Sep. 26, 2016
Is Packers-Bears still a relevant rivalry?
The Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers met for the 192nd time Thursday Night. The Packers ended up pulling away from the Bears, winning 26-10.
The Packers-Bears rivalry is the oldest rivalry in the NFL, but has it lost some luster? Is it still a relevant rivalry?
The rivalry dates back to 1921 when the Bears beat the Packers, 20-0. A Packers-Bears game used to be must-watch television, even for those who are not fans of either team. That excitement that has seemed to diminish in recent years.
There’s no surprise why this feeling exists. For a rivalry to be heated, both teams need to be competitive. Since 1921, the rivalry has been competitive with the Bears leading 94-92-6. However, the Packers have defeated the Bears 12 times in their last 15 meetings. Those games weren’t usually close either. The Packers outscored the Bears 394 points to 245 points in those 15 games.
This is nothing new with the Packers-Bears rivalry though. There have been plenty of times where there were stretches of domination by one of the two. The Packers dominated in the 1960’s going 15-5. The Bears dominated the 1950’s and 1940’s going 14-5-1 and 16-4-1, respectively.
There have been some incredible games between these two teams in the past. In 2011 the Bears had the chance to eliminate the Packers from playoff contention in week 17. Green Bay ended up winning 10-3. Losing that game came back to bite the Bears as both teams met again a few weeks later in the NFC Championship Game where the Packers prevailed 21-14 to move on to the Super Bowl.
To the average NFL fan, it may feel like the rivalry is not what it used to be, but fans of either team know that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The tension between those from Illinois and those from Wisconsin runs deep.
As someone who used to live in Wisconsin I can tell you that gamedays between the Packers and Bears are always the ones marked down on either team's schedules. Both fanbases are pretty polite when they come across each other, but sometimes you will get the evil eye if you are wearing your team's gear.
The games also seem to mean more to the players and coaches as well. The games tend to be a little more rough and there’s a little more back and forth between the teams than a normal NFL game. Packers head coach Mike McCarthy even said before facing the Bears last season that the Packers were going to “kick Chicago’s ass”.
Is the Packers-Bears rivalry still relevant? Absolutely, if even only to the two fanbases. The rivalry has lasted the test of time. When there exists a rivalry that has been around for almost 100 years, there is bound to be times where it’s one sided. This is just one of those times.