Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears Rivalry Timeline

The biggest moments of the NFL's most important rivalry from 1921-2021

Paul Cutler from Chaska, USA / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0) Image Cropped

The Green bay Packers and Chicago Bears rivalry is one of best in the history of organized sports.

The Packers lead the rivalry with a 102-95-6 record (Including a 1-1 record in the postseason).

This rivalry, experienced through the ‘big city vs small town’ lens, has it all.

One side has routinely had historically great passing games and the other has boasted historically great defenses. Nearly equal and opposite forces, it seems.

These two teams are No. 1 and No. 2 in all-time wins, World Championships and Hall of Fame inductees. They’re the oldest rivals in the league. They hate each other, but a level of brotherly-respect still remains.

You cannot even begin to talk about NFL history without starting right here. Both teams have been in their cities longer than any other teams in the league and some of the most mythical names in football history have participated in and shaped this rivalry — and NFL history.

Without franchise founders George Halas (Bears) and Curly Lambeau (Packers) there might not even be an NFL. Any team from the NFC that wins the Super Bowl earns the right to hoist both of their trophies as conference and league champions. That is how special this rivalry is.

The two midwestern cities sit around 200 miles from each other, both on the shore of beautiful Lake Michigan. It’s a culturally-important game in Illinois, Wisconsin and beyond that’s played twice a year. These fanbases love to trash-talk each other, but those on both sides can agree on a love for beer and grilling quality meats.

Below are some of the biggest events in the history of this incredibly fascinating rivalry. Fans of both teams should find ample joy from seeing how this rivalry has evolved over the last 100 years.

Timeline of Major Rivalry Moments:

