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The Rivalry: Bears and the Green Bay Packers

As Zimmerman recounts in his book, Bears founder and coach George Halas and Lambeau truly hated each other on the football field from the very beginning. They didn't trust each other. They spied on each other's teams. They played tug-of-war over coveted players. And they never - NEVER - shook hands after a game. 

"Shake hands! That would have been a lie," Lambeau once said of Halas, his number one nemesis. "If I lost, I wanted to punch Halas in the nose. If he lost, Halas wanted to punch me."

I responded to an interview request from ESPN Chicago. Here's a couple of the questions I was asked:

1. From what you've seen in the blogosphere, do Packers fans dislike the Bears and their fans more than any other team?

6. Is Sunday night's game the most hyped up opener in Green Bay in a while?

My answers are below the jump. But I was wondering if the Bears/Packers games have lost their hype?

1. I don't think anything the Bears do this season will get Packer fans riled up as much as Favre and the Vikings. The tension between Viking and Packer fans will be something special as long as Brett is wearing purple.

6. I thought last season's opener was more hyped with the game against the Vikings. They had traded for DE Jared Allen, it was the start of the QB Tarvaris Jackson era, and there had been plans for retiring Favre's number (until he changed his mind for the first time). Especially with the Packers coming off a near Super Bowl appearance in 2007.

The questions made me ask; when was the last time the Packers and Bears had a really meaningful game? 

The 1970s: Playing the Bears was a big deal in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Not that the Bears were all that good, but it probably had a lot to do with RB Walter Payton. Was there any way that the Packers could actually stop him?

The 1980s: I still remember watching the 61-7 loss when the Bears stole the Packers' offensive signals from the sidelines. But the games they played during this decade were always memorable because the Bears were the gold standard in the division as they made the playoffs every season from 1984 to 1988. The Packers beat them once in 1984, but it didn't happen again until the 1989 Review Game. The Packers didn't turn a corner as a franchise until they could beat them.

The 1990s to the present: It just hasn't been the same. The Packers have made the playoffs 11 times since 1991 while the Bears have only made it 4 times. Lovie Smith made beating the Packers a priority in 2004, but QB Rex Grossman couldn't even bother to prepare for a game against the Packers in 2006. 

Can the Packers and Bears regain their status as a great rivalry, or is it just me. Maybe their games are still the biggest rivalry every season.