The Green Bay Packers' schedule of opponents for the 2003 preseason, highlighted by another encounter with Atlanta's multi-talented Michael Vick, was announced Tuesday by the National Football League.
As previously announced, the Packers will launch their five-game, preseason agenda against the Kansas City Chiefs in the annual Hall of Fame game at Canton, Ohio, Monday night, Aug. 4, a contest which has been billed as a rematch of the principals in Super Bowl I, staged at Los Angeles (Jan. 15, 1967).
Specific dates have not been set for the other games, which will be played over the four following weekends, traditionally designated as preseason weeks 1 through 4.
The Packers, who will not play at home until late August while the $295 million renovation of Lambeau Field is being completed, will wing to Atlanta to take on Vick and the Falcons in the Georgia Dome the weekend of Aug. 7-11. It will be the third encounter between the Packers and Falcons in a year's time, the teams having met twice last season - on opening day of the regular season (Sept. 8) and again in a Wild Card playoff Jan. 4.
The following weekend, Aug. 14-18, will find the Green and Gold returning to Ohio to square off against Cleveland in Browns Stadium, a visit which will mark the fourth consecutive year the Packers have faced the Browns in preseason play.
The Packers then will return to fully renovated Lambeau Field to close out their preseason exertions with a pair of appearances on home turf.
The first of these will see them entertain the Carolina Panthers the weekend of Aug. 21-25, following which they will wrap up their preseason schedule the weekend of Aug. 28-30, hosting the Tennessee Titans.
The Hall of Fame game will be televised nationally (ABC), with kickoff set for 7 p.m., CDT. The NFL's complete preseason national TV schedule will be announced in late February.
Under a new broadcasting partnership announced yesterday, Packers contests not selected to be aired nationally will be televised by Green Bay's WFRV-TV in conjunction with Milwaukee's WTMJ-TV over an expanded, eight-station network throughout the state of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, with CBS network production, personnel and the latest network quality technology. In addition to WFRV and WTMJ, the games will be televised over WKOW/ABC, Madison, Wis.; WAOW/ABC, Wausau/Rhinelander, Wis.; WXOW/ABC, La Crosse, Wis.; WQOW/ABC, Eau Claire; WYOW/ABC, Eagle River, Wis.; and WJMN/CBS, Marquette, Mich. The dates and kickoff times for these contests will be announced later.
The Packers, who dispatched Kansas City in Super Bowl I (35-10), have had a give-and-take relationship with the Chiefs in preseason competition, holding a modest 5-4 edge after 10 meetings, with one tie. The Chiefs, however, have had considerably the better of it in regular season play, owning a 5-1 record, with one tie.
Their Aug. 4 meeting will be the teams' first preseason matchup since 1998, when they were paired in an American Bowl game at Tokyo, Japan (Aug. 2), the Packers shading the Chiefs in overtime, 27-24, by the margin of a Ryan Longwell field goal.
The Packers and Falcons have seldom seen each other in preseason competition. They have met only five times in non-league play, with the Green and Gold holding a 3-2 advantage. The Packers also own a one-game edge in regular season action, 11-10, but they are in a 1-1 standoff with Atlanta in the playoffs, having defeated the Falcons (37-20) in a 1995 Wild Card playoff prior to losing to Atlanta in last month's Wild Card contest, 27-7.
The Green and Gold have had a half-century preseason association with the Browns, dating back to 1950 when Cleveland registered a 38-7 victory over the Packers in their first ever meeting at Toledo, Ohio. Their August encounter will be their 20th preseason matchup, with Cleveland holding an 11-8 advantage. The Browns also lead the regular season series, 9-6, but the Packers were victorious in their only postseason meeting, posting a 23-12 win over Cleveland in the 1965 NFL Championship Game in Lambeau Field.
In contrast, the Packers will be meeting Carolina as a preseason opponent for the very first time. They are hardly strangers, however, having met in the 1996 NFC Championship Game, won by Green Bay, 30-13, and in regular season play each of the past six years, the Packers holding a 4-2 advantage.
The Packers will be hosting the Titans in their preseason finale for the second consecutive year, having defeated Tennessee, 21-20, in their '02 non-league closer. Green Bay leads this preseason series, 2-1, having split two games with the Tennessee franchise when it was located in Houston and the team was known as the Oilers. The regular season series is all even at 4-4.
(AFC-NFC Pro Football Hall of Fame Game)