All-Time Record: The Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers all-time series is now led by the Packers with a 103-95-6 mark (Including the postseason where each team is 1-1). Yes, the Packers and Bears rivalry is that close all-time.
Before 2017, the Packers last led the rivalry in 1932. Indeed, they’ve been steadily falling behind and then clawing their way back since The Great Depression. Green Bay currently holds a six-game winning streak over their rivals from the south.
These old foes are separated by just five wins, and, fittingly, have played more times than any other teams in NFL history. It is the oldest rivalry in professional football and despite the fact that the Bears have twice held a 24-game lead in the series (1960 and the latter being as recent as 1992). However the Packers have the lead now. Packers fans can thank Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers for leading the charge to take back control of the rivalry, against all odds.
We at packershistory.com truly believe that it is important to know your enemy — especially this one.
Separated by just 205 miles, the two teams are each others’ nearest geographical NFC North competitors, although they might as well be worlds away. Chicago is the Midwest’s bustling jewel; a city of nearly 10 million people known for it’s endless attractions and famed skyline. Green Bay, however, is a slow-paced town with humble, but unique attractions and proud blue-collar workers.
For all of their differences, they do share some similarities. Both cities reside on the coast of beautiful Lake Michigan and both cities have an unending passion for football…and brats and cheese and beer. This rivalry is a true border-war and is as culturally significant as a semi-annual sporting event can be in this country.
What’s specifically unique about this historic rivalry is that a definite respect remains despite the hatred. No matter the record, the games always mean so much to the fans on both sides. Even in a losing season, this game still matters.
The Bears dominated the early years of the rivalry as they became known as the “Monsters of the Midway.” But little Green Bay never backed down and eventually became known as “Titletown.” Decades later, the Packers started to even-out the rivalry’s all-time record thanks to quarterbacks Bart Starr, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.
Proximity, history, shared-success, competitive balance and polar opposite approaches to Midwestern living keep this rivalry alive and well. But the array of characters throughout the years on the playing field and the institutional hatred, and respect, among the players and fans help fan the flames as well.
“(Ray) Nitschke tried to kill me,” Ditka told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “He tried to kill everybody. That’s the way he played. He was a great football player. You had to fight fire with fire. You had to try to kill him. Every once in awhile you would get a shot in and he’d really get mad. Man, he was tough. It’s just the way it was.”
Yes, the hatred/respect is real.
The Packers and the Bears are the NFL’s oldest rivals, dating back to 1921. And these foes are the only two teams in the NFL today to feature a single letter on their helmets. They both have since the 1960s.
The Packers have the most World Championships in NFL history (13). The Bears have the second-most with nine.
The Bears have the most Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees in NFL history (30). The Packers have the second-most with 26.
The Bears have the most wins all-time in NFL history (769). The Packers have the second-most with 756 (Green Bay has played 34 less regular season games). These numbers will be updated at the conclusion of the 2020 regular season.
Notice a trend here? Yeah, this rivalry is historic. You can’t 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 experienced the rivalry.
Without franchise founders Halas (Bears) and 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.
You can go back and forth trading the names of transcendent legends that wore the “G” or “C” in a way no other rivalry can. Lambeau and Halas. Nitschke and Butkus. Hutson and Luckman. Lombardi and Ditka. Starr and Sayers. Favre and Payton. Canadeo and Grange. Adderley and Nagurski. White and Singletary. Hornung and George. Rodgers and Urlacher. And you could keep going if you wanted.
No other rivalry can come close to those names, to that assemblage of immortal beings.
Specifically, the Nitschke versus Butkus dichotomy of the late-1960s was incredibly interesting. Both are each franchise’s top middle linebackers of all-time and they played in the same era. The 1960s is the decade when football became the country’s favorite sport; it was the beginning of modern-day football.
Nitschke and Butkus were equal and opposite forces anchoring each side of the game’s oldest rivalry during that transformative decade. Interestingly, both were from Chicago and had December birthdays. Nitschke was a hard-hitting symbol of fear that opponents hated, while Butkus was equally as feared, but more refined in his play. Butkus was First Team All-Pro five times, while Nitschke held the honor twice. Although Nitschke intercepted three more passes and won five more rings than Butkus.
