Mike Sherman enters his fourth season as head coach in 2003.
With a five-game agenda highlighted by a pair of national television appearances, the Green Bay Packers' 2003 preseason schedule is now set, it was announced Tuesday.
It will begin with a prime time, Monday Night Football" matchup (ABC) with the Kansas City Chiefs in the annual Hall of Fame game at Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 4, and conclude with a rare Thursday night contest against the Tennessee Titans in Lambeau Field the night of August 28.
The Hall of Fame game will be followed by a pair of back-to-back road engagements for the Packers, the first of which will find them invading Atlanta for yet another encounter with the Falcons and the multi-talented Michael Vick Saturday night, Aug. 9.
The Packers next make their second national TV appearance of the preseason (CBS), visiting Cleveland Browns Stadium Friday night, Aug. 15, to take on the Browns in a preseason contest for the fourth consecutive year.
Their road schedule behind them, the Green and Gold will return to fully renovated Lambeau Field to close out their preseason with back-to-back assignments on home turf. The first of them will find them entertaining the Carolina Panthers Saturday night, Aug. 23, in the 54th annual Midwest Shrine Game.
Just five nights later, Aug. 28, the Packers will close out their preseason card by hosting the Titans – who will be providing the opposition in their preseason finale for the second year in a row – in the 42nd annual Bishop's Charities Game.
The kickoffs for all five games will be 7 p.m., Wisconsin time.
The Atlanta, Carolina and Tennessee contests 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. 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, Wis.; WYOW/ABC, Eagle River, Wis.; and WJMN/CBS, Marquette, Mich.
The Packers, who defeated Kansas City in Super Bowl I (35-10), will be meeting the Chiefs in preseason play for the first time since 1998, when they were matched in a American Bowl game in Tokyo, Japan (Aug. 2), the Packers edging Kansas City in overtime, 27-24, by way of a Ryan Longwell field goal.
Overall, the Packers hold a 5-4 advantage over the Chiefs in preseason competition after 10 meetings, with one tie. The Chiefs, however, have had the better of it in regular season action, owning a 5-1 record, also with one tie.
The Packers and Falcons will be squaring off for the third time in a year's span, 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 Packers carried the day in the former, emerging from an overtime struggle with a 37-34 victory but the Falcons gained revenge with a 27-7 win in their playoff encounter.
The Packers have not often seen the Falcons in preseason play. They have met only five times in non-league competition, with the Green and Gold holding a 3-2 margin. They are 1-1 in the playoffs, the Packers having defeated Atlanta (37-20) in a 1995 Wild Card Playoff prior to losing to the Falcons in January's Wild Card contest.
Green Bay has had a half-century preseason association with the Browns, reaching back to 1950 when Cleveland registered a 38-7 victory over the Packers in their first-ever meeting – at Toledo, Ohio. Their upcoming 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, forging a 23-12 win over Cleveland in the 1965 NFL Championship Game in Lambeau Field.
In contrast, the Packers will be facing Carolina as a preseason opponent for the very first time. They are not strangers, however competitively speaking, 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 edge.
The Packers and Titans have been infrequent opponents in the preseason. Green Bay leads this non-league 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, and shaded the Titans in last year's Midwest Shrine Game, 21-20. Their regular season series is all even at 4-4.