A nationally televised contest and the team's first appearance at Heinz Field, in Mike McCarthy's hometown, highlight the Green Bay Packers' 2007 preseason opponents. The preliminary schedule was communicated by the National Football League to Packers President/COO John Jones Monday.
Date: Aug. 9-13
Opponent: at Pittsburgh Steelers
Date: Aug. 16-20
Opponent: Seattle Seahawks (Gold pkg.)
Midwest Shrine Game
Date: Thurs., Aug. 23
Opponent: Jacksonville Jaguars
Bishop's Charities Game
Time: 7 p.m.
Date: Thurs., Aug. 30
Opponent: at Tennessee Titans
Time: 7 p.m.
All times Central; remaining dates and times to be announced
"We're excited about today's release of the preseason schedule and the increased anticipation it brings for the 2007 season," said Jones. "We've got great opponents and Packers fans should be treated to some outstanding games."
The opener is Green Bay's first appearance at Pittsburgh's new stadium, which opened in 2001. The Packers haven't traveled to the Steel City since 1998, a 27-20 loss. McCarthy grew up in Greenfield, a Pittsburgh neighborhood just a couple of miles from downtown, and graduated from Bishop Boyle High School in Homestead, Pa. His father was a longtime firefighter and police officer who also owned a bar, near a steel mill, where McCarthy worked some odd jobs. The coach also cracked the Division I ranks as a volunteer assistant at the University of Pittsburgh, working for mentor Paul Hackett.
One of McCarthy's predecessors, Mike Holmgren, brings his Seahawks to open the Lambeau Field slate in Week 2. Matt Hasselbeck, one of 11 former Brett Favre backups to start for another team, joins several members of the Seattle organization with ties to the Packers. The Packers have designated the game as the 58th Annual Upper Midwest Shrine Game. The tradition, which began in 1950, has raised more than $3 million for the Midwest Shrine's burn centers and hospitals for crippled children. Green Bay has won three in a row, and seven of its last eight, in the Shrine series.
The Packers host Jacksonville to kick off the following weekend of NFL preseason action (Thurs., Aug. 23, 7 p.m. on FOX). Coaches generally use the next-to-last preseason game to give starters their most playing time. Green Bay bids for its first win in a Bishop's Charities Game since 2002. Vince Lombardi and the Diocese of Green Bay initiated the contest in 1961.
"We also are pleased the league chose to showcase the Packers and Lambeau Field vs. the Jaguars with a national broadcast," Jones added. "It speaks well to the popularity of the team and will allow Packers fans across the country to see their club during the preseason."
Vince Young, who in 2006 against the Packers made his initial preseason start en route to the league's Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, hosts Green Bay in the preseason finale at Nashville's LP Field. The Packers and Titans will meet to close the preseason for a sixth straight year, as the league allows teams to determine one of their preseason opponents.
Other than the Jacksonville and Tennessee contests, exact dates and times for the Packers' other two preseason games are to be determined. The league is expected to release the remainder of the regular-season schedule later this month.