The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears have been playing against each other since 1921 when the NFL was called the American Professional Football Association. Since the two teams have been battling each other, in a series which goes back almost 100 years, the teams are tied with 93 wins apiece, with six ties.
Just to show you how even this series has been, the Packers have scored 3,300 points in 192 games, while the Bears have scored 3,284.
When the Packers beat da Bears 30-27 last December at Soldier Field, Green Bay was able to even the series between the two clubs for the first time since 1933.
And with a win on Thursday night at Lambeau Field vs. Chicago, the Packers can hold an edge in the series for the first time since 1932, when they held an 11-10-4 mark over the Bears.
That’s 85 long years ago, folks. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was just elected to his first of four terms as President of the United States that year.
In terms of where each stands in NFL lore, the Packers have been in the NFL since 1921 and have won 13 NFL titles and four Super Bowls.
The Bears have been in the NFL since 1920 and have won nine NFL titles and one Super Bowl.
No team in NFL history has won more NFL championships than either the Packers or Bears.
Just looking back on the history between the two teams, it all started with George Halas (with the then Chicago Staleys) and Curly Lambeau. Each were founding members of their respective clubs, not to mention also being the head coach.
From 1921 through 1949, when the Packers and Lambeau took on the Bears and Halas, Green Bay went 18-32-4 in the regular season versus Chicago and also 0-1 in the postseason.
During that period, the Packers and Bears were considered the cream of the crop in the NFL, as Green Bay won six NFL titles, while Chicago won five.
When Vince Lombardi was the head coach and general manager of the Packers from 1959 through 1967, Green Bay won 13 of 18 games against Halas and the Bears. The Packers also won five NFL titles and two Super Bowls during that time, while the Bears won the 1963 NFL title.
The quarterback for the Packers in the Lombardi years was Bart Starr. No. 15 was 12-2 versus Chicago in that period.
Jerry Kramer told me a great story about the game when Starr showed the Packers that he was truly the quarterback to lead the team under Lombardi. And the game was against the Bears.
“We were playing the Chicago Bears,” Kramer said. “Bill George was their middle linebacker at the time. On a deep pass attempt, George thought he would try to intimidate Bart.
“Bill took about a five-yard run and he gave Bart a forearm right in the mouth. George timed it perfectly and put Bart right on his behind. He also cut Bart badly, from his lip all the way to his nose. After that, George said, ‘That ought to take care of you Starr, you pu**y.’ Bart snapped right back at George and said, ‘F— you, Bill George, we’re coming after you.’
“My jaw dropped after that exchange, as I was shocked. Meanwhile Bart was bleeding profusely. I told Bart that he better go to the sideline and get sewn up. Bart replied, ‘Shut up and get in the huddle.’
“Bart took us down the field in seven or eight plays and we scored. That series of plays really solidified Bart as our leader and we never looked back.”
In terms of the overall series, the Packers fell behind the Bears mostly because of their play in three decades…the 1950s, 1970s and 1980s. The Packers were just 39-79-2 in the ’50s, 57-82-5 in the ’70s and 65-84-3 in the ’80s.
The Bears really dominated the series when Mike Ditka was head coach of the Bears from 1982 through 1992, as the Bears won 13 of 18 games. Da Bears won Super Bowl XXV during that period.
The Packers have been able to tie the series with the Bears over the past quarter century thanks to the quarterback play of Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. The Packers have won two Super Bowls in that time, one with Favre leading the team (Super Bowl XXXI) and one with Rodgers leading the team (Super Bowl XLV).
Mike Holmgren was the head coach of the Packers when the team won Super Bowl XXXI, while current head coach Mike McCarthy was on the sideline when the Pack won Super Bowl XLV.
Favre was 22-10 versus the Bears in his career in Green Bay, while Rodgers has been even better than that. No. 12 is 14-4 against Chicago (plus is 1-0 in the NFC title game).
Rodgers has been magnificent for the most part when he plays the Bears. In the 18 regular season games he has played versus Chicago, No. 12 has thrown 38 touchdown passes, compared to just nine interceptions for 4,417 yards.
That adds up to a stellar career passer rating against the Bears of 105.7.
So far in three games in the 2017 NFL season, Rodgers has thrown six touchdown passes versus three interceptions for 967 yards. That adds up to a passer rating of 93.1, which would be great for just about any other QB in the NFL, but not Rodgers.
Why? That mark is 10 points less than his career passer rating of 103.8, which just happens to be the best rating in NFL history.
But when it comes to playing the Bears, Rodgers always seems to be on his A game. Yes, there will be some issues with a very banged up offensive line playing in front of No. 12 on Thursday night.
But if history is a blueprint for the future, expect a big night for Rodgers on Thursday. The frosting on the cake would be a Green Bay victory which would put the Packers ahead in the series with the Bears for the first time since 1932.
That would be two years before Starr was born. 37 years before Favre was born. And 51 years before Rodgers was born.
Together, the three greatest quarterbacks in the history of the Packers have gone 48-16 versus the Bears.
A win on Thursday night would take that mark to 49-16 and Rodgers would improve his individual record to 15-4.
Expect that to happen.