The nature of “rivalry” has changed over the years since Mike Ditka and Forrest Gregg traded epithets.
Bears have become Packers (Steve McMichael, Jim McMahon, Jim Morrissey, Julius Peppers). Packers have become Bears (Edgar Bennett, Glyn Milburn, Josh Sitton). Ditka and Green Bay guard Jerry Kramer worked together to help struggling former players through the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund that Kramer established.
So it is always interesting to look at the Bears-Packers rivalry, the subject of the CSN “Bears Classics” which aired on Tuesday and included tales from Brian Urlacher (who faced both Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers), the famed “Replay Game,” the Bryan Robinson Game and a whole lot more.
Remembering games and times is like looking through a scrapbook of snapshots rather than just a running film of sequential events. Lot of snapshots:
[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]
Some venom will always be there if only because the teams play each other twice a season and familiarity can breed contempt. When William Perry was lined up in the backfield and carried the football on the last two snaps in the 1985 San Francisco game,
Ditka was tweaking Bill Walsh for the Guy McIntyre gambit in the ’84 NFC Championship game. But Ditka waited until the following week, on the national stage of Monday Night Football, to create “The Fridge” by giving Perry the ball for a TD run – against the Packers.
But familiarity also can breed something else, and those are other snapshots that stand out looking back at years of seeing the two franchises go at each other.
There was George Halas helping save the Green Bay franchise, and in 1956 speaking forcefully in Green Bay in support of measures that ultimately built Lambeau Field. The Packers once lent Halas $1,500 to meet payroll in the 1930’s.
There was linebacker Mike Singletary holding the hand of linebacker Brian Noble and praying while Noble lay possibly paralyzed from a hit during the Oct. 1992 game.
It wasn’t all an enemies thing, as “Bears Classics” helps show.
Check out the complete episode of "Bears Classics" with these clips below: