10 Cool Facts About the Packers Bears NFL Rivalry

packers-bearsFrom the legends of Vince Lombardi and George Halas to the mustaches of Mike Ditka and Mike Holmgren…

One of the coolest things about being a Packers fan is all the history connected to our team. Of course, a huge part of the Green Bay Packers’ history is their rivalry with the Chicago Bears.

It’s the longest-running NFL rivalry and one of the most recognizable ongoing battles in all of sports. Let’s take a closer look at this unrivaled rivalry. We dug up some fun facts to help make you look like an expert.

1. The Rivalry Score – Wins and Losses

The Packers and Bears will meet for the 189th time on Sunday, September 28th 2014 at Soldier Field in Chicago. No two teams have competed as many times.

The teams played each other for the very first time at Wrigley Field on November 27th, 1921. The Bears won that matchup in a 20-0 shutout, and they also lead the overall win tally.

The Bears have beaten the Packers 93 times, but Green Bay isn’t far behind with 89 wins over Chicago. There have been six tie games.

2. The First Official Player Ejections in the NFL

Frank Hanny

Frank Hanny of the Bears

If you’re really rivals – it’s going to lead to some heated conflicts on the field. By that I mean football players throwing punches.

The Bears and Packers hold the honor of having the first-ever players ejected from an NFL game.

In 1924, Chicago’s Frank “Duke” Hanny and the Packers’ Walter “Tillie” Voss traded insults and then traded fisticuffs. Remember – this is back when players were wearing leather helmets.

I don’t know what those guys today are thinking when they try punching each other in the head. You’re more likely to break your hand than the other guy’s face.

3. The Hall of Famers

The Packers and Bears have both produced their shares of gridiron greats.

Chicago has the most players enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame with 26. But the Packers hold the No. 2 spot for most names on the wall in Canton with 22.

The most recent Packers player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame was Lombardi-era linebacker Dave Robinson in 2013. Reggie White was also posthumously inducted in 2006.

4. The Big Shutouts

Goose eggs on the scoreboard have been a regular occurrence at Packers-Bears games.

To date – there have been 28 shutouts, And plenty of those games were defensive battles. Twice in the early years – a single safety accounted for the only points. The games were decided by a score of 2-0.

The Chicago Bears hold the privilege of the biggest blowout in the rivalry. They beat Green Bay 61 to 7 in a 1980 game. That’s a margin of 54 points. Ouch!

The Packers largest margin of victory was a 49-0 shutout that saw Vince Lombardi’s team trounce George Halas’s Bears in 1962.

5. The Scoreless Tie

Of those six ties between the Packers and Bears – there was one game in which neither team managed to score a single point.

An extremely rare scoreless tie – yes I’m talking 0-0, nothing to nothing, zip to zilch. It took place in a 1932 game that must have been a real thrill to watch. But what else did folks have going on in 1932?

6. The First Successful NFL Free Kick

Paul Hornung

Paul Hornung

I have to admit – I had no idea this somewhat bizarre rule even existed. Now I want to know if I can try it in Madden.

In the NFL, teams have the option of attempting a field goal after calling for a fair catch first during a kickoff or punt. The free kick happens on the following play.

It can be a placed kick or a “dropkick” – which is not exactly the same as a punt. The player would have to let the ball bounce on the ground once before attempting to kick it through the uprights.

A dropkick as part of so-called Fair Catch Free Kick rule was more common in earlier days of football – partly because the ball itself was rounder on the ends.

Golden Boy Paul Hornung was the first NFL player to complete a placed free kick during a game versus the Bears in 1964. Elijah Pitts had just fielded a kick with a fair catch, and Lombardi told officials the Packers would attempt a free kick for three points. Apparently – Lombardi had to explain the play to the rest of the Packers team as well.

It must have thrown everyone off when Bart Starr held the ball and Hornung kicked one through the uprights to end the game’s first half. It was a 52-yarder too!

Lombardi later described it as a “once in a lifetime ” play. But the Bears would end up pulling the same play on the Packers four years later. That was a game-winning field goal from kicker Mac Percival with 20 seconds left on the clock.

In 2008, Packers kicker Mason Crosby attempted a 69 yard free kick and came up just a few yards short. If he’d made it through – it would have been the longest field goal in football history.

7. The Manure Prank of 1985

Every heated rivalry needs a good prank story. But this one is complete horse $h!t.

The Packers got their butts kicked in the Bear’s first game featuring William “The Refrigerator” Perry. Coach Ditka used the rookie defensive lineman as a fullback in goal line situations. He was practically unstoppable when blocking for Walter Payton, and The Fridge even scored a rushing touchdown himself.

The second game between the teams that season was at Lambeau. The Packers left a special treat for the Bears in their locker room – two big bags of smelly manure. Stories say a local radio station provided the poop the Packers used – but I can’t figure out which station it was. (If you know – tell us in the comments below)

Tempers were obviously running high during the game. Two Packers got tossed out, and Bears quarterback Jim McMahon flipped the bird to Packers coach Forrest Gregg after scoring a TD pass to The Fridge.

