-THE PACKERS, who have had an extraordinary run in the series over the past decade, tonight will be in pursuit of a twelfth consecutive victory in this 42nd annual Bishop's Charities Game.
They initiated their 11-game winning streak with a 28-7 win over the New England Patriots in the 1991 Charities contest.
The Packers own a 23-17-1 overall record in the series, launched in 1961 through the joint efforts of the late Vince Lombardi and Stanislaus V. Bona, then bishop of Green Bay.
-WITH THE PACKERS' CONTRIBUTION from the proceeds of tonight's game, the Bishop's series will have raised in excess of $2,750,000 for the numerous charities of the Green Bay Catholic Diocese.
-WIDE RECEIVER DONALD DRIVER and DEFENSIVE END KABEER GBAJA-BIAMILA will be honored in tonight's pre-game ceremonies as the most valuable players - on offense and defense, respectively - in last year's Charities game, which saw the Packers defeat the Denver Broncos, 22-7.
Bishop Robert Morneau also will throw the first "pitch" to Gbaja-Biamila shortly before the opening kickoff.
-THE PACKERS AND BROWNS made history of sorts in the '60s when - during a six-year span - they met five times in the "nightcap" of a preseason doubleheader in Cleveland, with each of the contests drawing more than 80,000 fans to Municipal Stadium.
The extraordinary "series" began in 1964 - with a break in '66 - and ended in 1969 before 85,532 fans, the largest crowd of that remarkable span, on a night which saw O.J. Simpson make his NFL "debut" in the evening's opening game - against the Chicago Bears.
Overall, the five twin bills drew a total of 421,540 fans, an average of 84,308.
-LAST CHANCE: Necessarily, tonight's game represents a "final exam" for a number of Packers players. All NFL rosters must be reduced to 65 players by 3 p. m. (CDT) Tuesday. In the Packers' case, it will mean cutting from 88 to 73 players, a total including 8 exemptions for those Green Bay players who were in the NFL Europe League during the recent 2002 season.
-A MADDEN 'ANNIVERSARY:' Tonight's contest marks a kind of "anniversary" for John Madden, ABC-TV's analyst for the game telecast. In another role, he came to Lambeau Field three decades ago for the first times as an NFL head coach, leading his Oakland Raiders to back-to-back victories - to a 17-13 win in a preseason game in 1971 (August 28) and to a 20-14 success in a regular-season game in 1972 (September 24).
The latter contest was highlighted by one of the most controversial plays in Packers history. In the final seconds of the first quarter, Packers quarterback Scott Hunter pitched a lateral to running back MacArthur Lane. The ball glanced off Lane's hands and wound up bouncing 4 yards deep in the end zone, where Oakland defensive back Jack Tatum picked it up and ran 104 yards for what was ruled a touchdown, despite Green Bay protests that the ruling should have been a muff, hence ending the play as a dead ball. The Packers subsequently appealed to Art McNally, the NFL's supervisor of officials, who acknowledged the proper call would have been a muff but said, since it was ruled a fumble on the field, the original call would have to stand.
Since Tatum's excursion thus was ruled official, it also became a new NFL record for a run with a fumble, breaking a 49-year-old mark set by George Halas, who had held the record since 1923 when he made a 98-yard scoring run with a fumble against the Oorang Indians.
-KEEP YOUR EYE ON '85:' Packers middle linebacker Hardy Nickerson might be tempted to stay on the field at halftime of tonight's game - with good reason. His son, Hardy Nickerson Jr., plays for the Allouez Kiwanis Club "Bulldogs" in the East River Pop Warner League and will be playing organized football for the first time in a "Pop Warner" exhibition against Duck Creek during the intermission. Hardy Jr. is a defensive end and wears number jersey number 85.
-QUICK QUOTE: Packers GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman: "The worst job in the game is special teams coach in preseason...when you've got 90 guys running around out there."
-ON SCHEDULE: Magnetic 2002 Packers regular season schedules, courtesy of the Miller Brewing Company, are being distributed to fans as they arrive at the stadium gates this evening.
-NEXT: The Packers will have just a four-day hiatus between tonight's game and their final preseason contest, which will find them entertaining the Tennessee Titans, also in Lambeau Field, in the 53rd annual Midwest Shrine Game Friday night (August 30). Kickoff is set for 7:05 p.m.