The Bears and Packers are the oldest rivalry in the NFL. In fact, the two franchises pre-date when the league was referred to as the National Football League. The league was known as the American Professional Football Association until the 1922 season.
Since that time, the Bears and the Packers have met 193 times counting both regular and postseason, more than any other teams in the league, including the Bears and the Cardinals, despite the fact that those two teams shared Chicago for decades and that the Bears and Cardinals both joined the AFPA in 1920 and the Packers didn’t come along until 1921.
The Bears and the Packers have a long history against each other and it’s been full of a lot of animosity and a lot of really great football.
The Bears and the Packers are the two most storied franchises in history. They’ve combined for 22 championships, including five Super Bowls.
Each franchise has had it’s time of dominance: the Packers won four championships in the 1930s, the Bears won four championships in the 1940s, the Packers won five in the 1960s. Between the two teams the same is true: the Bears owned the 1980s, the Packers owned the 1990s and most of the 2000s as well.
However, one team has held an edge in the series for a long, long, long time.
The Chicago Bears.
The Bears have led the series since Oct. 22, 1933.
Chicago won the first three meetings until 1925. The Bears won or tied the Pack in the next seven meetings before they dropped seven in a row between 1928 and 1930.
The record stood at 8-8-3 after the 1930 season. Then the Bears lost two in a row, won, then tied and lost a game before winning the final match up of the 1932 season.
The Bears tied the series by winning the first two meetings in 1933, then took the lead that fateful October day and never looked back.
Those three straight wins were part of a six-game winning streak over their rivals. The Bears wouldn’t lose more than two in a row to Green Bay until they lost five straight between 1960 and 1962.
But having led since 1933 means they’ve led for 83 of the 95 years of the rivalry.
And it could all end Sunday.
Yahoo Sports writer Eric Edholm breaks it down, brackets are mine:
Heading into Sunday, the all-time series has the Bears leading 94-93-6 [Regular season]. As recently as 1992, the Bears had a 20-game advantage in the series — and yes, that would be the year Brett Favre arrived in Green Bay. After losing his first start against the Bears, Favre would win 20 of his next 25 starts against them.
The Bears would dominate the next few years during the Lovie Smith era before the Packers took control of the rivalry again, winning 12 of the past 15 meetings since 2009. Right about the time the Bears traded for Jay Cutler, mind you.
So yes, coinciding with 20-plus years of Hall of Fame quarterback talent the Packers have chipped away at the Bears lead and now stand to tie up the series for the first time since the Great Depression.
The Packers have the edge in championships, they have had the edge in quarterbacks, they’ve had the edge in the rivalry of late but the Bears have had the edge in the overall series and, yes, still hold the edge in number of Hall of Famers (27 to 24).
The Bears may be 3-10, they may be on their way to a third straight top 10 pick (even if one of the three was by trade) but the Bears have over 80 years of history to play for.
Perhaps it is fitting that these two teams will meet in near-zero degree weather on the lake front in Chicago Sunday. Two proud, historic franchises duking it out once again on a frozen field, with ghosts of Halas, Payton, Grange, Hutson, Lombardi and Lambeau watching.
No matter how trivial it is, or how petty, I want to see the Bears hold on to that lead. For another year.