The Packers’ manure prank didn’t help them win the game either. They lost 16-10, and Chicago went on to win the Super Bowl that year. Now that stinks!

8. The Instant Replay Game

Yet another Packers-Bears game that lives on in infamy came in 1989 and eventually led to a change in the NFL rulebook.

Quarterback Don Majkowski had just scored an apparent winning touchdown pass to Sterling Sharpe with seconds to go in the game. But the line judge had thrown a flag against Majik Man – saying he’d crossed the line of scrimmage before he threw the ball. The touchdown was taken away, and the ball would turn over on downs to the Bears…if the penalty stood.

The crowd at Lambeau waited, gnawing on their cheeseheads out of stress, waiting for the call to come down from the booth where the play was being reviewed.

Finally, referee Tom Dooley stepped onto the field with the decision – “After further review, we have a reversal. Touchdown!” And Lambeau erupted in joy.

The game is still talked about, and the call is debated to this day. Majkowski claims he was at least a yard behind the line of scrimmage. But Ditka thought it was a bad call. He demanded an asterisk be placed by stats concerning that game in all Chicago Bear publications.

This game resulted in a clarification of the “illegal forward pass” rule. A QB is now considered beyond the line when his body crosses – not the ball.

Relive the Exciting Conclusion for Yourself!

9. The Longest Winning Streak

Brett Favre - Bear Killer

Brett Favre – “Bear Killer”

The Chicago Bears would probably lead the rivalry in wins by a much larger number – if it weren’t for the guy who earned the nickname “Bear Killer.” Of course, we’re talking about Brett Favre.

During the mid ’90s, Favre went on an impressive 10 game winning streak versus the Bears.

No. 4 would beat Chicago 23 times during his NFL career. His most impressive victory was a 35-28 win in which he threw for five touchdowns – a career high for Favre. He did so after being listed as questionable before the game because of a sprained ankle, which kept him from practicing at all that week.

But perhaps the Bears got the last laugh on this one too…

Favre’s final game was a loss to Chicago. A relatively minor hit gave him a concussion that he claims left him unconscious for about 10 seconds. Favre has also said it was the only time in his career when he was “completely out,” and when he came to, he couldn’t even remember what team he was playing

Of course, Favre was wearing a Vikings jersey for all of that.

Watch the Sack that Ended Favre’s Career

10.  Total Championships and Super Bowls

Lombardi-trophiesFor every Bears fan that points to the win total in this rivalry, there is a Packers fan reminding them of the Championship tally.

Between the two teams their are 22 Championship victories including 5 Super Bowl wins. But the Bears only have one Lombardi trophy, while the Packers can boast four.

The Packers won nine championships before the Super Bowl existed. The Bears have eight.

Which stat do you think is more important – Championships or Overall Wins?

Bonus – The Rodgers/Cutler Buddy Rivalry

So why can’t we be friends? Turns out we can – just look at the current quarterbacks for the Packers and Bears.

Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler may not be BFFs – but they’re awful close. Maybe even too close…

In the past, the two QBs have agreed to stop texting in the week leading up to games in which they face each other. And why are these guys sharing texts in the first place? Here’s the story…

Rodgers has a little brother, Jordan, who played quarterback at Vanderbilt University. That also happens to be where Cutler went to school and played college football. As the story goes, Jay was friendly with Jordan and gave him some advice.

The older Rodgers brother appreciated that and the two formed a friendship. Awwwwww!

Aaron Rodgers has even defended Cutler against critics who said the Bears QB lacked toughness. Way to have your buddy’s back, right?

Cutler-Rodgers-Buddies-Rivalry

Buddies and Rivals – What Gives?

But Rodgers deals out his share of jabs at Jay too. A couple of years ago, Aaron pulled one of his trademark sideline photo-bombs in which he made fun of an internet meme that Photoshopped a cigarette in Cutler’s mouth. The joke was making fun of Cutler’s apparent apathetic attitude.

We may be rivals – but that doesn’t have to mean Packers and Bears fans can’t get along. I have plenty of friends who cheer for the Chicago Bears. Buddies who root for the rival team just make the game more fun – as long as your team wins – otherwise they’ll just make you miserable.

Some people even manage to have happy marriages to a Bears fan. Take my brother as one example.

Yes, my sister-in-law, Jamie, is a diehard Bears fan. We still love her. In fact, she helped with the research for this post.

Don’t miss Jamie’s WhooNEW article on surviving the NFL season in a “split team marriage.”

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Comments

  1. Hey Kasey! In honor of the rivalry, I made a short about a Packers fans and a Bears fan on a date. It’s called Too Much Clay Matthews. Check it out and please share if it gives you a laugh. Go Pack Go! http://youtu.be/dqhdCyfR_6I?t=2m33s

  2. The 1989 Majic Pass that beat the Bears also gave us the first iteration of that timeless truth, “After further review…the Bears still suck!”

  3. I saw on tv a couple years ago while watching a documentary on these two teams and they showed a bar that was split down the middle with Bears on one side and Packers on the other. Anyone have an idea where this is? I can’t find anything on line.

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