  • Franchises Established: The Packers were formed on August 11, 1919 and played two seasons of independent football before joining the NFL in 1921 (called the APFA at the time). The Bears were formed on September 17, 1920, the Decatur Staleys at the time, and immediately joined the brand new NFL (APFA) as charter members. George “Papa Bear” Halas was instrumental in creating and sustaining the league.
  • First Game: November 27, 1921. The Bears (then called the Chicago Staleys) defeated the Packers 20-0 at Cubs Park in Chicago in the first matchup between these franchises. But the real story was the Packers fans that took a train down from Green Bay and caused a ruckus in downtown Chicago prior to the game announcing their presence. First Blood: In the game Chicago’s Tarzan Taylor punched Green Bay’s Cub Buck in the nose, breaking it, thus beginning football’s greatest rivalry.
  • First Championship goes to Chicago: In 1921 the Chicago Staleys win the World Championship after finishing the regular season with a 9-1-1 record (going 1-0 against the Packers). This was the first time either team won a championship, but wouldn’t be the last (Packers and Bears and No. 1 and No. 2 in NFL history in World Championships).
  • The AFPA Changes Name to NFL: In 1922 the AFPA changed it’s name to the NFL and, interestingly, it was one of the two years the two teams didn’t play in the entire history of their rivalry (the other being the strike-shortened 1982 season). This was the year the team officially changed its name to the Chicago Bears. Drama: The Packers were kicked out of the league for illegally using college players that year. It was Halas, reportedly, who discovered the illegal action, but also him who campaigned the league to let the Packers back in.
  • Second Lowest Scoring Games: October 14, 1923: The Bears beat the Packers 3-0. The lowest scoring game in the series’ history, tied only by the game played the following year.
  • Ejection for Fighting: November 23, 1924. Bears’ Frank Hanny and Packers’ Tillie Voss threw punches and were both ejected; it was the first time in NFL history that players were suspended for fighting. The Bears won 3-0 at Cubs Park in Chicago. The anger and intensity within this rivalry has been around from the very beginning.
  • First Packers Win: September 27, 1925. The Packers won 14-10 at City Stadium in Green Bay. Verne Lewellen caught a last second touchdown pass from Charlie Mathys to win the game. 5,389 people were there to watch.
  • First Game at Wrigley Field: November 21, 1926. The Bears won 19-13 in Chicago at one of the most famous venues in sport. Paddy Driscoll had a big day for the Bears making two filed goals and running in a fumble recovery for a score.
  • First Championship for the Packers: It was in 1929 that the Packers won their first World Championship finishing with an undefeated record of 12-0-1 (going 2-0 against the Bears). They’d go on to win three straight World Championships.
  • Packers Atop The Rivalry: November 9, 1930. The Packers win their seventh consecutive game against the Bears, going ahead in the all-time series for the first time with a record of 8-7-3. They would overtake the series again in 1931 and 1932, but wouldn’t regain their lead in the series again until 2017.
  •  A Superstar Shines: December 7, 1930. The Chicago Bears’ Red Grange was the first true superstar to participate in the Packers-Bears rivalry. The Hall of Fame halfback was one of the most famous football players of the first 20 years of NFL football. In this game, at Wrigley Field, he led the Bears to a 21-0 victory while throwing two touchdown passes.
  • Lowest Scoring Game Ever: September 25, 1932. The Bears and Packers tied 0-0 in, obviously, the lowest scoring game in NFL history. 13,000 unlucky souls packed into City Stadium in Green Bay to witness the scoreless game. This was also the year that the Bears couldn’t make payroll and accepted a $1,500 IOU from the Packers to stay afloat.
  • Bears Storm Back: December 11, 1932. The Bears begin a six game winning streak, taking a firm grip on the all-time series. That is, until one of the best players in league history arrived in the rivalry (see more about Don Hutson below).
  • Five Straight World Championships for Bears-Packers: This rivalry finished its unprecedented run of five straight NFL Championships. The Packers won it all in 1929-31 and the Bears won it all in 1932-33.
  • Don Hutson’s First Touchdown: September 22, 1935. Don Hutson caught his first career touchdown of his transcendent Hall of Fame career. His 83-yard touchdown was the lone score of the game. The Packers won 7-0. He was the first bonafide superstar for the Packers, matching and surpassing the impact of Chicago’s Red Grange.