Both personified football and the game’s ultimate rivalry. They were the black and blue of the black and blue division; they were the perfect link between professional football’s ruthless past and larger-than-life character driven future.
Getting back to the fans, both sides of this rivalry have eras they look back at with such fondness. In Illinois you’ll hear the phrase ’85 Bears and in Wisconsin you’ll hear talk about “Lombardi’s Packers.” However, the Packers do have a few more modern glory years to refer to.
The relatively unchanged jerseys of both franchises, dating back to the days before color television, adds to the mystique of the rivalry. We think it’s an underrated facet of the rivalry. This is especially true as more and more franchises keep rebranding in a transparent attempt to sell more jerseys. Many of the oldest grainy images of NFL football, on partially-salvaged tapes, depict either of these franchises playing on mud-laden fields in similar uniforms. Fields that hold too much history to adequately summarize, we should mention.
The two stadiums these franchises call home, Lambeau Field and Soldier Field, hold so much history. You can’t talk about this rivalry without these stadiums. As almost all other NFL teams build new stadiums, including domes with endless shiny amenities, these two franchises thankfully continue to hold tightly to their historic pasts. Domes be damned!
An observation I’ve made before, when writing for nflspinzone.com is:
“The Bears play in Soldier Field, the oldest stadium in the NFL, which opened in 1924. Although the Bears have only played there since 1971. The Packers play at Lambeau Field, a true mecca for all NFL fans, and have since 1957. These two stadiums are as historic as buildings get in professional football. They offer visions of the past from every remarkably intimate seat. Without these two teams, without this rivalry, without these stadiums, the NFL would lose its most vibrant connection to the past.”
And that connection to the past is the comforting reminder that not all things are forgotten. Some things remain, like this rivalry. Plus, Packers fans are quite proud of being called (and wearing) Cheeseheads.
Where did that come from? An insult from Chicago sports fans hurled at Wisconsinites over the years. Instead of getting offended, Wisconsin sports fans ran with it.
Of course, Wisconsinites did punch back with the invention of the insult “FIBs.” If you don’t know, look it up! Wisconsinites sure like to complain about the way the Illinois population drives and some are bothered about rich “FIBs” buying-up lakefront property in the Dairy State. Chicagoans probably complain about Wisconsin tourists walking too slowly on Michigan Ave’s sidewalk or attempting to stand on the elevator after exciting the Red Line from time to time, too, so we’ll call it even.
At least both sides can whole-heartedly agree on grilling quality meats and drinking beer on Sunday, right?
Now lets get back to the field of play. This rivalry has evolved so much over the years, so here’s a sampling of some of the biggest events.
The Timeline of the Rivalry:
- 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 of this game was about 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 second-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. The Packers got shutout for their third consecutive game.
- 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. Moose Gardner scored the first points for the Packers in this rivalry on a blocked punt recovered in the end zone.
- 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. The 1929 squad remains the only undefeated team in Packers history.
The 1920s: Chicago Bears went 7-6-3 against the Green Bay Packers
All-Time Series Heading Into 1930: Bears Leading 7-6-3
- Shutout Streak: September 28, 1930. The Green Bay Packers complete their fifth straight shutout of the Chicago Bears, something that will certainly never happen again in the history of the rivalry.
- 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. Johnny Blood was his counterpart in Green Bay’s offensive backfield for five years (1929-1933).
- Lowest Scoring Game in NFL History: 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).
- The Six-Game Struggle: 1931-1932. The Packers post a 3-2-1 record against the Bears in a six-game stretch where neither team scored more than nine points. The scores were 7-0, 6-2, 6-7, 0-0, 2-0 and 0-9. Brutal.
- 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. These franchises flexed their muscles as the best franchises, and rivalry, in the NFL as the game started to become more modern.
- Clarke Hinkle and Bronko Nagurski: 1934. A collision between Hinkle (Packers) and Nagurski (Bears) knocked the Chicago superstar out of the game. Nagurski recalled it as the only time he was knocked out of a game. These two-way playing fullbacks battled each throughout the 1930s, each being named First Team All-Pro four times. Each led the NFL in rushing touchdowns once. Nagurski called Hinkle, “The toughest man I ever played against.”
