Since I got this Rivalry Week article idea from Christopher Gates of The Daily Norseman, I figure I’d start off with his team as I run down my favorite players from the Chicago Bears’ NFC North rivals.
Minnesota Vikings - Anthony Carter, WR
I was a big Michigan Wolverine fan in my youth, and Carter was one of the greatest wide outs to ever play for the maize and blue, plus 11 year old me thought it was cool that he wore the number 1. My football fanaticism was just starting to grow back then and when he decided to spurn the NFL and go play in the USFL I liked him even more. I followed his career from the Michigan Panthers to the Oakland Invaders and I remember being pissed off when he ended up with the rival Vikings, but I still kept tabs on him. Honorable Mention Vikings: Herschel Walker, Randall Cunningham, and Randall McDaniel
Detroit Lions - Billy Sims, RB
Before Barry Sanders was terrorizing defenses in the number 20 of the Honolulu blue, it was Sims running wild for the Lions in that particular jersey. I’ll never forget seeing him leap to avoid a tackle, land on the tackler with his foot, push off and then with his other foot hit another would-be tackler. That play is the first play in this video here if you want to check it out. Sims was an Oklahoma Sooner legend and his first three years in the NFL were all Pro Bowl seasons. Honorable Mention Lions: Barry Sanders and Herman Moore
Green Bay Packers - Jim McMahon, QB
One of the first things I learned about the Chicago Bears was that as a fan it was my responsibility to despise the Packers. I was a teenager during the Ditka vs Gregg coaching match-ups and those two teams had a real hatred for each other, which drove my distaste for them as well. After leaving the Bears, McMahon bounced around the NFL for the second half of his career, and while he did have more statistical success his one year with the rival Vikings, he rocked a Bears jersey while a member of the Packers.
Since I’m old enough to remember when the Bears played in the NFC Central, I’ll add one more divisional rival to my list...
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Mike Alstott, RB
I loved the rugged running style that Alstott had, plus he was from nearby Joliet, Illinois so he was easy too root for. Technically speaking, he was only a Chicago division rival from his rookie year of 1996 until the 2001 season, as the NFL realigned in 2002 into four divisions in each conference with four teams apiece. Which makes this a good time to remind Bears fans that the Bucs (1999) won Chicago’s division more recently than the Lions (1993) have. Honorable Mention Buccaneers: Lee Roy Selmon
Who are some of your favorite division rival players of the Bears?