Tomorrow night at historic Lambeau Field, the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears will square off for the 185th time. The rivalry began in 1921 and is the league’s longest. The two teams have won a combined 22 NFL championships (5 Super Bowls) and have 48 members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Chicago currently leads the series 92-86-6.
Being a Packer fan since age 5, I have countless memories of the Packers and Bears. Some fond, like 2011 when the Pack defeated the Bears a total of four times. Some not so fond, like 1980 when the Bears annihilated the Green ‘n’ Gold 61-7. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, there many more.
Believe it or not, of all those recollections, one game stands out head and shoulders above the rest.
It was a Sunday night contest in 1993. 36° at game time was chilly for October 10th, even by Green Bay standards. The game was being broadcast on TNT and featured the Packers and the Denver Broncos.
You are probably wondering what a game between Green Bay and Denver has to do with the legendary Packer/Bear rivalry.
Patience. You will see.
With Gary Bender and Pat Hayden calling the action for TNT, Green Bay found early success. Behind two rushing touchdowns, a Brett Favre to Jackie Harris TD bomb and three Chris Jacke field goals, the Pack jumped out to a 30-7 halftime lead.
Unfortunately for the hometown crowd that was all the scoring their team would do. The second half was all Denver. Two touchdowns and a pair of Jason Elam field goals made it 30-27.
With less than three minutes left in the game, the Broncos had the ball and were threatening to score. Denver quarterback John Elway, with 367 yards and a TD toss to his credit was determined to complete the comeback and drop the Packer’s record to 1-4.
Alas, there was a large man wearing number 92 for Green Bay that had other plans.
On that night, Reggie White would have the final say. The Prime Minister of Defense sacked Elway on third and fourth downs with 1:56 and 1:27 left in the fourth quarter to preserve the Packer’s 30-27 victory over the Broncos.
You are probably still wondering what all of this has to do with the Packer/Bear feud.
As I said before, patience. You soon will see.
After the game, TNT’s studio host, Ernie Johnson, was recapping the game on a stage along the Lambeau Field sidelines. Detroit Lion middle linebacker, Chris Spielman, joined him. The Lions had a bye that week and he was Johnson’s guest analyst.
Because Sunday Night Football was relatively new and still a big deal for TNT, the post game show was a bit lengthy. About 15 minutes into the spectacle, Johnson was having Spielman analyze White’s dramatic performance at the end of the game.
That’s when it happened.
It was barely audible at first, but you could hear the remaining Packer fans chanting something in the background. As Spielman continued to scrutinize the game with Johnson, the chant became louder. What exactly were the Green ‘n’ Gold faithful shouting?
Could it be?
Do you think?
Why yes, yes it was.
THE BEARS STILL SUCK! THE BEARS STILL SUCK! THE BEARS STILL SUCK!
The rallying cry of Packer fans all over America rang out repeatedly. As the mantra steadily increased in volume, a smirk began to spread across Spielman’s face. By the time the chant had reached its crescendo, Spielman could no longer contain himself and began to laugh. It was great.
I will never forget that moment.
Okay, I know. The Bears had absolutely nothing to do with the Packer/Bronco game that evening. It made no sense at all. But don’t you see? There in lies the beauty of it. Call it knuckle-dragging, Neanderthal or mouth breathing, I don’t care, it was a beautiful thing.
May the best team win tomorrow night. After all, it is the 185th meeting in this historic rivalry and the better team should win. But remember, win, lose or draw… THE BEARS STILL SUCK!
Until next time…from the booth.