  • Using the Rivalry to Build the NFL: November 5, 1939. The National Football League uses a Packers-Bears game a commercial of sorts to sell professional football to Americans. Among the quotes in the package are, “They are rated as having the strongest passing attack in the country” and “Chicago’s Wrigley Field is always jammed for a Green Bay Packers game.” As well as, “The rivalry between these two teams is the longest in post-graduate football. They have a wholesome respect for each other.” The Game: Despite a fourth quarter go-ahead touchdown pass from Arnie Herber to Don Hutson, the Bears won the game 30-27 on a touchdown run from Bill Osmanski. Hall of Fame quarterback Sid Luckman threw his first touchdown against the Packers in this matchup. This exciting game, and rivalry as a whole, certainly helped market and build the NFL in the Midwest and beyond.
  • First Playoff Game: December 14, 1941. The Bears won 33-14 at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Clark Hinkle opened the scoring for the Packers, but Chicago’s Norm Standlee ran for two scores as the Bears ran away with the game. The Bears would go on to win the World Championship.
  • Don Hutson’s Final Game Against Chicago: November 4, 1945. One of the all-time greatest players in NFL history, Don Hutson, played in his final game in this rivalry. The Bears won 28-24. Hutson didn’t catch a touchdown, but he did successfully kick three extra points. Irv Comp threw a 67 yard touchdown pass and scored on a 54 yard interception. The Bears’ Sid Luckman threw one touchdown on the day.
  • Lambeau’s Last Stand: November 6, 1949. In Curly Lambeau’s final game against Chicago as Green Bay’s head coach, the Bears spoil the party at Wrigley Field and won 24-3.
  • The Last Tie Game in the Series: November 8, 1953. The last time the these two teams played to a tie was this 21-21 game in Chicago.
  • First Game at Lambeau Field: September 29, 1957. The Packers beat the Bears 21-17 in Green Bay; it was the first ever game at Lambeau Field, called “New” City Stadium at the time. And George Halas had previously spent a little time in Green Bay lobbying to the community to buy bonds to support the building of the stadium (necessary to keep the Packers in Green Bay).
  • Lombardi’s First Game as Head Coach: September 27, 1959. The Packers beat the Bears at City Stadium in Vince Lombardi’s first game as head coach and first game against the Bears. Halas, apparently, advocated for Lombardi to land Green Bay’s coaching vacancy. Wonder if he ever regretted that?
  • First Team to 50 Wins: September 25, 1960: The Chicago Bears earn their 50th all-time win against the Packers with a 17-14 win at Lambeau Field (then called New City Stadium). Chicago reached this milestone long before the Packers would notch their 50th win in the series.
  • Largest Packers Victory: September 30, 1962. The Packers, coached by Vince Lombardi, shutout George Halas’ Bears 49-0. Green Bay would go on to win the NFL title that year, going 2-0 against the Bears. Side note: Halas spent the offseason obsessing over beating the Packers and his Bears responded by beating the Packers twice in 1963 on their way to an NFL title of their own.
  • Enter Gales Sayers and Dick Butkus: The Bears drafted stellar rookies Sayers and Butkus in 1965. October 3, 1965. The Packers defeat the Bears 23-14 despite Sayers’ two touchdowns. October 31, 1965. The Bears get revenge and beat Green Bay 31-10 as Sayers scores once. Both rookies would be named First Team All-Pro and both would go on to be named to the Hall of Fame.
  • The Dynasty of Lombardi’s Packers: Green Bay won five World Championships in a seven years span (1961, ’62, ’65, ’66, ’67) including the first two Super Bowls. In the midst of that seven year span the Chicago Bears won a World Championship in 1963.
  • The 100th Game in the All-Time Series: September 21, 1969. For the 100th time in the history of this rivalry these two franchises met. The Packers defeated the Bears 17-0.
  • Bart Starr’s Farewell/Vince Lombardi’s Death: November 15, 1970. Starr wins his final start (and complete game played) against the Chicago Bears in a 20-19 victory on a game-winning rushing touchdown by the quarterback. This also happened to be the first Packers-Bears game at Lambeau Field following Vince Lombardi passing away. The Packers won 20-19.
  • First Game at Solider Field: November 7, 1971. The Packers won 17-14 in Chicago. The Bears have played at Soldier Field ever since.
  • Only Game in Milwaukee: November 10, 1974. The Packers won 20-3 at Milwaukee County Stadium in Milwaukee.
  • Walter Payton’s Second Career Touchdown: November 9, 1975. Walter Payton scores his second career touchdown and first against the Packers in a 27-14 Bears victory. He’d go on to score 19 touchdowns against the Packers, the most of any opponent.
  • Payton Makes His MVP Case: October 10, 1977. Walter Payton runs for 205 yards and two touchdowns in a 26-0 victory over the Packers at Lambeau Field. It was the second most yards he’d ever rush for in an NFL game He’d follow this up with a 163 yard, two touchdown performance in the game later in the year at Soldier Field. Those games bolstered his MVP case, an award he won in 1977. It remains the lone AP MVP won by a Chicago Bear.