- Bronko Nagurski’s Fourth Quarter: September 23, 1934. The Packers and Bears were tied 10-10 heading into the fourth quarter. Nagurski led the Bears to a 24-10 victory following two fourth quarter touchdown runs. He threw a touchdown earlier in the game, too.
- The 1934 Bears: 1934. This was the first of two undefeated seasons in Bears history. The 1934 squad went 13-0, led by Bronco Nagurski and an aging Red Grange. The other undefeated Chicago season came in 1942.
- 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.
- The 1936 Packers: 1936. Green Bay went 10-1-1 on the year. This was the first team in Packers history to win a title by winning a World Championship Game. The team was led by passer Arnie Herber and runner Clark Hinkle.
- Another Classic Lambeau/Halas Bout: November 7, 1937. The 6-2 Packers defeated the 5-1-1 Chicago Bears 24-14 at Wrigley Field with nearly 45,000 fans in attendance. Don Hutson scored in the first quarter and Clark Hinkle scored in the fourth quarter for the Packers. Green Bay won the day, but the Bears put together the better season finishing 9-1, losing in the Championship game to Washington.
- 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.” You grow sports with superstars and rivalries, so this game had it all. 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. Sid Luckman: Future Hall of Fame quarterback, Luckman, made his presence known. The great quarterback 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. His legend would only grow form there, as would the rivalry. Both Team Scoring 20+ Points: This was the 40th time these two teams had played and it was the first time both scored 20+ points in the same game, a milestone of sorts.
The 1930s: The Chicago Bears went 12-11-1 against the Green Bay Packers
All-Time Series Heading Into 1940: Bears Leading 19-17-4
- Joe F. Carr Trophy: 1941-43. The first MVP trophy (predating the AP MVP Award) was the Joe F. Carr Trophy. It was handed out from 1938-1946 and was won by a Packer or Bear in three straight seasons at one point. Don Hutson won it in 1941-42, while Sid Luckman won it in 1943. Hutson was the first multiple MVP winner in NFL history.
- 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.
- Bears Upstage Packers During Hutson’s Historic Season: September 27, 1942. Packers end Don Hutson catches two touchdowns in a season in which he caught an astonishing 17 touchdowns in 11 games. However Chicago’s Gary Famiglietti scored three rushing touchdowns and all-time great center-linebacker Bulldog Turner recorded the only two-interception game of his career. Undefeated Bears: Chicago would win the season’s other matchup, too, as the team went undefeated (11-1). The team was led by Sid Luckman.
- 28 Unanswered Points… Twice in the Same Game: September 24, 1944. The Packers got up 28-0 in the second quarter against their rival Bears. Chicago would storm back however, tying the game at 28-28 in the fourth quarter. Green Bay would then go up 35-28 and with the game hanging in the balance, Ted Fritsch intercepted a Sid Luckman pass and returned it for a touchdown. Packers win 42-28. Lou Brock scored twice for the Packers while George Wilson scored twice for the Bears.
- 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.
- Sid Luckman’s Bad Day: September 28, 1947. Sid Luckman throws a career-high five interceptions in a 29-20 loss to the Packers at City Stadium. A rare bad day from the all-time great signal caller.
- Bobby Layne Makes an Appearance: November 14, 1948. Rookie quarterback (and future Hall of Fame inductee) Bobby Layne throws a touchdown for the Bears’ lone touchdown on the day, defeating the Packers 7-6. Green Bay was poised to tie the game scoring in the fourth quarter, but failed to convert the try after. Tony Canadeo had 19 touches for the Packers, but it wasn’t enough.
- 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 1940s: The Chicago Bears went 16-4-1 against the Green Bay Packers
All-time Series Heading Into 1950: Bears Leading 35-21-5
- 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. Both Bobby Dillon (Packers) and Don Kindt (Bears) both had pick-sixes in the game.
- Highest Scoring Game: November 6, 1955. Bears win 52-31 as the two teams combine for a rivalry-record 83 points. Chicago was up 45-3 before the Packers launched an attempt at a comeback that fell short at Wrigley Field.
- 10 Turnover Game: November 6, 1955. The Packers and Bears combined for 10 turnovers in a rather bizarre game. Tobin Rote had an alright game at quarterback for the Packers, throwing the ball 31 times, while the Bears had three different passers combine for just 16 attempts. Chicago was up 45-3 in the fourth quarter, but 29 fourth quarter points made the game look closer than it was. Ultimately Chicago won 52-31 at Wrigley Field. Both Teams Scoring 30+ Points: In this game, the 73rd ever matchup, both the Bears and Packers scored 30+ points for the first time.
- Rick Casares Leads the Bears: October 7, 1956. The Bears beat the Packers 37-21 in what would be the final Packers-Bears game at City Stadium. Bears’ fullback Casares put up 189 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns to lead the way, while Packers safety Bobby Dillon recorded an interception (the only turnover of the game). Chicago kicker George Blanda put up 12 points in the outing.
- First Game at Lambeau Field: September 29, 1957. The Packers beat the Bears 21-17 in a comeback effort at 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). Billy Howton, First Team All-Pro that year, recorded 165 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions.
- Lombardi’s First Game as Head Coach: September 27, 1959. The Packers beat the Bears 9-6 at City Stadium in Vince Lombardi’s first game as head coach and first game against the Bears. Jim Taylor scored the gam’s lone touchdown. Bears’ great linebacker Bill George recorded an interception. Halas, apparently, advocated for Lombardi to land Green Bay’s coaching vacancy. Wonder if he ever regretted that?
The 1950s: The Chicago Bears went 14-5-1 against the Green Bay Packers
All-Time Series Heading Into 1960: Bears Leading 49-26-6
- 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.
- Hornung Hangs 23 Points on the Bears: December 4, 1960. Paul Hornung kicked off the game with a field goal. He’d end the game with 100 yards from scrimmage, a receiving touchdown, a rushing touchdown, five extra points and two field goals.
- Bart Starr’s Best Game Against the Bears: November 12, 1961. Bart Starr throws three touchdowns, including a 53 yard touchdown pass to Ron Kramer. The Bears would launch a comeback, but the Packers would hold on to win 31-28. Paul Hornung: In the same game, Hornung put up 128 yards from scrimmage, a rushing touchdown, a receiving touchdown, kicked four extra points and one field goal (scoring 19 of Green bay’s 31 points on the day). He would go on to be named MVP of the league that year. Mike Ditka: Not to be outdone, Ditka was a star in this game, too. He recorded 190 yards and three touchdowns on nine receptions, despite the loss.
- AP MVP Jim Taylor: 1962. Jim Taylor destroyed the Bears twice en route to his MVP Award (following Hornung the year before). In the first matchup with Chicago he ran for 126 yards and three touchdowns. In the second he ran for 124 yards and four touchdowns. He likely doesn’t win MVP without those two stellar games.
- Largest Packers Victory: September 30, 1962. The Packers, coached by Vince Lombardi, shutout George Halas’ Bears 49-0 on the strength of Jim Taylor’s 126 yard, three touchdown day. 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.
- First Place on the Line: November 16, 1963. Both the Packers and Bears had 8-1 records and first place in the Western Conference was on the line. The Bears won 26-7 on the strength of seven turnovers created. Chicago would go on to win the conference and the World Championship.
- Free Kick Attempt: September 13, 1964. Vince Lombardi shocked the football world by attempting a rarely-used “free kick” attempt at the end of the first half. Elijah Pitts fair caught a punt with a few seconds left on the clock. Bart Starr then got to hold for Paul Hornung to attempt a 52 yard uncontested, per the rule, field goal. He made it and the Packers would go on to win the game 23-12.
- 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. However the Packers would win the championship that season.
- Ray Nitschke and Dick Butkus: 1965. These two players, both from Chicago, personified football and the game’s ultimate rivalry. They were the black and blue of the black and blue division; they were the perfect link between professional football’s ruthless past and larger-than-life character driven future. The game hasn’t seen a middle linebacker like Butkus since his retirement.
- Bart Starr AP MVP: 1966.
- The Dynasty of Lombardi’s Packers: 1960s. Green Bay won five World Championships in a seven years span (1961, ’62, ’65, ’66, and ’67) including the first two Super Bowls. In the midst of that seven year span the Chicago Bears won a World Championship in 1963.
- Packers Somehow Win Despite Starr’s Bad Day: September 24, 1967. Despite Bart Starr having the worst game of his career (five interceptions and no touchdowns) the Packers won 13-10 on the efforts of running back Jim Grabowski.
