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Pack To Face Super Bowl Demons

The Green Bay Packers revisited their Super Bowl nightmare this week as they prepared for Monday night's exhibition against the Denver Broncos, the team that, as Derrick Mayes fretted, "took away our rings."

But as far as revenge, forget it.

The Packers won't soak up one scintilla of vengeance in a preseason game where the primary concern for both teams is keeping their starters healthy.

"We're not out for revenge. We're out to play a football game and get better," quarterback Brett Favre said. "We have things we have to get done. It'll be a lot of fun. I just want to go out and play well, as do the other guys."

That would be a turnaround from San Diego, where the heavily favored Packers fell victim to Denver's constant blitzing and Terrell Davis's steady running in a stunning 31-24 defeat, ending the NFC's 13-year reign.

Linebacker Seth Joyner said nothing will ever ease that pain.

"I don't care if we go out there and beat them 50-0, that doesn't erase what happened in the Super Bowl for anybody," he said. "I just think it's a good opportunity for us to go in against a good football team and see where we are at this point."

But Joyner admitted both teams have a little extra incentive.

"No doubt it's going to be a hard-nosed game. They're going to want to prove that their win was no fluke and we want to prove that we just had a bad day," he said. "But I don't care what happens in the game, there's nothing that can erase last January."

Nevertheless, coach Mike Holmgren, who lost track of downs in the closing minutes of the Super Bowl and inexplicably ignored Pro Bowl halfback Dorsey Levens in the fourth quarter, is eager for the rematch.

"Well, it's not just another preseason game, but there's no revenge factor," Holmgren said. "Why it's very important is that we're playing a real good football team and it'll be a good gauge for where we are.

"And we're playing in a place that has a great homefield advantage for the Broncos. That's good for us to get our younger players used to that a little bit. So there's a lot of key things about this game, but revenge isn't one of them."

Still, the Packers were constantly reminded of their Super Bowl misadventure as they prepared for their trip to Mile High Stadium.

"A lot of guys are still thinking about that game," linebacker Lamont Hollinquest confessed. "We didn't play our best game when we should have. That's the game we shouldn't have taken off. That was the final game, the Super Bowl, the biggest game of the year.

"A lot of guys are still carrying that with them, so I'm pretty sure the first team's going to go out there and play hard and try to make up for what hapened last year."

Holmgren has been on edge all week.

He threw several tirades at practice, but insisted it wasn't because Denver was on the horizon. He lost his cool, he said, because his players should be beyond such mental miscues by now.

Linebacker Bernardo Harris said the Packers were eager to prove themselves at Denver so they could show everybody they're Super Bowl contenders again.

"Our preseason so far has been inconsistent," Harris said. "So, we know we've got a great chance with Denver this week. They're the defending Super Bowl champs, they beat us."

Hollinquest said there's another reason to play well Monday night.

"Who knows? We might see them down the line again in the Super Bowl," he said. "So, we want to let them know that it's not going to happen again what happened before."

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