth.
BISHOP'S CHARITIES GAME
-Tonight marks another Green Bay preseason tradition: the Bishop's Charities Game. It was first played in 1961 after Vince Lombardi was approached by the Diocese of Green Bay about playing a charitable contest in Green Bay (the Shrine contest was a fixture in Milwaukee).
-For more than 30 years, the church handled much of the game's business-related tasks, including game program and advertising sales, using a network of volunteers covering 14 Northeastern Wisconsin counties. The Packers assumed many of those tasks in 1994.
-The series enjoys its 48th contest tonight and has raised approximately $3.4 million.
-The Packers are 24-22-1 all-time in the series and look to end a five-game losing streak in the annual contest.
THE PACKERS-BENGALS SERIES
-Tonight will mark the 16th preseason game between the clubs, with the Bengals holding a decided 10-4-1 advantage in the series. The Bengals dominated the last preseason matchup, recording a 48-17 win in 2006. Cincinnati scored 31 straight points to open the game, including three TD passes from Carson Palmer.
-The clubs have met 10 times in the regular season, splitting the contests.
-Prior to 2005, the Packers owned a three-game winning streak in the series (24-23 in 1992 and 24-10 in 1995, both in Green Bay, and 13-6 in 1998 at Cincinnati). That 1998 meeting is the Packers' lone win in Cincinnati in franchise history.
-The series launched at Lambeau Field in 1971, when the legendary Paul Brown was head coach of the Bengals, a team he had founded three years earlier as a member of the then American Football League. The Packers got off to a winning start in the rivalry, posting a 20-17 victory in their first meeting, with a Lou Michaels field goal providing the victory margin.
-Perhaps the most memorable game in the series came in 1992 when Brett Favre, summoned to replace an injured Don Majkowski at quarterback in the first quarter, proceeded to direct the Packers to an electrifying, 24-23 come-from-behind victory, forged when he hit wide receiver Kitrick Taylor with a 35-yard scoring pass as only 13 seconds remained in the game. Chris Jacke's subsequent PAT settled the issue.
Briana Lipor, the current Miss Wisconsin, will perform the Star Spangled Banner...Four Green Bay Pop Warner teams will take part in player introductions as well as a halftime scrimmage.
WEARING THE STRIPES
Today's officiating crew includes referee Terry McAulay (77), umpire Bruce Stritesky (102), head linesman Wayne Mackie (106), line judge Mark Steinkerchner (84), field judge Dyrol Prioleau (109), side judge Michael Banks (72) and back judge Bob Lawing (17).
As appointed by the PFWA, Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette is the primary Lambeau Field pool reporter, and Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is the alternate.