Bears, Packers a Meaningful Rivalry

Monday night, more will be on the line than Midwestern pride.

The Bears playing the Packers always carry more drama than just two football teams meeting each other on the field. It means history. Papa Bear Halas and Vince Lombardi and Paul Hornung and Dick Butkus and Walter Payton and Brett Favre and Lambeau and Soldier Field. It's Illinoisans using Wisconsin as a summer retreat, but not somewhere we'd actually want to live, and it's cheeseheads driving slowly in the left lane of I-94. It's Wisconsin dumping sewage in Lake Michigan, which headed downstream to Illinois. It's a rivalry that goes beyond football.

Even when the stakes are low, this game takes on more meaning than say, a tilt between Oakland and Houston. On Monday night, with the Bears' postseason hopes on the line, the game should be epic.

After their loss to the Vikings, the Bears were required to win every game for the rest of the season to make the playoffs. Additionally, the Minnesota Vikings needed to help by losing one of their games. All of these things have happened, and now, with the stars aligned, the Packers will come to Chicago and try to keep the Bears out of the postseason in a nationally televised Monday night game.

Before Minnesota lost to Atlanta, the Bears players already recognized the importance of the game. Defensive end Adewale Ogunleye mentioned that he wants to exact revenge after the Packers beat the Bears 37-3 at Lambeau earlier this season. Quarterback Kyle Orton said that he will be up for the game "no matter what."

Though the Packers played themselves out of postseason contention by losing four games in a row, they still have motivation to win. Green Bay has the chance to keep their longtime rivals out of the playoffs, and that would be sweet enough for the cheeseheads.

If the Bears lose, they will not be going to the playoffs, but more than that, Bears fans have to put up with cheeseheads gloating until next year. Please, Bears, take care of business for all of us!

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
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