- Gale Sayers’ Career High in Yards: November 3, 1968. Gale Sayers put up 205 yards on the ground on 24 carries in the Bears’ 13-10 win over the Packers. A 50 yard pass from Bart Starr to Carroll Dale wasn’t enough for Green Bay.
- One-Point Game: December 15, 1968. The Packers win 28-27, the first time a game within this rivalry was decided by just one point since 1930. Boyd Dowler caught the score that would end up the game-winning score. There have since been six Packers-Bears games decided by one point.
- 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 led off the scoring with a 31 yard touchdown pass to Travis Williams. In the next matchup of the season the Packers won 21-3, but that game is notable because both Dick Butkus (Bears) and Ray Nitschke (Packers) recorded interceptions.
The 1960s: The Green Bay Packers went 15-5 against the Chicago Bears
All-Time Series Heading Into 1970: Bears Leading 54-41-6
- 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. What a moment in Packers-Bears history.
- 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.
- Sweetness Makes His MVP Case: October 10, 1977. Walter Payton (“Sweetness”) 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.
- Walter Payton – NFL Man of the Year: 1977. The NFL Man of the Year Award was first awarded in 1970. Walter Payton was the first Bear or Packer to win the award in 1977. The annual award honors a player’s volunteer and charity work, as well as his excellence on the field. In 1999 the award’s name was changed to the “Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.” Five Chicago Bears have won it, most recently Charles “Peanut” Tillman in 2013. The first winner was Johnny Unitas and other winners include Dan Marino, Anthony Munoz, J.J. Watt and most recently Russell Wilson.
- Lowest Scoring Game of the Super Bowl Era: September 2, 1979. The Packers and Bears combine to score just nine points in a 6-3 Bears victory. Three field goals were made on the day and Walter Payton’s 174 total yards led the game.
- Bears Win Without an Offensive Touchdown: December 9, 1979. The Packers lost to the Bears 15-14 at Lambeau Field in a game where the Bears didn’t have an offensive touchdown. Lynn Dickey and Paul Coffman combined for two touchdown passes, but that wasn’t enough for the Bears’ three field goals and interception returned for a touchdown by Tom Hicks. Both James Lofton and Walter Payton put up over a hundred yards, but neither scored.
The 1970s: The Chicago Bears went 11-9 against the Green Bay Packers
All-Time Series Heading Into 1980: Bears Leading 65-50-6
- 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. If you know, you know. The next Chicago game that year wouldn’t end so well for the Packers.
- 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. Walter Payton scored three touchdowns and put up 141 total yards on the day.
- Only Season Without A Matchup Since 1922: 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: December 18, 1983. It was on that date during the 1983 season that George Halas passed away. 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 31-28. In this game Lynn Dickey and Jim McMahon combined to throw six interceptions while Mike Singletary recorded a sack.
- Payton to Suhey: December 9, 1984. The Packers would win the game 20-14 at Soldier Field. However one of the best highlights from the game was Walter Payton throwing a touchdown to his longtime fullback Matt Suhey. Payton would later run for a score, but two touchdown passes from Packers quarterback Rich Campbell ended up being the difference. Including a memorable heave to Phil Epps for the win with under a minute to play. A rare win for the Packers in this rivalry during the decade and the only win over the Bears of Forrest Gregg’s tenure as head coach. Green Bay’s Mike Douglass recorded three sacks while Chicago’s Richard Dent recorded two.
- 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. Sweetness: Walter Payton ran for 100+ yards in both games against Green Bay, including his season high of 192 rushing yards. Two of the four best games of Payton’s career, in terms of rushing yards, came against the Packers.
- 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.
- Walter Payton’s Last TD: November 8, 1987. Bears win 26-24 as Walter Payton accounts for his 21st (and final) total touchdown against the Green Bay Packers. His 21 total touchdowns are the most by a player in the history of this rivalry (one was a passing score). He finished his career with 2,922 yards from scrimmage against the Packers, with a 17-7 record.
- 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.
- Bart Starr Award: 1991. Mike Singletary, linebacker of the Chicago Bears, wins the Bart Starr Award. The annual award honors the NFL player who, “Best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field, and in the community.” The award was created in 1989 and this was the first time a Packer or Bear won it.
