Packers Make First Visit to New Eagles Stadium

Things are a bit better at the new digs, but no one is taking the hostile environment lightly...

The Packers should be more than happy to check out the Eagles' new digs at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday in the NFC Divisional Playoffs (3:45 p.m. kickoff).

The Eagles' previous home was, well, a dump.

The Packers last visit to Veterans' Stadium was Sept. 7, 1997. Even with five years left in its useful life, Veterans' had obviously seen better days. The field was a patchwork of carpet with visible seams. The press box was dismal, featuring obstructed views to one corner of each end zone.

Green Bay never won a game a regular-season game at Veterans' Stadium. While the Packers own an impressive 22-10 series edge over Philly, the Packers have lost five straight road games to the Eagles, all at Veterans' Stadium. Green Bay's last win in Philadelphia came more than 40 years ago when the team played at Franklin Field, but at least it was a big one: the Packers beat the Eagles won 49-0 en route to the 1962 title. That helped avenge a 17-13 loss in the 1960 title game – Vince Lombardi's Packers' only post-season loss.

Worst of all, the Packers' final appearance at Veterans Stadium was a heart-breaker. A 10-9 loss in week 2 of the 1997 season was unfairly heaped on the shoulders of then-rookie Ryan Longwell, who missed a chip-shot field goal as time expired. It was the Packers' first loss since Nov. 18, 1996 and ended a nine-game winning streak which started with Doug Evans' interception in St. Louis on Nov. 24, 1996, peaked with Super Bowl XXXI on Jan. 26, 1997 and ended with an opening-day walloping of the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field Sept. 1, 1997.

The poor field may have had a hand in the outcome. After connecting on kicks from 22, 18 and 27 yards, Longwell lined up for what should have been an easy game-winner from 28 yards. He had made all three of his attempts from longer than that distance the week before, as well. Minutes before the kick, an isolated rain cloud opened up and it began to pour on Veterans' Stadium. Philly spent a couple of time outs not only to ice the rookie kicker, but to allow the slick carpet to get even slicker. It worked. Longwell didn't get all of the kick, which missed to the right and set off a Philly frenzy.

Longwell was the Packers' only point producer of the day. Up until the fourth quarter, neither team had found the end zone. Former Packer Ty Detmer, who struggled mightily all day, suddenly looked more like Brett Favre as he cut through the Packer's suddenly helpless D for the game's only TD.

The playoffs would be the perfect time erase those memories and get off to a great start on Philadelphia's new field. Incidentally, the Packers won the first game they ever played in the City of Brotherly Love, a 10-0 win Dec. 3, 1933. Green Bay went on to win its next five appearances in Philadelphia until the Eagles finally won at home in 1947.

Green Bay has a fairly good track record upon first setting foot in new , "new-look," or "new-to-them" stadiums. They have won their last four in unfamiliar territory. Gillette Stadium 2002, Memorial Stadium in Champaign 2002 (Bears' temporary home), Ford Field 2002 and completely renovated Soldier Field 2003. Green Bay has won seven of its last nine in new locales since 1995 including victories at Jacksonville '95, St. Louis '96, and Carolina '97.

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