Bears-Packers Rivalry Will Never Be The Same

Sunday is right around the corner.  What, you haven’t heard what’s going on Sunday?  You’re not counting down the moments to BEARMAGEDDON?  It’s the Legendary matchup between the Bears and Packers for the NFC Championship and the right to go to the Super Bowl!

On Chicago’s lakefront on Sunday, the oldest rivalry in the NFL is set to take to rarely seen heights.  You see, of the 181 games played in this historic rivalry, only once before have they met in the playoffs, when George Halas and Curly Lambeau roamed the sidelines.   (The Bears won 33-14, by the way!)

Sunday’s game comes with unmatched hype and ticket prices to match.   This game will truly be EPIC.  I’m also here to tell you that it’s bad for the rivalry.  Am I crazy?  Follow the jump to see. First of all, let’s make one thing completely clear – despite what Lovie Smith, Brian Urlacher et al tell you when they stand in front of the podium – the rivalry is about US, the fans, and not about the players.

Years ago, when Walter Payton was getting shoved over the bench out of bounds or Jim McMahon was getting body-slammed by Charles Martin, there was genuinely bad blood between the teams.  Head coaches Mike Ditka and Forrest Gregg hated each other and that translated onto the field.  Today, Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers send each other congratulatory text messages like 12 year old school girls.  (Maybe that’s a bad example, since 12 year old school girls can be vicious.)

Lovie Smith’s goals that he outlined when he signed on as Bears head coach were quite simple: #1 Beat the Packers, #2 win the division and #3 win the Super Bowl.  And Lovie’s done a good job in achieving goal #1 with an 8-6 record against the Packers in his career.  Lovie has echoed this week that Michael McCaskey made sure to tell him about the rivalry when they first met to discuss his job coaching the Bears.  What the hell does McCaskey know about the rivalry?  Did some cheesehead cut off his yacht?  You want to hear about the rivalry, go ask Doug Buffone or Dick Butkus.

OK, back to my central thesis, that this game is actually BAD for THE RIVALRY.  Hear me out.  If you treat THE RIVALRY as an entity unto itself, as it’s own living, breathing thing, Sunday’s game will be the absolute pinnacle.  The apex.  The climax.  Every game played after Sunday’s game will pale in comparison.  No other game, unless there’s some radical re-alignment of the league, will be more important than Sunday’s.  Every other game with be the falling action of this play between the Bears and the Packers.  We will have seen the summit of the rivalry.

This story has been building since 1921, so at some point we had to hit the climax.  Sunday is that day.  You will never encounter a Packer fan and not have this game come up, win or lose.  If When the Bears win, you will endlessly and mercilessly taunt Packer acquaintances that you have (I can’t call anyone I know who wears the Green and Gold a friend) about knocking them off for a chance at the Super Bowl.  Heck, even if we went on to get steamrolled in the Super Bowl, a win on Sunday would make that pill a little easier to swallow.

And (Ditka forbid) if the Bears lose, you will never be able to make the trip up to Door County or Lake Geneva again without suffering the repercussions of a defeat.  The Packers could go on to go 0-16 for the next decade and Packer fans would have that win to hang over our heads.

If you thought that THE RIVALRY was intense before, it was just on simmer.  It comes to full boil on Sunday and it will never be the same again!




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  • Thomas

    So are you trying to say that any rivalry is going to die out if they have a championship game that is overly hyped? Are you sure about that, because i’m pretty sure the yankee’s bosox rivalry is still going pretty strong..

    • Boomer

      Good point. I guess I’m not saying overhyped, but when the stakes are as high as a Super Bowl trip, it’s hard to put a regular season matchup on the same scale as this. Besides, this is a matchup that is 69+ years in the making. It could be a once-in-a-lifetime event. I just can’t see a game next November comparing to Sunday.

      • Boomer

        PS – I am well aware that the Yankees and Red Sox have played for the right to go to the World Series. This is a single game for the whole ball of wax, not a series.

  • Kevin

    Our Father, who art in Chicago,
    Football be thy game.
    Let Forte run,
    Till the game is won,
    On Earth as it is in Soldier Field.
    Give us Sunday a playoff victory,
    And forgive us our penalties
    As we defeat those Packers who play against us.
    Lead us not into elimination,
    But deliver us to Dallas!
    In the name of the fans, the city of Chicago, and the good Bears name.


    • Boomer

      AMEN! That is outstanding work!!!

  • chicagoirish5

    The key to a good rivalry is that no matter what is at stake, the game still has significant meaning. If you are a Bears fan that truly hates the Pack, then a regular season game in October should have the same feeling as this week’s game. It’s just that Sunday’s game has a trip to Dallas tied to it, which adds fuel to the fire. The rivalry does not end on Sunday no matter the result – actually, I think it adds to it.

  • http://NeoDotCom Kenneth Crump

    This is The Big Game
    I made a song years ago

    Masters of the Universe
    (Bears Vs Packers)

    Added some footage of our victory from earlier this season and some great images of bears legends. From the Southside to all over the world.

    Go Bears Clean

  • David

    My website just put out a pretty funny video of Obama talking about the upcoming game this weekend. Check it out!

    Go BEARS!

  • scott

    I for one will not stop hating the Packers. Though if we lose I can already see the Pack fans saying “well we beat you to go to the Superbowl.” They will have that point for a while (especially if they win). So I can see where your coming from Boomer. So please please lets just win. Man is it Sunday yet!

    • Boomer

      I hear ya Scott. The buildup to this game has me emotionally exhausted already. Let’s buckle up the chin straps and play the game!!!

  • Daver

    Re. Michael McCaskey is a disgrace to everything and that is why his grandmother fired his sorrowful rear.
    Here is how it is: The Bears and Packers are the only great rivalry in Pro football. Say what you want and be an assclown if you must but it is the greatest match every time they play. True fans of the teams and the game feel it to the bone.
    At the end of the game or maybe later at the end of the day, no matter who wins, there is a very special feeling experienced by the real fan. And there is the satisfaction that win or loose, it gets to happen twice again next year. This year is VERY special.
    To the Bears fans I say: Good Luck and may the team that plays the best win the game on Sunday. I am almost praying that the NFL zebras don’t influence the results with their usual less that stellar performance.
    Remember that the team that wins on Jan. 23rd is the North Division team that will go on to represent our region.
    As far as I am concerned, I like the idea of Mark Tausher (a Masrhfield, WI native and former UW player) getting a championship Super Bowl ring. Same for Donald Driver. Let it be said that at my house, the Super Bowl is just another game compared to this coming Sunday at Soldier.
    Happy Sunday to all.

  • Pedro

    I love the Bears and love the rivalry but I don’t hate the Packers. Don’t get me wrong, I want the Pack to lose. I want them just to lose I want them to be embarrassed. From the beginning of the season we’ve had to endure the predictions from every NFL “analyst”. Apparently, the Bears were suppose to go 7-9 and not be in the NFC Conference Championship game. This Sunday is the day the Bears show everyone they are an ELITE football team. Don’t let me down guys. BEAR DOWN!