-THE REDEDICATION: Today's ceremonies rededicating Lambeau Field ("The Rebirth of a Legend") will be conducted at halftime, with NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Packers resident/CEO Bob Harlan officiating, and John Jones, the Packers' executive vice president and chief operating officer serving as master of ceremonies. Governor Jim Doyle, Cong. Mark Green and John Gard, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker, also will be on the field for the program.
There also will be two special guests - Green Bay youngsters Lacey Van Zeeland and Cory Jansa. The 13-year-old Lombardi Middle School students participated in the May 2001 Lambeau Field groundbreaking ceremony after winning a groundbreaking ceremony essay contest and were invited back to participate in today's rededication event as representatives of the next generation of Packer fans.
They will formally rededicate Lambeau Field with the following words:
"On behalf of all the young people of Green Bay and Brown County, and on behalf of all past, present and future generations of Packers fans from around the world, we hereby re-dedicate the best football stadium in the world - Lambeau Field."
-BARRING A POSSIBLE TIE, the standoff in the Packers-Vikings rivalry will end this afternoon, at least temporarily. Each team has won 41 of the previous 83 meetings and one - in 1978 - ended in a 10-10, overtime tie. The latter remains the only deadlock in the history of the series, launched in 1961.
-MIKE SHERMAN COMES into today's game and the 2003 season with an imposing 14-4 won-lost record against NFC Central/NFC North Division opponents Chicago, Detroit and Minnesota over his three seasons as Green Bay's head coach. He owns a 4-2 mark against the visiting Vikings and 5-1 records against both the Bears and Lions.
-THE PACKERS, IN ADDITION TO HAVING WON more championships (12) than any other team in the league, have at least one other major historical distinction. They stand as the only team from the NFL's earliest days to still be operating in the same city in which it was founded. The Bears were launched in Decatur, Ill., when the league began in 1920, and subsequently moved to Chicago in 1922, while the Racine (Street) Cardinals debuted on Chicago's South Side in 1920, became the Chicago Cardinals in 1922, moved to St. Louis in 1960 and to Arizona in 1988. The Packers, founded in Green Bay in 1919, entered the league in 1921 and have never moved.
-JUST FOR THE RECORD: The Packers were granted their NFL franchise on April 30, 1921, at a meeting of the then-American Professional Football Conference (later to become the NFL) in Akron, Ohio, the certificate of membership being awarded to John Clair of the Acme Packing Company.
-QUARTERBACK BRETT FAVRE comes into today's season-opener having thrown more touchdown passes over the past two seasons - 59 - than any other quarterback in the NFL. The New Orleans Saints' Aaron Brooks, once a Favre backup in Green Bay, is next up with 53 TD throws over the '01 and '02 seasons.
-NO. 4 vs. VIKINGS: Favre today is making his 22nd career start against Minnesota. In his 21 previous appearances, he has completed 410 of 681 passing attempts for 4,467 yards and 32 touchdowns, with 23 interceptions.
From the won-lost standpoint, Favre will be striving to square his record against the Vikings. He enters today's game with a 10-11 mark against Minnesota as a starting quarterback.
-KING OF THE HILL: Easily the winningest active quarterback in the NFL, Brett Favre comes into this afternoon's game with a115-58-0 record as a starting quarterback, a .665 percentage. Among those with 50 or more career starts, there is no other field general close to the 13th-year veteran from Southern Mississippi, Tampa Bay's Brad Johnson being next up with a 51-28 record and a .646 percentage.
-DECIDEDLY DURABLE: Favre also has left all of his quarterbacking colleagues in the dust when it comes to durability. He today makes his 174th consecutive start, extending his all-time record for quarterbacks, and is playing in his 176th consecutive game, leaving him only 11 games short of the Packers' record for most consecutive games played, 187 by Forrest Gregg.
-TOPS IN TAKEAWAYS: The Packers come into this afternoon's regular-season inaugural leading the NFL in most opponents' turnovers for the past two seasons (84), as well as the last four campaigns (153). Tampa Bay is next up in both instances with 77 over the '01 and '02 seasons and 149 over the last four.
-DE CHUKIE NWOKORIE, who makes his regular-season debut in a Green Bay uniform today, has good reason to remember his 2001 season opener - against the New York Jets, Sept. 9 - while with the Indianapolis Colts. It was a record-setting day for the affable Nigerian, who returned a fumble 95 yards for a touchdown, an excursion that stands as the longest in Baltimore/Indianapolis history.
"I remember it was a 12- or 13-play drive and the ball, I think, was on the 2-yard line and they were about to score," Chukie said in reflecting upon that memorable moment. "I just got in the backfield, they fumbled the snap...it popped in my hands, and I took it to the house."
-THE ANTHEM: The national anthem is being sung today by a trio of country singers currently on their "Rockin' Roadhouse Tour"...Tracy Lawrence, Joe Diffie and David Kersh.
-NEXT WEEK: The Packers stay at home and within the division, hosting another NFC North rival, the Detroit Lions, next Sunday (Sept. 14), with kickoff set for 12 noon, CDT (Wisconsin time).
The Vikings, meanwhile, will return to the Minnesota Metrodome and also entertain a division rival, the Chicago Bears, in a Sunday night matchup (ESPN). It will have a 7:30, CDT kickoff.