  • First Overtime Game: September 7, 1980. The Packers won 12-6 at Lambeau Filed in Green Bay. In overtime, Packers kicker Chester Marcol had a field goal attempt blocked by the Bears’ Alan Page. However the ball deflected back to Marcol and he ran it in for a touchdown and the dramatic victory. Fantastic moment with one hell of a backstory, too.
  • Largest Bears Victory: December 7, 1980. The Bears beat the Packers 61-7 at Solider Field in Chicago. Then coach Bart Starr even ran across the field to confront Bears coach Neil Armstrong for continuing to blitz even in the game’s final minutes.
  • Only Season Without A Matchup Since 1922: In 1982, the strike-shortened season kept the Packers from playing the Bears for the first time since 1922. Those years are the only seasons from 1921-Present day the two teams didn’t meet. This was also Mike Ditka’s first season as head coach of the Chicago Bears.
  • George Halas’ Death: During the 1983 season George Halas passed away. December 18, 1983: The first Packers-Bears game in Chicago following Halas’ death, the Bears defeated Green Bay 23-21 and kept the Packers out of the playoffs. It was head coach Mike Ditka’s first win over the Packers, two weeks after he lost his first ever matchup with the Packers.
  • The ’85 Bears: The 1985 Chicago Bears go 2-0 against the Packers during their 15-1 season en route to winning Super Bowl XX. The Fridge: October 21, 1985. Defensive lineman William Perry scored his first career touchdown on Monday Night Football, at the direction of head coach Mike Ditka. Perry was then named “The Fridge” as the Bears won 23-7 at Soldier Field in Chicago. Horse Manure: November 10, 1985. The Packers left horse manure in the Bears’ locker room at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. The strategy was ineffective; Chicago won the game 16-10.
  • Charles Martin’s Hit List: November 23, 1986 Packers nose tackle Charles Martin displayed a “Hit List” of Bears players he wanted to knock out of the game (on a towel he played with). At least two full seconds after Bears quarterback Jim McMahon threw an interception during the game, Martin picked him up and illegally slammed him to the ground at Soldier Field in Chicago. This was a moment where the Packers truly crossed the line. McMahon would miss the rest of the season and the 14-2 Bears, heavily-favorited to repeat as Super Bowl Champions, would fail to make it back to the big game. The Packers lost the game 12-10.
  • Chicago’s 8-Game Winning Streak: 1988. The Bears wrap up their best ever winning streak over the Packers with a 16-0 win over the Packers in the ’88 season.
  • “Instant Replay Game”: November 5, 1989. The Packers defeated the Bears 14-13 on a last-second touchdown pass from Don Majkowski to Sterling Sharpe. The play was originally called a touchdown, but the referee claimed Majkowski passed the line of scrimmage. The refs went to video replay to determine if the touchdown was legal and came to the conclusion that is was. Bears head coach Mike Ditka ordered that an asterisk be placed next to the game result on all team publications.
  • Bears Match Their Largest Lead in the All-Time Series: October 25, 1992. Chicago beats Green Bay 30-10 and extends their all-time series lead over Packers to 24 games (matching the Bears’ 24 game lead they carried into the month of December in 1960). However Brett Favre’s arrival into this rivalry would change the course of history from this moment on.
  • Packers Begin to Turn the Tide: November 22, 1992. Packers defeat the Bears 17-3 and kick off what would become the greatest comeback in the history of sport. This Packers win would be the moment that kicked off the Packers’ unlikely comeback in the all-time series. Of course this was only realized in retrospect.
  • Favre’s Heroics and Spoiling Butkus and Sayers’ Night: October 31, 1994. Packers quarterback Brett Favre played with a hurt hip, but led the Packers to a 33-6 blowout over the Bears at Soldier Field in Chicago in the rain; kicking off a 10-game winning streak for the Packers over the Bears. His Iron Man legend begins to grow. At halftime of this Monday Night Football game at Soldier Field the Bears honored Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus by retiring their numbers. The Bears would get revenge on Favre when his number was retired at Lambeau Field in 2015.
  • Favre’s Heroics Part II: November 12, 1995. Brett Favre played with a severely sprained ankle, in a game with a division lead on the line, and threw five touchdown passes in a 35-28 win at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Iron Man legends grows larger. Some would argue this launched game his first AP MVP campaign, an award he’d win three years in a row.
  • 1996 Packers: Green Bay goes 2-0 against the Chicago Bears en route to a Super Bowl championship led by Brett Favre and Reggie White. Favre was in the middle of three straight AP MVP Awards.
  • Green Bay’s 10-Game Winning Streak: 1988. The Packers push their best ever winning streak within the rivalry to 10 games by the end of the ’98 season following a 16-13 win. At this point, Brett Favre is public enemy number one in Chicago.
  • Walter Payton’s Ghost: November 7, 1999. In the game following Walter Payton’s death, on a day when Brett Favre set an NFL record for consecutive starts for a quarterback, the Bears won after Bryan Robinson blocked a last-second field goal — who claimed Payton lifted him up. The Packers honored Walter Payton before the game on the loudspeaker. “Sweetness, thank you for touching us all” rang out over Lambeau Field. Was it Payton’s last bit of revenge over Green Bay? Some think so.
  • Game in Champaign, IL: October 7, 2002. The first and only time the Packers have ever played the Bears on the road, but not in the city of Chicago (during Soldier Field’s renovations). Packers won 34-21.
  • Lovie Smith’s First Press Conference:  2004. In his first press conference as head coach of the Chicago Bears Smith said, “The number one goal is to beat Green Bay.” Winning a Super Bowl wasn’t the number one goal. That tells you everything you need to know about this rivalry.
  • Favre’s Last Game Against Chicago as a Packer: December 23, 2007. For the last time Brett Favre stepped foot into Soldier Field as a Green Bay Packer. The Bears won 35-7 as Favre threw for no touchdowns and two interceptions.
  • Rodgers’ First Game Against Chicago: November 16, 2008. First year starter Aaron Rodgers’ Packers hosted the Bears for the first time in his starting career. The Packers won 37-3 throwing for two touchdowns and one interception.
  • Coldest Game in Chicago: December 22, 2008. Appropriately the Packers were in Chicago for the coldest game in Bears history (2 degrees). Chicago won 20-17.
  • 2010 Packers: Green Bay lost its first matchup with the Chicago Bears of the 2010 season. In Week 17 the two teams matched up again. The Bears already had the NFC North crown locked up and rested some starters as the Packers won 10-3. This allowed the Packers to sneak into the postseason as a wildcard team. This wouldn’t be the last time these two teams met that season.
  • Conference Championship Game: January 23, 2011. The Packers won 21-14 on the road at Soldier Field in Chicago, en route to winning Super Bowl XLV (just the second playoff game in rivalry’s history). Big Plays: Aaron Rodgers’ tackle of Brian Urlacher after throwing an interception; Aaron Rodgers’ running touchdown on a naked bootleg; B.J. Raji’s interception returned for a touchdown — which he then deemed himself “The Freezer” a nod to William Perry of the ’85 Bears.
  • “Same-old Jay”: September 12, 2012. The Packers defeated the Bears 23-10 and Charles Woodson unleashed some brutal trash-talk following the game. He was quoted as saying, “It’s the same-old Jay… Jay will throw us the ball” when asked about defender Jay Cutler. The Bears quarterback threw four interceptions in the loss. Cutler threw 22 interceptions in 13 career games against the Packers.
  • 4th and 8 Game: December 29, 2013. Aaron Rodgers came back from injury (sustained nearly two months earlier against the Bears) to lead the Packers to a dramatic 33-28 victory over the Bears, in Chicago at Soldier Field. The winner of that game was to be crowned NFC North Champions as well as playoff bound — with the Packers down by one point, Rodgers threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb with on fourth and 8 with just .38 seconds left on the clock. John Kuhn’s block on Julius Peppers on the play remains legendary.
  • Rodgers’ First Half: November 9, 2014. Aaron Rodgers ties an NFL record by throwing for six touchdowns in the first half of a 55-14 victory over the Bears at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Perhaps the best half in NFL history for a quarterback, the game was 42-0 by halftime.
  • Bears Spoil Favre’s Party: November 26, 2015. Brett Favre came back to Green Bay to see his retired No. 4 unveiled at Lambeau Field. Bart Starr, despite battling numerous health concerns, made it back for the halftime ceremony. The Bears won the game 17-13, a notable upset. The game was on Thanksgiving, the first Thanksgiving game at Lambeau Field and the first between these foes.
  • All-Time Series is Finally Tied-Up: December 18, 2016. The Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears to even-up the legendary rivalry. Mason Crosby kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired after Aaron Rodgers completed a 60-yard pass to Jordy Nelson on third and 11, with less than thirty seconds left in the game. The completion was Rodgers’ longest of the season.
  • Packers Take Back the Lead in the All-Time Series: September 28, 2017. Aaron Rodgers thew four touchdown passes en route to a 35-14 win in front of the home crowd at Lambeau Field. When the final whistle blew, the Packers had their first lead in the rivalry since 1933 — a moment 84 years in the making.
