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Wednesday, April 23, 2014
All eyes on the Packers-Seahawks opener

By Rob Demovsky

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The NFL's annual season opener featuring the defending Super Bowl champions is about many things -- the final coronation for the reigning champs, the celebration of a new football season and even a musical event.

But let's get right down to what the Green Bay Packers' trip to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL's kickoff game on Thursday, Sept. 4 is all about.

Mike McCarthy
Mike McCarthy said he's hoping that a season opener in Seattle will mean added focus for the Packers in training camp.
For the Packers, it will be their first game in Seattle and against the Seahawks since the infamous Fail Mary game on "Monday Night Football" in Week 3 of the 2012 season, which helped bring an end to the replacement officials. It was arguably one of the biggest stories – and biggest distractions – of that season, which was precisely why Packers coach Mike McCarthy tried to head off that talk from the beginning.

In quotes distributed by the Packers shortly after the 2014 NFL schedule was announced on Wednesday, McCarthy addressed that subject.

"This game won’t be about the past," McCarthy said. "It will be about the 2014 Green Bay Packers."

This marks the third straight season the Packers will play at the defending Super Bowl champions. They do so this season because both teams finished in the same place – first – in their respective divisions. The Packers played at the New York Giants in 2012 after their Super Bowl win and at the Baltimore Ravens last season following their Super Bowl victory.

But it's the first time since the Packers won the Super Bowl (2011) that they will be featured in the season-opening, Thursday night game.

"It's a tremendous opportunity for our football team," McCarthy said. "We have experience playing in the kickoff opener three years ago, and we will draw on that. Obviously, being the visiting team this time presents new challenges. It will help sharpen our focus even more during training camp and the preseason."

Here's what McCarthy had to say about the rest of the schedule, which can be found here: