McCarthy a road warrior

If Mike McCarthy has proven one thing in his first year on the Green Bay sideline, it's that he can win on the road.

The Packers' triumph Sunday at San Francisco was Green Bay's fourth away from Lambeau Field this season.

The road win total is already better than the records posted by franchise coaching legends Mike Holmgren (3) and Vince Lombardi (3) in their first seasons on the Green Bay sideline.

Only one Packer coach - Phil Bengtson - has won as many road games in his first season as McCarthy. In 1968, the Packers went 4-2-1 on the road in the Packers' first post-Lombardi season.

A win at Chicago in the season finale Dec. 31 would make McCarthy the most successful Packer rookie coach on the road ever.

He would then join Bengtson as the only coaches in Packer history to post a winning record on the road in his first season with the team.

As it stands now, McCarthy is guaranteed to join Lombardi (3-3) and Bengtson as the only Packer coaches to log at least a .500 record in road games in their rookie campaigns.

McCarthy already has more road wins than former Packer first-year coaches Mike Sherman (3), Ray Rhodes (3), Lindy Infante (2), Forrest Gregg (3), Bart Starr (2), Dan Devine (1) and every other coach that can before Lombardi.

Biting the hand: McCarthy continued a tradition among Packer coaches by beating the 49ers last week.

McCarthy became the third consecutive Packer coach to win his first meeting against his former employer. McCarthy served as the 49ers' offensive coordinator before taking the Packer job.

Sherman and Holmgren also accomplished this feat while Gregg and Lombardi were not successful in this venture.

Sherman served as Seattle's offensive coordinator and tight ends coach in 1999 before taking the Green Bay job. He beat the Seahawks 35-13 Oct. 5, 2003 in his first matchup against his old team. Holmgren was a San Francisco assistant from 1986 to 1991. He conquered the 49ers 27-12 in the 1995 playoffs in his inaugural showdown vs. his former club.

Fittingly, McCarthy was the only of the three to trip up his old squad on the road.

Gregg was the last Packer coach to fall to his old team. Gregg joined the Packers after coaching Cincinnati but he didn't face the Bengals until 1986. Cincy got the best of their former coach with a 34-28 win in Milwaukee on Oct. 5, 1986.

For the record, Lombardi lost his first meeting against his old employer. On Nov. 1, 1959, the New York Giants beat the Packers 20-3 at Yankee Stadium. Lombardi came to Green Bay after serving as a Giant assistant from 1954 to 1958.

Bits: The Packers are 28-27 in road games this decade … The Packers have won 15 home games in a row over the Lions. Twelve of those triumphs have come in Green Bay and three came in Milwaukee (1992-1994). … The Lions' last win in "Titletown" was a 21-17 triumph in 1991.

Laura Veras Marran

Editor's Note: Laura Veras Marran is a frequent contributor to E-mail her at

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