The Packers will open the 2019 NFL season on Sept. 5 against the Chicago Bears in Soldier Field. It is a variation from the normal procedure, where the Super Bowl champion opens the season on Thursday Night Football.
The reason for this variation is the historic 100th NFL season – and the Chicago Bears also play their 100th season in 2019. And who could be a better oponnent for the Bears than their oldest rival, the Packers?
The history of the rivalry between the Packers and the Bears is marked with iconic games. The game on September 5 marks the 199th meeting of the two franchises. The Packers have a slight advantage over the Bears with a 97-95-6 record when they surpassed the Bears in 2017 for the first time since 1932. However, they only met two times in the playoffs, most recently when the Packers went on to win the Super Bowl in 2011.
Green Bay has won 15 of the last 18 meetings, but all is set for an exciting first game of the season – six of the last seven games at Soldier Field have been decided by single digits. Most of the time in recent history the Packers had the better outcome, they won 21 of the last 26 games in Bears’ territory.
Aaron Rodgers himself has a record of 17-5 against the Bears.
The first game of the rivalry in 2921 is one to forget for Packers fans: The Bears shut out the Packers 20-0 at Chicago, when the Bears were called “Staleys”.
Rivalries can heat up games, not only in the stands, but also on the field: In 1924 the game between Chicago and Green Bay was the first NFL game where a player got ejected: Bears’ Frank Hanny and Packers’ Tillie Voss threw punches after a verbal exchange.
In 1930 the Packers shut out the Bears 7-0 – it was the fith consecutive shutout in games between the two teams.
In 1962, the Packers with Vince Lombardy as their head coach shut out Halas’ Bears 49-0, which marks the biggest margin in the rivalry until today.
Let’s jump to the current century: The coldest game between the two teams was played in 2008, when the Packers lost by 17-20 at Soldier Field. At kickoff the temperature was above zero, but it felt like (with wind chill) -13.
In the 2010/11 season, the Packers and Bears met three times: In September, where the Bears won 20-17, in January for the final game of the regular season, where the 9-6 Packers had to win to clinch a playoff seat and they won 10-3 and only 20 days later in the NFC Championship Game.
It was the first time since 1941 and only the second time in history the Packers met the Bears in the playoffs. With the Packers starting 14-0 and Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler getting injured in the second quarter, the Bears jumped to their third quarterback Caleb Haine as Todd Collins (No. 2) proved to be ineffective. They were able to score the touchdown, but in the following drive B.J. Raji intercepted Haine and scored a famous “big guy” touchdown. The Packers won the game 21-14 and went on to win the Super Bowl.
There are two more iconic games to mention: In 2014 the Packers trailed in the fourth quarter and converted on 4th down three times, the most notable one when Rodgers converted a pass to Randall Cobb on 4th and 8 and Cobb went on to score the winning touchdown. This game also eliminated the Bears from the playoffs and secured the Packers a playoff spot.
Last year, the Packers started the season against the Bears in Lambeau Field and the Bears started game with a 20-0 lead, with Aaron Rodgers being knocked out of the game in the second quarter and DeShone Kizer being unable to do anything right, helping new Bears’ edge rusher Khalil Mack to score a touchdown. Rodgers returned for the second half and when he jogged out of the tunnel, Lambeau field exploded. With the fans cheering the team on, the Packers went on to win the game 24-23.
There were many more iconic games between the two teams and it’s all set for another one in September 2019, when the Packers and the Bears start the season.