Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers: Understanding the Rivalry

Bryan DietzlerSenior Analyst ISeptember 27, 2010

Walter Payton #34 of the Chicago Bears stands for the National Anthem with Jim McMahon #9 before a game.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears will host their longtime rival Green Bay tonight in a showdown that will put two undefeated teams against one another in what promises to be one of the more interesting games in the Bears-Packers rivalry history. 

However, this is just one of the 179 games (soon to be 180) games that these two have played against one another. There are a handful of very memorable games in this rivalry that fans may or may not remember. 

Let’s take a look at five games between the Packers and the Bears that can be considered five of the best, or most controversial in their history.

November 5th, 1989 Green Bay 14, Chicago 13

This game will forever be remembered as the Instant Replay game. The Bears were ahead of the Packers late in the game as Green Bay was driving towards what could eventually be a winning touchdown.

Quarterback Don Majkowski threw a touchdown pass, or so he thought, to wide receiver Sterling Sharp but an official stated that Majkowski was over the line of scrimmage when the pass was thrown.  

The official booth reviewed the call, even though this call could not be reviewed and the call on the field was overturned allowing the Packers the touchdown and the win. 

The Bears were naturally furious and the whole incident caused a change in the NFL rule for the illegal forward pass. This was one of the most memorable games in recent series history.   

October 12th, 1997 Green Bay 24 Chicago 23

This game had several lead changes in it after the Bears started off the game 10-0. The Packers would score two touchdowns to make it 14-10 going into halftime. 

In the third quarter, Bears quarterback Erik Kramer tossed a three-yard touchdown to put them back ahead by three (17-14).

Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre put the Packers back ahead after tossing a touchdown pass of his own (21-17) and then drove the Packers down to get a field goal to make it 24-14.  

With two minutes remaining in the game, Kramer helped get the Bears within one after completing another touchdown pass.  Instead of tying the game, the Bears decided to try to go for the two-point conversion. The gamble didn’t pay off and Bears lost the game 24-23.

September 7th, 1980 Green Bay 12, Chicago 6 (in Overtime)

The Bears and the Packers played a tight game all the way to the end of regulation where they were forced to go into overtime with a 6-6 tie.  In overtime, the Packers attempted a field goal (by kicker Chester Marcol) but it was blocked by Chicago Bear Alan Page. 

The blocked kick went right at Marcol and he ran into the end zone for a touchdown.  Clearly, this was one of the oddest endings to any Bears/Packers game—or any game for that matter, ever.

November 23rd, 1986, Chicago 12 Green Bay 10

This game is famous for the injury that quarterback Jim McMahon suffered as a result of being driven into the turf by Green Bay Packers defender Charles Martin. 

Martin went into this game with the numbers of certain Bears written on his towel including the numbers of McMahon and Payton.  The injury that McMahon suffered ended his season and Martin was suspended and fined for his actions.

November 7th, 1999 Chicago 14, Green Bay 13

This was the first game that the Bears played following the death of long time Chicago running back Walter Payton. 

The win for the Bears came when defensive tackle Bryan Robinson blocked a last second field goal to preserve the win. The Bears hadn’t beaten the Packers since 1993.

Series History

Prior to Monday night’s game, the Bears lead the series 91-86-6.

For a full preview of the game this Monday night please see the Chicago Bears versus the Green Bay Packers game preview here.


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