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Packers-Bears Series History: Packers 44-40-4 as Home Team against Primary Rival

In this week's history lesson, we look at Green Bay's history at home against the Chicago Bears.

Jonathan Daniel

It's midweek, and that means it's time for another stroll through Packer history. This week, we look at Green Bay's history at home against the Chicago Bears. In previous years, I titled this post as "Games in Green Bay" only, as the Packers, despite playing multiple home games in Milwaukee over the years, only faced the Bears in Milwaukee once, in 1974.

The Packers actually lost their first game at home against the Bears, in 1923, by the score of 3-0. Throughout the 1920s, the teams traded wins, losses, and ties in Green Bay until the Packers briefly ruled the NFL from 1929-1932. The teams, after recording another tie in Green Bay in 1932, gradually began long reigns of dominance over most of the NFL until the late 1940s.

Despite this fact, the Bears got the better of the Packers in Green Bay in most of the matchups in those days, including the 1936-1938 and 1941 games in Green Bay (in each of those seasons, the Packers would take the second matchup in Chicago). The Packers did periodically win in the 1940s in Green Bay, but the Bears again established dominance over the Packers in Green Bay in the 1950s as the Packers joined the NFL's basement.

In 1957, the Packers finally had something to celebrate amid a 3-9 season: the opening of a new stadium. Their first opponent was the Chicago Bears. The Packers won, 21-17, one of only three wins they recorded in the otherwise dismal season.

From then on until 1963, the teams largely traded wins in Green Bay. Vince Lombardi's first win as Packers coach was a 9-6 win over the Bears in 1959 at City Stadium, later renamed Lambeau Field. In 1962, the Packers annihilated the Bears 49-0, one of two 49-0 victories by the Packers that year (more on this second 49-0 game next week).

The Packers then managed to win the majority of games in Green Bay (and the aforementioned 1974 game in Milwaukee) until the 1976 season. That year, the Bears defeated the Packers 16-10 in Lambeau Field, and would win three games there in four years. The Packers briefly regained their winning ways at home, helped out by a fluke win in the 1980 season over the Bears. In overtime, the Packers and Bears were tied at 6-6, and Chester Marcol lined up for a field goal. The attempt was blocked, but it bounced straight back to Marcol, who scampered around left end for the game-winning touchdown as the Packers won 12-6.

Under Mike Ditka, however, the Bears became an elite team, and proceeded to win eight of nine games in Lambeau Field, starting in the 1984 season. The 1985 season saw the Bears pull a trick play, giving William "The Refrigerator" Perry a touchdown at Lambeau Field, an insult the Packers would have to wait for years to overcome. The one Packers win, however, was a highly memorable one and came during the 1989 season. Trailing 13-7 late, the Packers went on a long drive, and appeared to score the game-winning touchdown on fourth down. A few seconds into the celebration, however, a yellow flag was thrown, and the play appeared to be called back due to an illegal forward pass by Don Majkowski from beyond the line of scrimmage (this carried not only a five-yard penalty, but also a loss of down--which would have secured the win for the Bears). After several nerve-wracking minutes while the play was reviewed (the precursor to today's Instant Replay system), the referee came back out and announced, to the delight of the crowd at Lambeau Field, that the penalty would be rescinded and the touchdown stood. The Packers won, 14-13.

Under Brett Favre, the Packers won nine of eleven games at Lambeau Field starting in 1993. A highlight in this game was Favre firing five touchdown passes in the 1995 game, a week after badly spraining his ankle, and the Packers essentially ending Dick Jauron's tenure as Bears' head coach in the 2003 game. The 1999 game, however, saw a bad ending for the Packers as the Bears, playing the first game after the death of Walter Payton, blocked a game-winning field goal as time expired. (P.S.: The 2000 Packers-Bears game at Lambeau Field is to date the only Packers game I have ever attended in person).

With new coach Lovie Smith revitalizing the rivalry in 2004, the Bears proceeded to win four games in a row at Lambeau Field, including the 2005 game on Christmas Day. The Bears did win the 2007 game, a major upset, but otherwise did not do much during that season.

Starting in 2008, the Packers went on a new winning streak at Lambeau Field against the Bears, with Aaron Rodgers now at quarterback. In 2009, Rodgers threw a late game-winning touchdown pass to clinch the 21-15 Packers victory. A year later, the Packers edged the Bears 10-3 in week 17, and qualified for the playoffs over the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to tiebreakers (how did that season end up again?). In 2011, the Packers, smarting after their first loss in almost a year, clinched home-field advantage for the playoffs by beating the Bears 35-21, on Christmas Day at Lambeau Field. The 2012 Thursday night game featured a trick play run out of the field goal formation on a fourth and 26, with Tom Crabtree running for a 27-yard touchdown after receiving a shovel pass from holder and punter Tim Masthay (video evidence here).

The Packer winning streak came to an end in 2013, however. The Bears won, 27-20, and knocked Aaron Rodgers out of the game early with a broken collarbone. This injury nearly killed the Packers season, but the Packers would get the last laugh, defeating the Bears at Soldier Field at the end of the season to clinch the NFC North title and a trip to the playoffs while knocking the Bears out of the postseason.

What are your memories of the Packers playing the Bears in Green Bay?