TODAY IN PITTSBURGH
Two head coaches - Green Bay's Mike McCarthy and Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin - are making their respective Pittsburgh debuts...Tomlin, hired in the offseason, makes his coaching debut in front of the home crowd...McCarthy, a Pittsburgh native, returns to his hometown for the very first time in his 15th season as an NFL coach...Familiar preseason foes, the Packers and Steelers last met in 1996, a 24-17 Packers victory...Green Bay holds a 14-9-2 advantage over the Steelers in preseason play...Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements, who was born in McKees Rocks, Pa., served as quarterbacks coach for the Steelers for three seasons under Bill Cowher (2001-03)...Tight ends coach Ben McAdoo, a Homer City, Pa., native, served on the University of Pittsburgh staff in 2003...Running back Noah Herron was a seventh-round draft pick of the Steelers in 2005 and spent time on Pittsburgh's active roster and practice squad before being signed by the Packers in Week 13 of that year.
LET THE GAMES BEGIN
-The Packers kick off their 87th NFL season with a preseason trip to Pittsburgh and open the preseason on the road for the second straight season.
-Green Bay is 1-5 in its last six preseason openers and has not won a preseason opener on the road (excluding neutral site games) since 1981 (0-5).
-The Packers make their first-ever appearance at Heinz Field, having not played in Pittsburgh since a 1998 trip to Three Rivers Stadium. Only three other teams (Giants, Seahawks and 49ers) have yet to play in the stadium since its opening in 2001.
-After 15 practices since opening training camp July 28, including the 'Family Night' intra-squad scrimmage, the Packers finally line up against an opponent.
McCARTHY RETURNS HOME
-McCarthy, the 14th head coach in Green Bay Packers history, returns to his hometown for the first time in his NFL career.
-Saturday marks the first time McCarthy will coach an NFL game in his hometown. In 13 years as an NFL assistant coach, he faced the Steelers six times - each time at home.
-McCarthy first coached against the Steelers on Jan. 8, 1994, when Kansas City defeated Pittsburgh 27-24 in overtime in the AFC Wild Card game.
-McCarthy grew up one of five children in the Irish Catholic family of father Joe and mother Ellen in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Greenfield.
-He graduated from Bishop Boyle High School in Homestead, Pa., and later served on Paul Hackett's staff at the University of Pittsburgh for four seasons (1989-92).
-McCarthy will have over 20 family and friends in attendance Saturday.
SIMPLY THE BEST
-Two of the NFL's preeminent franchises square off Saturday night.
-The Packers and Steelers have combined for 17 world championships, including eight Super Bowl victories.
-Green Bay has a total of 21 Pro Football Hall of Famers, second most of any franchise. The 17 Steelers enshrined in Canton, Ohio, ranks fourth among NFL teams.
-It's not all about past glory for these two, however. Since the advent of free agency in 1993, the Packers own a share of the best W-L record in the NFL, with the Steelers not far behind in third.
A look at the most successful teams in the free-agency era:
Green Bay Packers (139-85-0) .621
Denver Broncos (139-85-0) .621
Pittsburgh Steelers (138-85-1) .618
New England Patriots (134-90-0) .598
Kansas City Chiefs (131-93-0) .585
As appointed by the PFW, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is the primary Heinz Field pool reporter, and Scott Brown is the alternate.
The Packers return to Lambeau Field to host the Seattle Seahawks in their preseason home opener Saturday, Aug. 18; kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. CDT...Meanwhile, the Steelers travel to take on the Washington Redskins on Saturday, Aug. 18.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN 2007 -
4 BRETT FAVRE
-Has played in 239 straight games (257 including playoffs) and started 237 in a row (257 including playoffs), the NFL's record among quarterbacks. By starting the first four games of 2007, would surpass Mick Tinglehoff's stretch of 240 straight starts (1962-78), the second-longest recorded streak in NFL history. Only Jim Marshall (270, 1961-79) has been documented to have more consecutive starts.
-Needs six TD passes to match Dan Marino's NFL record, 420. Favre enters with 414.
-Needs one win to tie No. 1 John Elway (148-82-1, .643). Favre enters tied with No. 2 Dan Marino (147-93-0, .613) on the all-time quarterback wins list.
-Needs 136 passing attempts to break Dan Marino's career record, 8,358. Favre enters with 8,223.
-Needs 3,862 passing yards - or less than his totals in each of the past three seasons - to break Marino's record (61,361) for career passing yards. Favre enters 2007 with 57,500.
80 DONALD DRIVER
-Has a reception in 80 consecutive games, the franchise's second-longest streak behind Sterling Sharpe's 103 (1988-94).
-Could tie a franchise record with 1,000 yards in a fifth overall season. Only James Lofton and Sharpe have five 1,000-yard campaigns.
88 BUBBA FRANKS
-Needs one TD reception to reach 30 career. In team history, only 11 previous players have reached the milestone, including Driver in '06.
76 CHAD CLIFTON
-Needs five starts for 100 career. Clifton enters with 95.
65 MARK TAUSCHER
-Needs seven games played and nine starts for 100. He enters with 93 games and 91 starts.
74 AARON KAMPMAN
-Needs one sack to become just the eighth player to record 30 in a Packers uniform. Kampman, who had five sacks over his last three games, enters with 29.
94 KABEER GBAJA-BIAMILA
-On Green Bay's all-time sacks list, needs four to match Reggie White's career record, 681/2. Gbaja-Biamila enters with 641/2.
56 NICK BARNETT
-Bids for a fifth consecutive 100-tackle season.
21 CHARLES WOODSON
-Carries into 2007 a streak of three games with an interception. With an INT in the season opener, would extend the stretch to four games, longest since John Symank in 1961. Irv Comp holds the team record, with five in 1943.