Packers-Bears rivalry nets huge Sunday night viewership

Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

The one-sided nature of the rivalry between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears in recent years has led many to question why this game continues to receive a date in the primetime annals of Sunday Night Football.

The Packers have been the far superior team for more than a decade now, leading the series 21-3 over the last 10 years, and save for a brief spell of Windy City success in the mid-2000s, this so-called “rivalry” hasn’t been very close ever since Brett Favre arrived in Green Bay.

So why does it continually receive the glorified primetime spot once per year? The answer is that this matchup of iconic foes draws A LOT of viewers.

Per NBC Sports Pressbox, Packers versus Bears in Week 14 registered an average viewership of 19.4 million across all NBC platforms, making it the most-watched Sunday Night Football telecast since Tom Brady returned to New England in Week 4.

The average viewership for this game was undoubtedly helped by the explosive second quarter which saw the two teams combine for a staggering 45 points. Viewership was maintained by the underdog Bears leading by six entering the second half, before the better team took charge.

There are no surprises that Milwaukee was the highest metered market for the game, given its proximity to the bases of both franchises. It was the Packers’ highest rating in Milwaukee since Aaron Rodgers’ iconic comeback versus the Bears in 2018.

Packers vs. Bears finished just a shade off Green Bay’s prior Sunday night matchup with the San Francisco 49ers, which averaged 19.6 million. Although September games tend to haul in a much larger audience.

No matter how much of an expected drubbing this rivalry becomes, it’ll never stop drawing viewers due to the sheer magnitude of two of the NFL’s most loyal fanbases. Once in a generation players like Aaron Rodgers may come and go, but Packers versus Bears will be a staple of the Sunday night calendar for many years to come.