This Sunday, The Green Bay Packers play The Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. This game doesn’t have the usual excitement, mostly because it’s a battle of two first year starters, rookie Mitch Trubisky vs Aaron Rodgers’s backup Brett Hundley. Hundley will be the first quarterback other than Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers to start for the Packers against the Bears in 26 years. Because of this, Da Bears are actually the favorite for the first time since 2008. However, the Packers haven’t lost in Chicago since 2010. Also, no one on the current Bears roster has beaten the Packers at Soldier Field, so there could be a lot of firsts in this installation of the rivalry. No matter who plays in this game, tempers will flare and tensions will be high. This rivalry between these two NFL franchises is a tale as old as time.
The first game was in November of 1921, when the Chicago Bears (originally the Staleys, name was changed in 1922) beat the Packers 20-0 in front of 7,000 fans. After that game, the Bears and Packers rivalry was born. These two teams have played each other 195 times, and the Packers have the edge 95-94-6. Packers lead the series for the first time in 84 years. Combined, they have won 22 championships, 13 won by Green Bay and nine by Chicago. In the Super Bowl era, Packers four, Chicago one. The most recent game was a wild one, because of a lighting storm that interrupted it half way through. The future of the Bears franchise, Mitch Trubisky saw his first NFL game after replacing Mike Glennon. 65,000 more people attended that game than the first game in the rivalry. The rivalry has had its share of memorable moments; From long win streaks back and forth, to one sided shootouts, to defensive battles, this rivalry has seen every type of game you can think of. The series has seen multiple games that decided the NFC North (think week 17, 2013, the Aaron Rodgers miracle Hail Mary to Randall Cobb), even one game that decided who would go to the Super Bowl. This rivalry has felt like a tug-o-war of sorts, and with only a one game lead for the Packers, the match up is going strong as ever.
There have been a many memorable moments in the series. In 1924, the first players in NFL history were ejected from a game, when Packers Walter Voss and Bears Frank “Duke” Hanny engaged in hand to hand combat after trading words. In 1985, the Packers left the Bears a little present in their locker room, horse manure. This led to an intense game, where players were ejected and Bears qb actually gave the middle finger to the Packers coach. The Bears ultimately got the last laugh, because they hoisted the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season; on the back of that amazing defense, and the infamous rap song they recorded, the Super Bowl Shuffle. In 2011, the Packers actually beat the Bears four times and become only the second team to beat one team four times in a calendar year. Not to mention the mini rivalry between Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler, in which Aaron did a tribute to the smokin’ Jay meme, by fake smoking as one of his silent play calling signals. We all will miss the looks on Jay Cutler’s face every time Aaron Rodgers stuns the Bears. Just for good measure, here is a video of all 23 interceptions Jay Cutler threw against the Packers. Of course the rivalry spilled off the field, such as the discount double check commercial, with Rodgers, and two Bears fans on a plane. This rivalry has seen it all, and there is much more to come.
The longest winning streak in the series is 10 wins for the Packers, thanks to the “Bear Killer” himself Brett Favre. However, the Bears ultimately got sweet revenge on the ole gunslinger, by knocking him out cold in his last game of his career, which he also lost. Favre said he was out cold for a solid 10 seconds, and woke up not even remembering the team he was playing. Brett Favre did play for the Vikings at this point so, eh.
There have been some blowouts, such as a game in December 1980 when the Bears won 61-7 after scoring 8 offensive touchdowns. After this game, Bart Starr went across the sidelines and went off on the Bears coaching staff. The Bears responded by saying “we wanted 100 points”. Another one was in 2014 when Aaron Rodgers threw SIX touchdowns in one half, in a rout of the Bears. There has also been low scoring games. Both teams have beaten the other 2-0 once in the series.
The Packers and Bears have met twice in the playoffs in their storied rivalry. The first time was 1941, when the Bears bested the Packers, and then ultimately won the NFL Championship. The second time was during the 2010-2011 season, and is one of, if not, the most important game in the entire rivalry. Before the 2010-2011 playoffs started, the Packers beat the Bears 10-3 in week 17 to secure their wild card spot. Then a few weeks later, the two met again in the NFC Championship Game. It was a cold 20F day in Chicago, as the six seed Packers faced the second seed Chicago Bears. The game’s first score was a bootleg TD run from Aaron Rodgers. At halftime, the Packers led 14-0. During the third quarter, one of the most infamous moments of the entire rivalry unfolded. After seeing Jay Cutler on the sidelines on an exercise bike, people starting raising questions. When Jay Cutler didn’t return to the game in the 3rd quarter, speculations starting pouring in, and a general consensus believed he may have quit on the Bears. However, after the fact, it was revealed that it was Lovie Smith’s decision to sit him, because he sprained his knee, but still Packers fans will never let Jay live it down. The third string Caleb Hanie almost made a miraculous comeback, but an interception returned for a td by B.J Raji, capped off the a unforgettable celebration dance, and a Sam Shields interception on 4th and 4 with 45 seconds left put a dagger in the comeback. This win sent The Green Bay Packers to the Super Bowl, which they eventually won against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Aaron Rodgers won the MVP.
Overall, the Packers vs Bears is one of the most fierce rivalries in all of sports. This rivalry is chalked full of unforgettable moments, both on and off the gridiron. Game after game, both teams bring out the best in each other, and great football unfolds. No matter who starts at quarterback, no matter the teams records, Packers vs Bears is must watch football. After 96 years, the rivalry is alive and well, and they will continue to play each other twice a year and battle it out for the NFC North. Not only Packers and Bears fans, but all NFL fans have been lucky to be able to enjoy such a fun rivalry. The rivalry is even better if you live in Wisconsin or Illinois, especially if close friends and family root for the opposite team. This Sunday, the rivalry renews again. No matter the outcome, the game will be exciting, and will surely have some memorable moments to talk about.