The recent week six game between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears was an intense one. The home side went up 7-0 in the first quarter, but the jubilation didn’t last very long as the Green and Gold quickly took charge and dominated the game from there.
This was the fifth victory on the trot for the Packers, extending the team’s lead at the top of the NFC North and making them both the firm favorites to win the division and a strong contender to secure the conference championship.
But most fans were focused on something entirely different before, during, and after the game. For that Sunday, the attention was all on the fact that the Packers were not just facing another football team, they were facing the Bears.
Few rivalries in football or any American sport are as fierce as the one between the Packers and the Bears, and none in the NFL have lasted as long.
It’s why Aaron Rodgers began to taunt Bears fans shouting "I own you, all my life, I still own you, I still own you" as he ran for a touchdown. A phrase that has already been adopted by Packers fans and even emblazoned on a T-shirt.
More Than Just a Game
Rivalries like the one between the Packers and the Bears are great for the sport. They add more meaning to games, even when they are mathematically worth the same as all the others, as players work that little bit harder to win bragging rights.
The businesses that make the NFL happen also benefit from the rivalries between teams as television viewership figures and ticket sales are usually higher for these games. High numbers of spectators can often help to sell more advertising and sponsorship, as well as command a higher price for TV rights of those games.
Betting companies also benefit from them as the increased attention often leads to more fans placing wagers on games with rivals. It's not just fans that live within the vicinity of the teams either as a Packers-Bears game will see football fans from across the country getting involved. For example, it's common for sportsbooks in states like NJ to offer deals like free bets or odds boosts in the run-up to big rivalry games, so fans will often turn to reliable sources like OLBG to compare all the best New Jersey sportsbook promos available in the run-up to the big day.
The Origins and Notable Games
The Bears and the Packers are two of the oldest teams in the NFL. November marks the 100th anniversary of the two teams’ first meeting. On November 27, 1921, the Packers played what was then called the Decatur Staleys, losing 20-0.
In the century since, the rivals have faced off at least twice a year in all but two seasons - 1922 and 1982.
The November 1924 meeting was the first time NFL players had to be ejected from a game due to a fight breaking out between the teams, showing that the Packers and Bears have been in a tense feud from the very early days.
In December 1941, the Bears beat the Packers 33-14 during the pair’s first head-to-head in a playoff game that decided the Western Division championship. This was the only time the sides had competed together in a playoff game before 2010.
December 7, 1980, was a low point for the Packers, losing 61-7 against the Bears. Five years later, Packers players filled the Bears locker room with horse manure, and several players were ejected for getting too heavy-handed with their rivals.
Turning the Tide
By this point, the Bears had been much more successful than the Packers. By the end of the 1991 season, they had an 80-57-6 record against Green Bay and had won 12 of their last 14 games.
It was at this point things began to change. Brett Favre became the Packers’ star quarterback and over the 16 years he spent at the team, the Green and Gold went 22-9, including picking up 10 wins in a row between 1994 and 1998.
After Rodgers took over QB duty, things got even better for the Packers who have now won the majority of the games between the two sides since the turn of the millennium. One of the most notable was the 55-14 victory in November 2014, with Rodgers managing six touchdown passes in the first half.
Having lost for so long against their oldest rival, the Packers have truly been able to appreciate the victories they’ve secured in more recent years. But as history has taught us, dominance doesn’t last forever, so Green Bay fans should wear their "I Still Own You" T-shirts with pride.