Green Bay Packers Face off the Chicago Bears: Reliving the Rivalry
We are all ready to take our seats in front of our big screens, in the crowded seats of the Chicago stadium, or on a stool in our local sports bar. The longest running rivalry in the NFL is about to commence a face-off.
We all know that when blue and orange meets green and gold in the streets, jests and jeers will commence. But what is it that started this off? Do we even remember how, when or why this intense contest commenced?
Beginning in 1921, the Green Bay Packers lost, 20 to zip, in front of seven thousand fans to a team that was then called the Chicago Staleys, NFC North's current Chicago Bears.
The next two meetings went the same way, with the Chicago Bears completely shutting out the Packers and refusing to allow for even so much as a field goal.
If that was how the Bears wanted to make a first impression, it worked. The Green Bay Packers have gritted their teeth when going to play against them ever since.
Green Bay retaliated, to say the least. 1928 through September of 1930, the two teams met five times, and Chicago was not allowed a single point on the scoreboard for each of these encounters. This is the longest standing streak for such a shutout from one team to another.
In fact, in a whopping 28 of Packers vs. Bears games throughout the decades, one of the teams walked away without a single scoring play.
No wonder these two teams don’t like each other.
Historically, out of the 182 times that they have contended, the Chicago Bears have taken 93 of those games, and 84 have gone to the Pack. Six of those games resulted in a tie (yea, a tie, remember those?), one of which was zip to zip.
The Packers and the Bears can also be attributed to the first teams ever who had players removed from the game for poor sportsman-like conduct. In 1924, the Bears' Frank Hanney and Packers’ Walter Voss were ejected for throwing punches.
We need only look back to the beginning to see how this type of precedent was set.
George Halas and Curly Lambeau used to regularly engage in heckling and taunting that would nowadays be ground for fines. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, dozens of players stated that "Halas' demeanor would transform from professional to possessed after kickoff."
Despite all this, everyone needs someone to hate, and without a rival, you have no rivalry.
Behind closed doors during the Great Depression, the Green Bay Packers actually issued a loan to Halas and the Chicago Bears when payroll expenses could not be met. Rather than let the franchise go for broke, the Packers helped them out in order to continue with what would become a historic rivalry.
What about now?
On December 22, 2008, the teams battled it out on Soldier field. A win by the Pack would have removed the Bears from playoff hopes. When what would have been a winning field goal by the Packers was blocked by Alex Brown, the game was sent into overtime. A field goal by Chicago’s Robbie Gould secured the win for the Bears with a final overtime score of Bears 20; Packers 17.
On January 23, 2011, the two teams met in the playoffs for the first time since 1941 at the NFC Championship Game. The Packers took the game in the end, but not before they humiliated the Bears with three interceptions, the removal of their first string quarterback Jay Cutler, and Bear’s linebacker Brian Urlacher being tackled by Packers’ own quarterback for interception retaliation.
Interestingly enough, Rodgers states that Urlacher is his "favorite" competitor. We will definitely be watching on Sunday to see this camaraderie played out.
Jay Cutler will be leading the Bears on Sunday afternoon with a career quarterback rating of 83.4. After being battered last week against New Orleans with a total of six sacks, we know where their weaknesses are.
Compare that to Aaron Rodgers' 99.5 career rating and we can assume that the Green Bay Packers offense, especially Donald Driver and Randall Cobb, will have a lot more action. Very much to the Packers' dismay, however, they rank dead last in the NFL right now for passing defense. In case last week's allowed 400 plus yards for Cam Newton couldn't help you realize that...
The Chicago Bears special teams have been doing exceptionally well, though, this season so I'm anticipating some on-side kicks or conversions for some extra points against the Packers.
Losing Nick Collins isn't going to be good for Green Bay. Chicago is down two starters to their one, though: Gabe Carimi and Lance Louis.
This Is Football
No matter who wins the game, I'm going to be greatly entertained this upcoming Sunday. Every play is going to be able to stir up taunting text messages and possibly some creative picture messages. When, and if, the Pack fall behind, I'll be on my knees in front of the TV pleading for a comeback.
When the Bears are on the back burner, I'll be thrilled. In fact, it might be the happiest I am all day. Why? Because this is football, baby, and that is what it does to us.
*This article is dedicated to Kelly Dersham and her "Lovable Losers".*