NFL Notebook: History calls in Lambeau today

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The Green Bay Packers, stung by their much-discussed loss Monday night, need a win.

The surprisingly winless New Orleans Saints need a win even more.

Yet a story line will be played out on the turf of Lambeau Field this afternoon (4:25 p.m., WPGH) that has nothing to do with a win or a loss.

With one touchdown pass, Saints quarterback Drew Brees will tie Johnny Unitas' NFL record for touchdown passes in consecutive games at 47.

"When you say that name Johnny Unitas, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time ... to even be in the realm of a record that he's held for a long time, it's an honor," Brees said. "It's humbling."

Somewhat surprisingly, while Unitas played in a different era, he was nearly as prolific. He threw 103 touchdown passes through 46 games of his 47-game streak that ran from 1956-60. Brees has 110 through 46.

Referees OK deal

As expected, referees approved a new eight-year contract with the league by a 112-5 vote Saturday in Irving, Texas, officially ending a lockout that led to three weeks of increasingly chaotic games run by replacement officials who drew the attention of everyone from the average fan to President Barack Obama. The referees met for about an hour and a half Friday night to go over the contract, then gathered for another 30 minutes Saturday morning before approving the contract.

Social rivalry

A look inside the Giants-Eagles rivalry that will take center stage tonight (8:20 p.m., WPXI):

During an interview this week, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy had this to say about Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora.

"Osi, to be honest, he is a good player," McCoy said. "I think he thinks that he is better than what he really is. I think he is a ballerina in a Giants uniform. Other than that, that is all I got to say about Osi."

Umenyiora is no innocent victim here.

In May on Mother's Day, Umenyiora tweeted, "Happy Mothers Day Lesean Mccoy! Enjoy your special day!!"

Crazy history

Russell Wilson's 24-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate on the last play of the game Monday night was significant for a reason other than it being the tipping point in labor negotiations between the league and referees. It marked the first time in the 664-game history of "Monday Night Football" that a game ended with a winning touchdown being scored with no time left in the fourth quarter.


How deep is the hole left by the season-ending knee injury to All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis in New York? The Jets depth chart was so shallow that Rex Ryan had running back Joe McKnight practicing at corner this week.

Going the distance

Former Penn State kicker Robbie Gould, now with the Chicago Bears, is closing in on an NFL distance record. He has made nine consecutive field goals of 50-plus yards, the longest active streak in the NFL. The record is 11 by Tony Zendejas from 1988-1993 with the Oilers and Rams.

Quick hits

Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding did not make the trip to Kansas City because of a groin injury. San Diego was expected to sign Nick Novak, who filled in for Kaeding last year. ...Not since 2003 have the Patriots been below .500. They started 0-1 that fall. ... With 316 yards vs. Houston, Peyton Manning (65) broke a tie with Dan Marino (64) for most 300-yard games in history. ... San Francisco's Randy Moss moved past Tim Brown into fourth place on the NFL's all-time receiving list with 14,946 yards last week. ... The Eagles will retire Brian Dawkins' No. 20 jersey tonight.



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