The 1980s: The Chicago Bears went 11-7 against the Green Bay Packers
All-Time Series Heading Into 1990: Bears Leading 76-57-6
- 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). This is the widest the chasm in the all-time series would be, perhaps ever.
- Enter Brett Favre: 1992. Brett Favre’s arrival into this rivalry would change the course of history from this moment on. The single most defining moment/player in the history of the rivalry.
- Packers Begin to Turn the Tide: November 22, 1992. Packers defeat the Bears 17-3 and kick off what would eventually 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.
- Reggie White Enters the Rivalry: October 31, 1993. In Reggie White’s first game against the Bears as a Packer, a 17-3 win for Green Bay, he introduced himself with a two sack performance. LeRoy Butler put up a sack and an interception while Brett Favre threw a touchdown to Sterling Sharpe in the game. The tide of the rivalry really started to turn with this game.
- 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 (the first and only player to ever do so).
- 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. Former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, infamously, wore a Bears jersey when the Packers visited the White House.
- Green Bay’s 10-Game Winning Streak: 1998. 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 chip shot 28-yard 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. Maybe us, too.
The 1990s: The Green Bay Packers went 13-7 against the Chicago Bears
All-Time Series Heading Into 2000: Bears Leading 83-70-6
- Brian Urlacher Enters the Rivalry: December 9, 2001. Second-year middle linebacker Urlacher, in the midst of his first First Team All-Pro season, nabs the first of his five career interceptions against the Packers. Urlacher did all he could recording an interception, a sack, one pass defended and 11 tackles in a 17-7 Packers win. Despite the loss, he let the Packers know he’d be around for awhile. Astonishingly, 25% of Urlacher’s career interceptions (including the postseason) came against the Packers (6 of 25).
- 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.
- High Scoring Stretch: 2002-2003. All four games played between these teams in this two-season stretch saw a combined 50+ points scored in each game — the first time in the history of the rivalry. Although it would later be matched in a four game stretch from 2013-2015.
- Ahman Green’s Big First Quarter: September 29, 2003. Ahman Green kicked off the game with a 60 yard touchdown run. He’d run in another score to put the Packers up 17-0 in the first quarter. He’d finish the game with 176 yards on just 19 carries. Green Bay won 38-23. Appropriately, 2003 was the best season of Green’s career.
- 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.
- The Latest Shutout in the Series: September 10, 2006. In Packers head coach Mike McCarthy’s first game, and first game against Chicago, the Packers are blanked 26-0 by the Bears. Bears Special Teams: Chicago’s kicker Robbie Gould scored 14 points and Devin Hester returned a punt for a touchdown in the game in his first NFL game. What a debut by him. There hasn’t been a shutout in this rivalry since.
- The Primetime Rivalry: December 31, 2006. This Sunday Night Football game between the Packers and Bears kicked off a stretch of consecutive seasons with at least one primetime game between these two rivals that exists to the present day. Meaning, these teams have played a primetime game in each of the last 16 seasons. This shows an incredible respect from the NFL’s schedule-makers, but also how many people tune in when these two teams play (regardless of record).
- 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, including a fourth quarter 85-yard pick-six by Brian Urlacher.
- 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.
- Jay Cutler’s Least Favorite Day: September 13, 2009. Jay Cutler throws for one touchdown and four interceptions in a 21-15 loss. Interestingly enough, this wouldn’t be the last one touchdown, four interception day, and loss, for Cutler against the Packers on a September 13th. He’d do it again in 2013.
The 2000s: The Green Bay Packers went 12-8 against the Chicago Bears
All-Time Series Heading Into 2010: Bears Leading 91-81-6
- 2010 Packers: 2010. Green Bay lost its first matchup with the Chicago Bears of the 2010 season in a game Devin Hester returned a punt for a touchdown. 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. Big mistake. 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.
- Christmas Day: December 25, 2011. The Packers beat the Bears 35-21, avenging their previous Christmas Day loss to the Bears in 2005 (24-17 Chicago). These are the only two times these two teams have played on Christmas.
- “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.
- Charles “Peanut” Tillman’s All-Pro season: 2012. Tillman put together such an incredible season that it deserves recognition. His 10 forced-fumbles and three defensive touchdowns both led the league. Two of his forced-fumbles came against the Packers, one in each game.
