A Complete Guide to the Green Bay Packers-Chicago Bears Rivalry

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistMay 4, 2020

** ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 22-23 - FILE - **  This Nov. 27, 1967, file photo shows Dick Butkus (51) of the Chicago Bears shaking hands with Jim Grabowski of the Green Bay Packers after their game in Chicago. Butkus and Grabowski were teammates at the University of Illinois.  This Sunday, when the Bears and Packers meet for the 182nd time, they will play for the Halas Trophy in the NFC Championship. (AP Photo/Charles Harrity, File)
Charles Harrity/Associated Press

Welcome to B/R Gridiron's Rivalry Week, during which we're breaking down some of the best ongoing team-level conflicts in the NFL. In this spot, we look at the sport's oldest rivalry. 

This is everything you need to know about nearly a century of strife between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. 


Rivalry Facts

First meeting: Nov. 27, 1921—The Bears—known then as the Staleys—shut out the Packers 20-0. 

All-time series: 200 meetings—Packers 99, Bears 95 (six ties); Green Bay has won 39 of 52 meetings dating back to 1994.

What makes them hate each other: History, a natural geographic connection and the fact they've played in the same conference or division since 1933. 

When the rivalry was born: Nov. 23, 1924—Chicago's Frank Hanny and Green Bay's Tillie Voss were the first players in league history to be ejected from a game when they got into a fight in the midst of a 3-0 Bears victory. 

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 09:  Mitchell Trubisky #10 of the Chicago Bears and Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers meet after the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears 24-23 at Lambeau Field on September 9, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo b
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Memorable Battles and Iconic Moments

Nov. 2, 1941: The 5-0 Bears had outscored their opponents by a ridiculous 157 points before Green Bay shocked Chicago with a 16-14 victory that was wildly controversial at the time. 

Dec. 14, 1941: Just a week after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the two met in a playoff tiebreaker that represented their only postseason meeting until 2010. The Bears won 33-14, exacting revenge for that November defeat en route to a championship. 

Nov. 12, 1961: Both franchises were superb, and at the time, both were contenders. Vince Lombardi's squad took a 31-7 lead over George Halas'. Chicago came back at Wrigley Field to get within three points, 31-28, but fell short. Six weeks later, Green Bay was crowned champion. 

Nov. 17, 1963: With first place in the conference on the line and both teams sporting 8-1 records, Chicago made a statement against the two-time defending champions. Its defense smothered Green Bay in a 26-7 victory. Ultimately, the Bears handed the Packers their only two losses that year and ended up winning the title. 

Oct. 21, 1985: The legendary '85 Bears put an exclamation mark on a Monday Night Football home victory over their biggest rival when rookie sensation William "The Refrigerator" Perry scored the game-winning touchdown at Soldier Field. 

Nov. 5, 1989: Don Majkowski's last-minute touchdown pass to Sterling Sharpe was negated when officials ruled that the quarterback was beyond the line of scrimmage as he delivered his pass, but a long review determined that the pass was legal. Green Bay pulled out a controversial 14-13 victory. 

Nov. 7, 1999: In the Bears' first game after the passing of legendary back Walter Payton, a mediocre team dug deep and beat its arch-nemesis for the first time in nearly six years. The emotional one-point victory at Lambeau Field came as a result of a blocked 28-yard field-goal attempt in the final seconds. 

Jan. 23, 2011: In the only playoff game between the two teams in modern NFL history, the Packers knocked Bears quarterback Jay Cutler out of the game in a 21-14 win that led to Green Bay's Super Bowl XLV victory. 

Sept. 9, 2018: In the 2018 season opener, Green Bay trailed 20-0 in the third quarter and was without quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who suffered a first-half knee injury. But Rodgers heroically returned and led a three-score comeback in the fourth quarter, ruining Khalil Mack's debut in Chicago. 

Uncredited/Associated Press

Top Player Comparisons

Bart Starr vs. Sid Luckman: Few Bears fans will argue that their team is superior at the quarterback position, where you could easily substitute Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers for Starr and likely still have Luckman beat. The Chicago representative was a complete superhero in the 1940s, but only Green Bay has had legendary quarterbacks since. 

Paul Hornung vs. Walter Payton: Hornung is undoubtedly a legend for his productivity and versatility, but almost nobody can be compared to Sweetness. The five-time first-team All-Pro is a member of two All-Decade Teams and remains one of the greatest offensive players in NFL history. 

Ray Nitschke vs. Dick Butkus: Nitschke was one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history, but it's hard not to side with Butkus. The former was a first-team All-Pro twice, but the latter earned that honor five times. 

Don Hutson vs. Mike Ditka: The comparison isn't perfect because Hutson was a receiver and Ditka was a tight end, but these two are widely considered the best pass-catchers in their respective teams' histories. Ditka was incredible in a less distant era, but Hutson was twice an MVP and an eight-time first-team All-Pro. Only four players in NFL history have earned that honor more. 

Chicago Bears Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton on a carry in a 16-10 win over the Green Bay Packers on November 3, 1985 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Vic Milton/Getty Images)
Vic Milton/Getty Images

Winning Arguments

Why it's better to be a Bears fan: Chicago has 31 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, compared to 25 for Green Bay. The 1985 Bears are also widely considered to be one of the greatest teams in NFL history, while no post-1970-merger versions of the Packers typically register on those scales. 

Why it's better to be a Packers fan: The Packers have more NFL championships (13 to nine) and Super Bowls (four to one). They've also experienced far more recent success than the Bears, who have won just five division titles since 1991 (compared to 13 for Green Bay).