When you think of rivals of the Green Bay Packers you almost always think first of the Chicago Bears. It is a long and storied competition that dates all the way back to the first contest between the two clubs in December 1921.
Names like Lombardi, Halas, Nitschske, Payton, Butkus, “The Fridge”, Charles Martin, Majkowski, and Favre come to mind. Physical contests between two teams with winning traditions that give it all they’ve got when they line up across from one another.
But there is another inner division foe that is becoming more a rival by the minute. Across Wisconsin’s western-most border the Minnesota Vikings and their fans seem to be getting more concerned about the team that calls Titletown home. I cannot fault them for paying attention to how the Packers have built a winning organization and a devoted fan base.
I suppose it should agitate me that when former Packers players’ services are no longer needed in Green Bay that they often end up wearing purple. Many times it seems as if these players intentionally go to Minnesota just to “stick it to” the Packers. But in most cases these defectors are in Minneapolis, or wherever they are playing these days, because their best days are behind them.
I will certainly give credit where credit is due – the Vikings play the Packers hard and have been very successful verses the green and gold. Despite beginning the first 10 games against Vince Lombardi and the Packers at 1 and 9, the Vikings are now only six victories behind Green Bay all-time at 48-54. Last season’s Packers loss to Minnesota in the last game of the year was especially bothersome, as it required the Packers to play wild card weekend again against the Vikings. A game that saw the Packers easily defeat Minnesota, 24-10.
Despite the success against the Packers they have yet to bring a Super Bowl Championship back to Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, or the “Glad Bag” for short.
And for Vikings fans that has got to burn down deep inside them.
I may be a prude, but for a rivalry to really have traction there has to be some context to it, some history. And I’m not talking about history like the time Randy Moss “faux mooned” the faithful at Lambeau Field. I’m talking about playing games that had meaning, games where the Vikings came out victorious against the Packers, which played a hand in enabling the Vikings to go on to a Super Bowl Championship. Like the Packers have done on four different occasions.
The series between the Packers and the Vikings is certainly a competitive one.
Is it a rivalry?
I suppose it is, but it just doesn’t have the same feel as the rivalry between the Packers and the Bears. When there are two franchises with a championship pedigree, there just seems to be a bit more on the line.
What do you think, Packers fans … tell us who you think is the bigger rival?