By: Josh Gentry
Twenty-one NFL Championships. Forty-eight members in the pro football hall of fame. One hundred eighty regular season meetings and one post season meeting. This Sunday will mark meeting number one eighty-two.
This historic rivalry between the Packers and the Bears dates back to November 27, 1921, a 20-0 Bears win. The last meeting between these two teams resulted in a 10-3 Packers win and catapulted Green Bay in to the playoffs. Every game in-between has been just as entertaining, with the longest winning streak between the two head-to-head at ten games, owned by the Packers from ’94-’98.
When these two teams button their chin straps, it no longer becomes just a football game to the players involved–but much more. For instance, the last meeting between the two, a 10-3 Packers win, meant nothing to the Bears, allegedly. They had the number two seed and a first round bye wrapped up before the game even started. This usually gives a coach an opportunity to rest some of his core players and reduces risk of injury to his stars. Wait a minute, this is Packers vs Bears.
Coach Lovie Smith did the right thing and played his starters, all of them, all four quarters. After the game, Chicago linebacker Brian Urlacher downplayed what the game meant to the Bears by saying, “…everything was wrapped up for us, it didn’t seem like a playoff game to us. It didn’t mean that much to us.” I’m sorry Mr. Urlacher, but actions speak louder than words. By playing all four quarters, in a game supposedly having little meaning to Chicago, it meant everything. Of course it did. It’s Packers vs Bears.
Since that win versus Chicago, Green Bay has gone on the road to beat Philadelphia and this past Saturday throttled the number one seed Atlanta Falcons. Now, not only has Green Bay become the odds on favorite to win the Super Bowl, but they are favored over the Bears…in Chicago. Do you think the Bears played that game on January 2, 2011 like it was a playoff game? I for one, do, and I’m positive this is the reason: A date with the hottest team in the NFL and a trip to Dallas on the line is exactly what the Bears and Coach Lovie Smith didn’t want.
I think Coach Smith did the right thing. He tried to get the Packers out while he could, but failed. Well, he and the Bears players will have their shot again this Sunday with all the marbles on the line. Cold, windy, and loud, Soldier Field will be rocking for sure.
This will be a game for the ages. It will mark one of the fiercest contests some of us have ever seen on a football field. How fitting it is that in order for the Packers to bring home the Lombardi Trophy, they have to go to Chicago and win the Halas Trophy first. Just think about it for a minute. It’s Packers vs Bears: take one eighty-two. And, action.
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