- 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. Bear Killer: This was the genesis of Cobb becoming known as the ‘Bear Killer’ but it wouldn’t be the last time he broke the hearts of Chicagoans. His nine touchdowns against the Bears are the most he has against any team. Matt Forte: A three touchdown game from Forte, a perpetually underrated talent, wasn’t enough to defeat the Packers.
- 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.
- Bart Starr Award – to a Packer: 2014. Aaron Rodgers wins the Bart Starr Award, the first Packer to win the award. It was previously won by Mike Singletary in 1991 (listed on this timeline). Other winners include Peyton Manning, LaDainian Tomlinson, Cris Carter, Reggie White (Eagles) and Drew Brees among others.
- 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 ever Thanksgiving game at Lambeau Field and the first Thanksgiving matchup between these ancient 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.
- Bears Win the North: December 16, 2018. The Chicago Bears knock the Packers out of playoff contention as they won 24-17. The undisputed highlight of the Matt Nagy and Mitch Trubisky era in Chicago. Khalil Mack recorded two sacks.
- 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.
The 2010s: The Green Bay Packers went 17-4 against the Chicago Bears
All-Time Series Heading Into 2020: Packers Leading 99-95-6
- Shift in the Rivalry: 2020. This was the first decade in the history of the rivalry to begin with the Packers leading the all-time series. This occurred because the 2010s were the most dominant period in the rivalry for either team, as the Packers were +13 wins in a single decade.
- 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 (at the time) all-time? I’m sure he has.
- 400th Game at Lambeau Field: December 12, 2021: Aaron Rodgers’ started his 100th career NFL game in the 400th all-time game at Lambeau Field (on Sunday Night Football). The Bears got up 10-0, but lost 45-30 to the Packers. The 75 point total is the second-highest scoring game in the history of the rivalry. The second quarter saw 45 total points scored, the most points in a quarter in the history of the series. With this win Matt LaFleur became the first coach in Packers history to win 10+ games in each of his first three seasons. Aaron Rodgers: On a broken toe, Rodgers threw four TDs and zero interceptions (for the 7th time against the Bears; the most against one team in league history) after Robert Quinn mocked his championship belt celebration. Paul Tagliabue: The former NFL Commissioner (1989-2006) was honored at halftime, receiving his Pro Football Hall of Fame Ring of Excellence. Great to see him choose this rivalry and venue for such an honor.
- Chicago is Going to “Take Back the North” from Green Bay: January 31, 2022: Newly hired Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles said, “We’re going to take the North and never give it back.” Sounds like he’s focused more on defeating the Packers than winning championships. This was also the same week that the Packers’ quarterback coach Luke Getsy was hired as offensive coordinator for the Bears. Meanwhile in Green Bay, they responded by promoting Luke Butkus (Dick Butkus’ nephew) to offensive line coach. Wild times. Justin Fields’ Comments: July 28, 2022: On Bears All Access Justin Fields said, “I want a Super Bowl. That’s all I care about, and I want to beat the Green Bay Packers.” Seems like the Super Bowl isn’t all he cares about after all. We’d say that’s good for the rivalry moving forward. Love his confidence.
All-Time Series At The Moment: Packers leading 103-95-6
Well, that’s the beautiful mystery of rivalries. One thing you can count on it that the Chicago Bears will be looking to punch back over the next decade.
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 forever. Tides always change.
However the Bears still suck, so anything is possible.
We kid. The respect for the Bears as the brother to the Packers will always remain, but that doesn’t mean we won’t make jokes. And we expect nothing less the next time the Bears find themselves with the momentum in the rivalry.
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 once again, we have to reiterate, as much as we hate the Bears we respect the history of the organization and wish their fans well.
There are numerous Bears fans in our family and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
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, either.
That’s the crux of this beautiful, ancient 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: 23-5 (Including Postseason)
That’s 59 wins by these three quarterbacks for the Packers in this rivalry (58% of the Packers’ wins against the Bears all-time).
Go Pack Go!
Rest assured Packers (and Bears) fans. There are plenty more moments to be added to this list in the coming decades. That is the beauty of this rivalry; these franchises carry so much history that their match-ups will always be relevant.
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