Sports History

Bears vs. Packers: A Century-Long Rivalry

By: CHM Staff
Nov 29 2020

The Bears and the Packers have one of the longest-standing rivalries in the NFL and the league’s most played. Their first meeting was in 1921, when the Bears, then known as the Chicago Staleys, defeated the Packers in a 20–0 victory—the start of a century-long conflict.

Front cover of Nov. 7, 1943, Bears vs. Packers program, CHM, ICHi-059811.

The Bears and Packers have been in the same conference since the NFL switched to a conference format in 1933, first in the Western Conference and then in the NFC North since 1970, and usually play each other twice a year. They have met 200 times in regular- and postseason games. In recent years, the Packers have taken over the lead in the series with a 99–95–6 record.

Aerial view of Wrigley Field during the Bears vs. Packers game, Nov. 17, 1963, ST-17500877, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM.

Notable Bears wins over the Packers include their second meeting of 1963 (in the aerial shot above), with both teams coming to the game with 8‒1 records and playing for first place in the conference, and their October 21, 1985, win in which rookie defensive tackle William “The Fridge” Perry was put in at fullback and scored his first touchdown. Both seasons would end with the Bears as national champions.

Linebacker Mike Singletary (#50) during the game at Lambeau Field, Oct. 11, 1989, ST-20000203-0007, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM.

Notable losses include the infamous “instant replay game” in 1989 (seen in the collage above), when a Packer touchdown was credited after instant replay overruled a penalty called on quarterback Don Majkowski for stepping over the line of scrimmage, and the teams’ last playoff meeting in the 2010 NFC championship.

Mayor Harold Washington in attendance at Soldier Field, Oct. 21, 1985, ST-20001960-0077, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM.

Look back at 100 years of Bears history on our blog.

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