CHAMPAIGN, IL - OCTOBER 7: A Green Bay Packers fan and a Chicago Bears fan scream at each other before the start of the Monday night game between the Packers and Bears on October 7, 2002 at Memorial Stadium at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois. The Packers won 34-21. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago and Green Bay are set to play on Sunday, renewing the oldest rivalry in the NFL. Familiarity breeds contempt, but a rivalry this close, and one that has gone on for this long breeds pure hatred.
It may be irrational, but it's a hatred that lives and breathes and has been passed down through generations.
I hate Aaron Rodgers for ignoring that poor cancer survivor. I hate Clay Matthews and A.J. Hawk and their greasy hair. I hate that Donald Driver is 243 years old and still plays lights out-football. I hate Atari Bigby for taking the name of a childhood joy and ruining it.
The hatred doesn't stop at current players. Brett Favre will always have a special place in the Hate Hall of Fame for his years as a Packer. (It took the retirement/unretirement saga, awful TV commercials and a lawsuit for sexual harassment for the rest of the country to join in the Favre-hate parade.) I hate Charles Martin for putting a hit on Jim McMahon, then following through with it. I hate Bart Starr for whining about an effective blitz, I hate Ted Hendricks for stealing my last name and I hate Paul Hornung just because.
I hate their cheeseheads. I can't stand the marriage of green and gold, colors that when together, look good on exactly no one. I hate that they think the insult FIB -- use your imagination to figure out what it stands for -- will offend us. It just speaks to their unbelievable earnestness. I hate that, too.
But even with the hate, we are still Midwesterners. We don't act on that hate. We're not New York and Boston. Our hatred won't go below the belt, (hopefully) won't get violent, and we'll continue to co-exist as neighbors peacefully well beyond Sunday's game. Heck, I'll even stop in at Mars Cheese Castle the next time I drive north, and I'll probably see someone wearing an ugly, unflattering Packers sweatshirt. But since I'm a well-bred, Midwestern lady, I'll seethe quietly and not act on my hate.
But we'll all know it's there.