The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers have had a long and bitter rivalry that has now spanned more than 91 years and 185 meetings. While the current influx of trash talk by the likes of Brandon Marshall has sparked a new interest nationwide, this is far from anything new. As us Packers fans know all too well, this rivalry has been heated for a very long time.
Before we embark on chapter 186 of this great rivalry, I thought it would be fitting to take a trip down memory lane and remember the great moments of the past. I have arranged them chronological order.
1. A rivalry is born – Nov. 23, 1924 – Bears 3, Packers 0
While this was not the first time these two teams met, make no mistake, this is when the great rivalry was born. It was the type of heated, hard-fought battle that we have come to expect when these two teams get together. They literally fought for every yard in this game. Eventually tempers reached to a boiling point when the Bears’ Frank Hanny and the Packers’ Walter Voss’s heated verbal exchanges led to punches being thrown, which in turn led to the first player ejections in NFL history.
2. The Start of Lombardi’s dominance – Sept. 30, 1962 – Packers 49, Bears 0
It is well known that Papa Bear Halas hated Lombardi and the Packers. It is rumored that one time he visited the Packers locker room to speak with Lombardi, just 5 minutes before game time. saying it was an emergency. When Lombardi rushed over, Halas simply said, “I hope your team is ready, because we are going to kick your ass!” Lombardi, did not take kindly to the remarks and made sure his team let Halas know it. They dominated the Bears from start to finish, with the game ending in the Packers’ largest margin of victory ever at the time. Lombardi, with a few exceptions, owned the Bears most of his coaching career beating them 13 times.
3. The Chester Marcol game – Sept. 7, 1980 – Packers 12, Bears 6
This may go down as one of the most unlikely endings in the history of the Packers. Chester Marcol lined up for what could have been a game-winning field goal in overtime. However, things did not go as planned. The Bears’ Alan Page stormed through and blocked the kick. The ball ricocheted and caromed right back to Marcol who proceeded to run with the ball as if he was literally running for his life! With prescription frame glasses, and his single-barred facemask, Marcol ran in for the touchdown. The team in celebration rushed to Marcol, who looked more like he just escaped from a burning building rather than having run for the game -deciding touchdown.
4. The most lopsided Bears win – December 7th, 1980 – Bears 61, Packers 7
After what would be the second worst loss in Packers history, Coach Bart Starr was so infuriated with the Bears that he ran to confront Coach Neil Armstrong. He was upset that the Bears were still blitzing late in the fourth quarter with the game already decided. What coach Starr didn’t know was a man he fired last season who now worked for the Bears, Bill Tobin, was hell bent on revenge and spent the entire off-season trying to decode the Packers signaling system. He was successful. “We wanted 100 points” he said at the time.
5. The 1985 game – Nov. 10t, 1985 – Bears 16, Packers 10
Apparently the Packers did not take kindly to being on the receiving end of the “Birth of the Fridge” two weeks earlier. They left horse manure in the Bears locker room before the game, and battled them tooth and nail during it. Even though the Bears were the far superior team, they got all they could handle from a determined and chippy Green Bay Packers club. They played tough and much like the game in 1924 tempers flared. DBs Mark Lee and Ken Stills were ejected after taking late shots on Bears running backs Walter Payton and Matt Suhey.
6. Charles Martin and his criminal act – Nov. 23, 1986 – Bears 12, Packers 10
As a Packers fan, I am programmed to hate the Chicago Bears, and I do with all my heart. That being said, there was just no place for this. Not on the football field, or anywhere else. It was sick, and it made me ashamed to be a Packers fan. Charles Martin was suspended for two games for this, it should have been for life. I will let the video below speak for itself …
7. The replay game – Nov. 5, 1989 – Packers 14, Bears 13
Don Majkowski led the Packers to a stunning come-from-behind victory against the Bears, their first since 1984; however, it almost never happened. He threw a late touchdown to Sterling Sharpe, which was initially called back because the referee said the Majik Man stepped past the line of scrimmage when he threw the pass. The subsequent replay review overturned the penalty which resulted in a touchdown for Green Bay. The call was so controversial that the NFL changed the rule, clarifying when a quarterback is considered past the line of scrimmage. Also, Bears Coach Mike Ditka was so enraged over the decision he ordered the Bears media staff to put an asterisk next to this game in the Bears’ official media guide the following season.
8. Favre’s 5 TDs – Nov. 12, 1995 – Packers 35, Bears 28
Anyone who is a fan of Brett Favre will point to this game as a testament to old gunslinger’s legendary toughness and resolve. First place in the NFC central was on the line and Favre’s right ankle was so badly sprained that he couldn’t even bear weight on it before the game. Many questioned whether Favre was hurting the team, by trying to play. Well, he didn’t hurt the team. In fact, he played one of the best games of his career. He threw for 336 yards and 5 touchdowns while leading the Packers to victory.
9. The blocked field goal – Nov. 7, 1999 – Bears 14, Packers 13
The Packers came into this game as nine-point favorites, but were facing a very emotional Chicago Bears team that lost the legendary Walter Payton six days earlier. The Packers, down one point with 17 seconds to go, still had a chance to escape with a victory after Brett Favre led them into field goal range. They lined up for the game-winning field goal. Unfortunately, the field goal attempt was blocked and the Bears would leave victorious. The Packers would end up missing the playoffs by one game that year and head coach Ray Rhodes would be fired, becoming the only single-year coach in the history of the Green Bay Packers
10. Winning the NFC championship in Chicago – Jan. 23, 2011 – Packers 21, Bears 14
This was a competitive and hard-fought game. The Bears lost their starting quarterback, Jay Cutler, to a knee injury (using the term “injury” very loosely), and the Packers were just too much for the Bears to overcome with backup Caleb Hanie. There was nothing better than watching the Packers get to the Super Bowl by defeating the Bears in their own stadium. I don’t know what made me happier, seeing all the disappointed Bears fans leave in droves as the Packers lined up in the victory formation, or the Packers celebrating their championship on Soldiers Field!