Packers-Bears: NFL's Oldest Rivalry Will Finally See a Game of Consequence

Tim SeemanAnalyst INovember 11, 2008

There is a reason why the Packers-Bears rivalry has lost some luster. There has been a lack of significant games between the two teams for the past 30 years or so.

The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears have been playing football against each other for 87 years.  Chicago won that first game on Nov. 27, 1921 by a score of 20-0.

Since then, the two teams have played 174 games.  Chicago leads the all-time series, 89-79-6.

But there has been only one postseason matchup. Back in 1941. And the Bears won.

Even though they are the only two teams to ever win the NFC North division, they have not been in direct competition for the divisional crown since that one-game playoff to decide the division champ in 1941.

The two franchises have not been up at the same time in many years. The Bears dominated the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Green Bay was the team of the 1960s.  The 1970s was the last decade in which the rivalry was competitive, but neither team was a league power. 

Chicago had its resurgence in the 1980s, with the Packer revival happening after the arrival of Brett Favre during the 1990s.  In fact, the Packers won 10 straight games during the decade, the longest streak of the rivalry.

Lately, the Bears have taken control of the rivalry, winning five of the last six meetings over the past three years.

Taking all this into consideration, it's easy to see why fans of other divisions prefer those rivalries. Dallas-New York, Denver-Oakland/L.A., and Pittsburgh-Cleveland/Baltimore are three examples.

But this week, the Packers and Bears will play a game with postseason implications for the first time in a long time, and one can only assume that they will play another later in the season.

Green Bay is 4-5 and on a two-game losing streak while Chicago is one game ahead at 5-4 and tied with Minnesota for the division lead.

This game is a must-win for Green Bay at this point in the season. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers cannot afford to fall to two games behind the division leader, whomever it may be. Especially with only six games left in the season. Since it looks like the NFC North will only send one team to the postseason, it magnifies the importance of the game.

Chicago also desperately needs to win this game (albeit, less so than the Packers) to keep pace with Minnesota in the division and to get a head start on the Packers in terms of a head-to-head tiebreaker if it comes into play at the end of the season. 

The league's oldest rivalry, one that has seen the Great Depression, World War II, the Space Race, Woodstock, Vietnam, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and 9/11, will finally get to see a significant football game. And you can be sure that my fellow, award-winning Packer community writers will be here to let you know all about it.