'SUPER' COINCIDENCE: It is a somewhat poetic coincidence that Hank Stram, who was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Sunday as a member of the HOF's 2003 class, should be so honored as the Packers take part in the Hall of Fame game against his former Kansas City Chiefs.
Looking back three decades, it was the voluble Stram who was the Packers' head-coaching opponent in the first Super Bowl at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on January 15, 1967, a day on which the Packers prevailed over Stram's Chiefs, 35-10.
Though denied that distant afternoon, Stram subsequently experienced Super Bowl success, escorting his Chiefs to a 23-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in SB IV at Tulane Stadium in
New Orleans three years later.
SPEAKING OF THE 'Hall,' the Packers have been well represented in pro football's ultimate shrine ever since its origin. They saw four standard bearers enshrined among the charter class of 17 inductees when the HOF was launched in 1963. The foursome included founder/coach/player Earl L. "Curly" Lambeau, Don Hutson, Johnny "Blood" McNally and Robert "Cal" Hubbard.
TONIGHT'S GAME marks an anniversary of sorts for Packers quarterback Brett Favre. He started a preseason game for Green Bay for the first time on the Green and Gold's last previous appearance in the Hall of Fame game - against the then-Los Angeles Raiders (July 31, 1993). Favre, who left the game after the first series of the second quarter, giving way to former New York Jet Ken O'Brien, completed 7of 13 passes for 63 yards during his relatively brief stint in a contest which saw the Raiders emerge with a 19-3 victory.
Starting, of course, was not a novelty for Favre by that time. No. 4, stepping in for injured incumbent Don Majkowski in Week Three of the 1992 season, became Green Bay's starting quarterback the following week - and, of course, has been ever since.
BRENNAN CURTIN, the Packers' towering rookie offensive tackle, actually uses his "second" name.
The 6-9 son of all-Irish parents, who christened him John Brennan Curtin, he explains, "Everyone in my family has been known by their middle names. My dad's 'John Barry' and he goes by Barry." Brennan, incidentally, is "a family name from my father's side," Curtin confided.
-CHIEFS COACH DICK VERMEIL has two significant claims to coaching fame. One: He is one of an elite number who have won a Super bowl game, owning a 1-1 record in the "Big Dance." His Philadelphia Eagles fell to the Oakland Raiders in SB XV at New Orleans on Jan. 25, 1981 (27-10), but he squared his record by leading the St. Louis Rams to a 23-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans in SB XXXIV, also at New Orleans, on Jan. 30, 2000.
Two: he entered the league in 1969, with the LA Rams, as the first special teams coach in NFL history.
WITH LeROY BUTLER retiring following the 2002 season, quarterback Brett Favre and center Frank Winters share honors as the team's elder statesmen. Each is beginning his 12th year in Green and Gold, both having come to Titletown in 1992 - Favre by way of a trade with the Atlanta Falcons and Winters having signed with Green Bay in Plan B.
Winters is beginning his 17th NFL season, having spent his first five years with Cleveland (2), the New York Giants (1) and the Kansas City Chiefs (2).
BUTLER, INCIDENTALLY, returned to Green Bay last week for a book-signing promoting his newly-published biography, "The LeRoy Butler Story - From Wheelchair to the Lambeau Leap."
-THE PACKERS OWN a 7-5 record in three years of preseason play under Mike Sherman, including a 3-1 mark. In 2002.
FOR THE RECORD, the Packers have had exceptional success in preseason play over their history. They have won 186 games while losing 123 and tying 9, good for an all-time percentage of .585.
NEXT: The Packers will be back in game action before the week is out. They enplane for Atlanta this weekend to take on their second assignment of the preseason - a matchup with the formidable Falcons in the Georgia Dome Saturday night (Aug. 9), with kickoff set for 7 o'clock, CDT (Wisconsin time).