As we prepare for the Chicago Bears’ season opener against the Green Bay Packers, we are providing fans with a list of 100 interesting facts, records and tidbits to help you get in the football mood.
Our series concludes today with 10 facts we’re calling “The Rivalry.” As the Bears and Packers get set to take the field Thursday, we’re looking back at the long and storied history between the long-time rivals.
198 times we’ve had this dance
The Bears and Packers don’t have the oldest rivalry in the NFL (that distinction belongs to the Cardinals and Bears), but they have played more than any two opponents in NFL history, meeting on the gridiron a total of 198 times.
Despite some periods of sheer dominance by the Bears, they no longer hold the upper hand in this historic rivalry. The Packers have won 97 of the 198 meetings between the clubs, with the Bears collecting 95 wins. The two teams have also tied six times in their history, but the last tie in the series came in a 1953 game at Wrigley Field.
But only twice in the playoffs
In all the years the Bears and Packers have been battling on the gridiron, they’ve only met up in the postseason on two different occasions.
In 1941, the two teams competed in a one-game playoff to determine the NFL’s West Division champion, and it was the Bears who came out on top, beating the Packers 33-14 before beating the New York Giants to claim the NFL crown.
In 2011 the teams crossed paths in the playoffs again, and this time it was Green Bay coming out on top on a frigid afternoon at Soldier Field.
The Packers ultimately rode that triumph to a Super Bowl victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, capturing the fourth Super Bowl title in franchise history.
In fact, even the potential for postseason matchups has been rare
Including the two playoff meetings, the Bears and Packers have only reached the playoffs in the same season on four separate occasions.
The Bears and Packers both reached the postseason in 1994, with both teams getting knocked out in the NFC Divisional Round, and in 2001, when both teams experienced the same fate.
Season openers: a nearly even split
Since 1940, the Bears and Packers have played their season opener against one another on 27 different occasions, including last season in Green Bay.
In those 27 games, the Bears and Packers have each won 13 contests, and the teams tied the 27th matchup in the group.
The Packers have the edge in one remarkable area
In all of the years that the Bears and Packers have played one another, the teams have each embarked on some lengthy winning streaks, but Brett Favre helped lead the Packers to a winning streak that’s going to be awfully tough for the Bears to match.
During the 1990’s, the Packers won a staggering 10 straight games against the Bears, sweeping the season series in four consecutive seasons. In all, the Packers won 20 out of 23 matchups against the Bears from 1992 to 2003, seizing control of the all-time series.
The Bears’ longest winning streak in the rivalry is eight games, with the club winning every game from 1985 to 1988.
The Bears do hold the edge in one other area
While the Packers have the advantage in the regular season series between the clubs, the Bears have won more divisional titles in their history than the Packers have. The two clubs have combined for 37 division titles, with the Bears capturing 19 of them to narrowly edge the Pack in that category.
Jim McMahon always seemed to save his best for the Packers
The Bears’ iconic quarterback had some huge games as a member of the team, but he always seemed to save his best performances for games against the Packers.
During his career in Chicago, McMahon won eight out of the nine games he played against the Packers, and overall in his NFL career he went 12-1 in 13 games against Green Bay.
His statistics weren’t particularly eye-popping, as he completed just 53.8 percent of his passes for 2,06 yards and 11 touchdowns, but when the game was on the line, McMahon was able to get the job done against Chicago’s hated rivals.
It perhaps is no surprise then that McMahon spent the final six games of his career with the Packers, with brass figuring that if they couldn’t beat the quarterback, then they should at least bring him on board.
Walter Payton had some incredible numbers in the rivalry too
In 24 career games against the Packers, Payton rushed for 2,484 yards and 19 touchdowns, and added 54 catches for 438 yards in those contests. The running back also threw for a touchdown against Green Bay, bringing his total points scored to 114 against the Pack.
His rushing yards total and total rushing touchdowns against the Packers are both Bears team records, and are also the high-water marks that the legendary running back registered against any other foe in his remarkable career. The Bears went 17-7 in the 24 games that Payton played against Green Bay in his career.
Quarterback play….hasn’t been great against Green Bay
While Bart Starr, Aaron Rodgers, and Brett Favre have routinely torched the Bears, Chicago has been unable to find a quarterback that could do the same against their hated rivals.
In fact, only one Bears player in the history of the organization has thrown four touchdowns in a game against the Packers, and you have to go all the way back to 1970 to find him. Jack Concannon accomplished the feat in a heated game between the rivals.
Since 1950, the Packers have had six individual performances of at least four touchdowns against the Bears, with Rodgers throwing for an astonishing six touchdowns during a 55-14 win in 2014. Rodgers has also thrown for five against the Bears in a single game, matching the best performance Favre ever put together in the rivalry.
Needless to say, Mitchell Trubisky has some serious work to do.
Here it is: the 100th fact for 100 seasons
We’ve had plenty of laughs and “oh my goodness” moments on this journey through the history of the Bears, but for the last fact in this series, we’re going to end on one remarkable day in the legendary history of the team, and the league as a whole.
On June 24, 1922, the Chicago Staleys officially became known as the Chicago Bears, nicknaming themselves after the Chicago Cubs (which we covered all the way back at the beginning of this wild ride down memory lane).
On that very same day, something else remarkable happened. The American Professional Football Association, founded by George Halas and company back in 1920, adopted a much more familiar moniker: the National Football League.
In a century that has seen the Bears and NFL intertwined in so many remarkable ways, there’s perhaps no more fitting tie between the two entities than the fact that on the very same day, both the league, and one of its charter teams, assumed their legendary identities.
For more Bears facts:
Part 1: The Bear Necessities: 10 basic facts about the team, and the players now patrolling Soldier Field.
Part 2: In The Beginning: 10 facts about the team’s founding, original owner George Halas, and the first big star the team was able to sign in the 1920s.
Part 3: There's No Place Like Home: 10 facts about the places where the Bears have played football.
Part 4: Weathering the Storms: 10 facts about the Bears' relationship with Mother Nature.
Part 5: DA BEARS: 10 facts about the Bears through the eyes of American pop culture.
Part 6: 10 for the Record Books: A look back at some of the remarkable, and odd, NFL records set or held by Bears players.
Part 7: Leaders and Legends: A look at some of the interesting records held by Bears players from years gone by.
Part 8: Sweetness: A look at the incredible Bears career of legendary running back Walter Payton.
Part 9: 'We Are the Champions:' An exciting trip down memory lane as we re-live the legacy of the 1985 world champion Chicago Bears.