The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers have been squaring off since 1921. After 194 meetings, the all-time series in the Bears-Packers rivalry is all tied up at 94-94-6 after the Packers 30-27 win on Sunday.
For those of us who have been following the Bears-Packers rivalry, we’ve seen this day coming. For the better part of the last 20 years, the Packers have been closing the gap in the series wins until Sunday’s 30-27 win over the Bears tied the all-time matchup at 94 wins apiece for the first time since 1933.
Believe it or not, there was a time when the rivalry mattered on and off the field. Let’s be honest, in today’s NFL, the rivalry isn’t what it used to be like when Charles Martin slammed Jim McMahon to the turf or when Mike Ditka and Forrest Gregg used to go at it. Now, the players all exchange hugs after the game, swap jerseys and plan rounds of golf for the offseason. The rivalry is more about the fans and the jawing that takes place between you and your Packers fan “friends.”
The Bears had a 24 game lead against the Packers as recently as 1992. Coincidentally, that’s when the Brett Favre/Aaron Rodgers run started in Green Bay. Since 1992, the Packers have gone 37-15 over the Bears and closed that gap to tie the all-time wins at 94.
The Bears had a 24-game margin once before in the rivalry, way back in 1960. The Bart Starr era in Green Bay closed the gap as the Packers won 15 out of 20 games in the 1960’s. That was the first losing decade in the rivalry until the 1990’s.
The Bears – or originally the Staleys – went 7-6-3 against the Packers in the 1920’s while a narrow 12-11 wins margin in the 1930’s kept the series close. The Packers enjoyed their only lead in the history of the series in the 1930’s when they enjoyed their largest lead, a two-game margin back in 1932. The Bears tied the series in 1933 and haven’t looked back until yesterday.
The Monsters of the Midway, the Bears of the 1940’s opened up a lead while going 16-4-1 through the decade. That was the most lopsided decade in the series, until this decade. In the 2010’s the Packers have gone 12-3 through 15 games this decade, including the painful 2010 NFC Championship game in which the Packers beat the Bears en route to their most recent title in Super Bowl XLV.
If the Bears can’t turn things around, the series is going to get away from them. When Lovie Smith became the Bears head coach, he helped turn things around, making the focus to beat Green Bay. Many said it was just pandering to the Bears fans, but since Lovie’s dismissal, the Bears have been hopeless against the Packers, losing five of the last six and most in lopsided fashion.