So, why am I bringing up the NFL’s greatest and oldest rivalry on this Sunday Morning? That’s because we are officially one week away from the Green Bay Packers facing off against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field! This time, the rivalry promises to feel significantly different from previous years. But, before we delve into that, I want to share with you a truth about the Packers vs. Bears rivalry.
A Historical Rivalry
These two teams rank among the NFL’s three oldest franchises (with the Cardinals being the oldest). The Packers became the second oldest when founded in August of 1919. They were named after the ACME Packing Company who provided the field and the equipment to the team. As of August 11th, the Packers have reached the age of 104.
The Bears originated as the Decatur Staleys in 1920 and played a pivotal role in the formation of the NFL in 1921. Eventually, the Staleys moved to Chicago and renamed themselves the Bears in 1922. The NFL invited the Packers to join at its inception in 1921.
The Packers played their first game against the then-Chicago Staleys on November 27th, 1921. The Staleys dominated by winning the game 20-0. The Bears would go on to win the first four matchups between the two teams until finally the Packers won 14-10 in 1925 at home. Between 1921-1989, the Bears have controlled the overall series by having won 76 of the games compared to the Packers having just won 57 of the games. This is out of 139 games played, in which only six games ended in a tie.
But things began to change in the 1990s.
Rivalry Began to Change
The Bears continued their dominance in 1990 and 1991 when they swept the Packers in the first four games of the decade. However, in 1992, Brett Favre took over as the starter. In Favre’s first two seasons (’92 and ’93), the Packers and Bears split the series. But in 1994, the Packers began a dominant streak against the Bears. The Packers triumphed in every game against the Bears from 1994 to 1999. However, in 1999, the Bears finally ended their losing streak against the Packers.
In the 2000s, the Bears were a bit more competitive, but the Packers still would own the overall win-loss record with a 12-8 record against Chicago. And when Favre finally left the division in 2008, the Bears celebrated (at the time) as they witnessed the emergence of Aaron Rodgers as the new starting quarterback for the Packers. Surely, he couldn’t match Favre’s prowess?
He certainly did.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers dominated the Bears. From 2008 to 2022, the Packers won 26 games while the Bears managed only five victories. If we extend this to 1992 through 2022, the Packers are winning the overall 48-15. In 2017, the Green Bay Packers seized their first lead in the series. As of today, the Packers lead the overall series 105-95-6.
What is the “truth” of the Packers and Bears rivalry? It hasn’t been a legit rivalry in some time. Yes, if you find yourself on Bears Twitter/X then you’ll find nothing but hate for the Packers, but the rivalry hasn’t been competitive since 1992. As Aaron Rodgers once stated, he and the Packers have ‘owned’ the Bears for quite a while.
Well, this upcoming Sunday could witness the renewal of the rivalry. Rodgers is in New York now. The Bears have a young quarterback with high expectations in Justin Fields and the Packers could have their Favre/Rodgers heir apparent in Jordan Love. Will the rivalry continue to be one-sided or will the Bears find a way to make the overall series more competitive again? I’m excited to unwrap this “beautiful mystery” of a season and potentially the future of this historic rivalry that hasn’t been too competitive for many, many years.——————
Damon is a diehard, fully-immersed cheesehead who currently lives in southern Missouri. He teaches at a local high school and has a family YouTube channel about all things Packers. You can follow him on twitter at @packersfamily and on YouTube at The Packers Family.