TONIGHT: The Packers and Seahawks are the last teams to open scheduled preseason play. Cincinnati and Tampa Bay also open tonight, after Hurricane Charley postponed their game Saturday...Tonight marks the Packers' latest preseason kickoff in 47 years...Green Bay also will be one of the last two NFL clubs to open regular-season play, Monday night, Sept. 13, at Carolina...K Ryan Longwell, a Seattle native and Green Bay's all-time leading scorer, turns 30 today.
SPECIAL PREGAME CEREMONIES: Before kickoff, the Packers will honor 22 Wisconsin families of U.S. armed forces personnel who recently gave their lives for their country. Tonight, breaking traditional custom, the Packers will not be introduced individually. Instead, the families will enter the field in the manner normally reserved for starting Packers players, on a path surrounded by the team. The stadium will observe a moment of silence in honor of the fallen soldiers.
TONIGHT'S NATIONAL ANTHEM AND FLYOVER: Specialist Brenda Bushera and the 132nd Army Band, from the Wisconsin National Guard out of Madison, will perform the Star-Spangled Banner...At its conclusion, four F-16 Falcons from the 115th Fighter Wing of the Wisconsin Air National Guard, based in Madison, will shake the stadium, from north to south. The pilots have flown combat missions over several countries, including Kuwait, Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq.
FIRST OF TWO CHARITY GAMES ON TAP: The Packers host the 44th annual Bishop's Charities Game (along with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption). As part of pregame festivities, 2003 game MVP Tony Fisher will receive a plaque from David Zubik, Bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay. And, WR Robert Ferguson will catch a pass from Junior Bridgeman, a Wendy's franchise owner who is representing the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Bridgeman, a longtime member of the Milwaukee Bucks, was part of the monumental 1975 trade that sent Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to the Lakers.
NEW FLAGS DEBUT: Responding to fan feedback, Packers President & CEO Bob Harlan had two impressively sized flags, 15 feet by 25 feet, raised at Lambeau Field May 28, to coincide with Memorial Day. Located on top of the stadium's indoor club seats on the north end of the facility, the new flags are the culmination of the desire to improve Lambeau Field's honoring of America, an effort first discussed last fall. "Once the Lambeau Field redevelopment project was complete and we had our first games in the stadium last fall, we realized the old flag and flagpole appeared a bit small compared to the larger size of the new facility," Harlan said. "We needed something more prominent to appropriately honor our country and decided to upgrade that component of the stadium. We also heard from a few fans that they had trouble locating the flag during the anthem, so this will definitely help in that area, too." The two flags fly 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are illuminated by spotlights at night.
THEY KNOW ALL THE GOOD RESTAURANTS BY NOW: The Seahawks make their third trip to Green Bay in 10 months. The only other time the Packers hosted a non-divisional opponent as many times in such a short period was 32 years ago. The N.Y. Giants made three trips to Wisconsin from Dec. 3, 1961 to Sept. 3, 1962, including the 1961 NFL Championship in Green Bay and one contest at Milwaukee County Stadium. Vince Lombardi defeated his former team in all three meetings. Before that '61 title game in Green Bay, a 37-0 Packers win, Lombardi got an assist from John F. Kennedy, who gave Paul Hornung a weekend leave from the Army.
AT THE GATES: The team is distributing 2004 magnetic schedules, sponsored by Miller Lite.
PACKERS SCRATCHES: G Mike Wahle (knee contusion), C Mike Flanagan (knee tendinitis) and CB Chris Johnson (shin) are on the physically unable to perform list. T Brennan Curtin (staph infection) is on the non-football illness list. DE Ja'Dae McGuire (abdominal strain), DE Chukie Nwokorie (hamstring), DT Donnell Washington (foot) and QB Craig Nall (hamstring) are out. LB Tyreo Harrison (ankle), WR Robert Ferguson (knee), CB Chris Watson (hamstring) and CB Joey Thomas (knee) also may not play.
FROM THE LEAGUE OFFICE: The Packers welcome NFL director of officiating Mike Pereira, also in attendance tonight.
NEXT WEEK: Green Bay hosts New Orleans Saturday at 7 p.m. in the 55th annual Upper Midwest Shrine Game. Seattle hosts former division rival Denver Saturday at Qwest Field.