  • Largest Fourth Quarter Comeback in Packers History: September 9, 2018. To kickoff the Packers’ 2018 season in (the team’s 100th season) Aaron Rodgers came back from an injury in the second half (that he was carted off the field for in the first half) to lead the Packers back from a 20 point deficit and 17 point fourth quarter deficit. Randall Cobb caught the game-winning 75 yard touchdown pass, the third touchdown of the second half for Rodgers. Newly signed edge rusher Khalil Mack dominated the first half, Rodgers dominated the second. Matt Nagy’s first game as Chicago’s head coach was a loss. It was later revealed Rodgers’ injury was a fractured leg, which he played the season on. Randall Cobb: It should be pointed out that Cobb particularly haunted the Bears. He caught nine, often heart-breaking, touchdowns against the Bears while with the Packers (which was 22% of his total touchdowns in Green Bay at the time). This game resulted in the “It’s Randall Cobb Again!” video and subsequent memes.
  • Packers and Bears kick off the NFL’s 100th Season: September 5, 2019. The NFL’s centennial season was started in a matchup of the oldest rivalry in professional football (instead of letting the defending champion Patriots host the season opening game per usual). The NFL understood the importance of their 100th season and the importance of this rivalry on that history. The league choosing Packers/Bears to showcase their sport to kick off the 100th season shows you how important this rivalry truly is. The game was won 10-3 by the Packers in sloppy, or perhaps throwback, effort. New Packers coach Matt LaFleur won his first game as head coach, the first to win his debut against the Bears since Vince Lombardi.
  • Packers and Bears’ 200th All-Time Matchup: December 15, 2019. Green Bay beat Chicago 21-13. By the end of that day the Packers had clinched a playoff spot and the Bears had been eliminated from playoff contention.
  • First Team to 100 Wins Against the Other: November 29, 2020. The Packers best the Bears 41-25 at Lambeau Field securing their 100th win against their rival to the south. Green Bay took a 100-95-6 lead in the all-time series, which is also the largest lead the Packers have ever had in the series (Bears have had two 24 game leads throughout the history of this rivalry). After the game Aaron Rodgers was quoted as saying, “It’s special to be a part of this rivalry” and also, “I love beating Chicago.” This was, obviously, the first game between these teams with relatively empty stands due to COVID-19.
  • 200th Regular Season Meeting: January 3, 2021. The Packers defeated the Bears, securing the NFC’s No. 1 seed along the way mostly due to Aaron Rodgers’ four touchdown passes — perhaps securing his third AP MVP Award. This was the first Packers-Bears matchup at Solider Field since the passing of iconic Bear Gale Sayers, where he was honored. It was also the 200th regular season meeting between these teams.
  • “I own you” and the 100th Anniversary Meeting: October 17, 2021: Green Bay marches into Solider Field for Justin Fields’ first Packers-Bears game with the top spot in the division on the line. This game took place nearly 100 years after the first ever matchup between these two teams (1921). Aaron Rodgers, after running for the game-sealing touchdown, delivered an all-time great quote directed at angry Chicago fans, “I’ve owned you all my fucking life. I own you. I still own you!” Green Bay won 24-14. After the game he was asked if this was his final game at Soldier Field as a Packer. He replied, “I don’t think this is my last one, but I’ve enjoyed every single one of them.” With a 22-5 record against the Bears all-time? I’m sure he has.

What is next?

Well, that’s a beautiful mystery. One thing you can count on it that the Chicago Bears will be looking to punch back over the next decade.

Can they?

The Packers’ sustained success, and absolute demolishing of the Bears, over the last three decades has been incredible. But it seems like it cannot keep going like this.

However the Bears still suck, so anything is possible.

We hope you enjoyed this timeline of events for this rivalry! The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears rivalry is our favorite rivalry in all of sports and as much as we hate the Bears, we respect the history of the organization and wish their fans well.

You simply don’t have the Packers without the Bears and you don’t have the Bears without the Packers. And you might not have the NFL without each of these teams.

That’s the crux of this beautiful rivalry.

 

Some further context:

Bart Starr’s Record Against the Bears: 15-5

Brett Favre’s Record Against the Bears: 22-10

Aaron Rodgers’ Record Against the Bears: 22-5 (Including Postseason)

That’s 59 wins for the Packers in this rivalry (58% of the Packers’ wins against the Bears all-time).

 

Go Pack Go!

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