Sunday, September 26, 2010

Packers vs. Da Bearz pre-preview: the rivalry

Yes, folks, this is the pre-preview of the showdown in ChiTiown between our beloved Green Bay Packers and Da Bearz. So, it's a bit general yet, sorry.

What we do know right now is that whichever team wins this game (and, really, is there any doubt as to which that will be...c'mon!) will be sitting atop the NFC North. That will be a great place to be. It will open up some space between the top dog and, espcially, the ViQueens. We have to anticipate that at some point Ol' #4's in-season training camp will click in and the 'Queens will start to win a few...beginning, most likely, today in the Humpty Dump versus the Lions.

But back to the game of most importance...

This will be the 180th meeting between the Pack and Da Bearz, the oldest rivalry in the NFL. Somehow, Da Bearz lead the overall series 90-82 with 6 ties. The battles through the years have been furious. There have been cheap shots delivered by players on both teams. The story is told by some Glory Years' Packers that the rivalry between Vince Lombardi and Papa Bear George Hallas was so intense that one game, 5 minutes before kickoff, Hallas marched into the Packers' locker room, went up to Lombardi, and reportedly said, "You better have your team ready to play," or something along those lines. Can you imagine that happening today between two coaches? These days, they're just more likely not to shake hands after a game. It's all gotten way too civil, hasn't it?

Most of the players on both sides today just don't have a sense for the nature and intensity of the rivalry. Players who are asked about the rivalrly by the media generally say it's more a rivalry for the fans than the players who see it as another game. Even Bears TE Greg Olsen was saying nice things about the Packers' defense this week. As St. Vince might say about stuff like that, "What the hell's goin' on out there!". Indeed.

That's why, at least in Green Bay, head coach Mike McCarthy makes it a point to talk to the players, especially the new arrivals, about the history between these two teams, what the rivalry has meant down through the years, the players who have played on both sides of the ball, and especially what it means to the fans. As fans -- and apparently at least some players -- are well aware, the mantra is always this: no matter whether or not you win any other games during the season, beat Da Bearz.

Yes, perhaps over the past decade or two the intensity of rivalry has picked up between the Pack and the 'Queens. For some fans, this has even surpassed the Packers-Bearz rivalry. And that's especially true now with Ol' #4 betraying all things Green 'n' Gold by wearing that funky purple. (It still boggles the mind, doesn't it???)

But given that tomorrow evening, both the Packers and Da Bearz meet at 2-0 with the division lead at stake you just know this will be one of those old fashioned smash-mouth football games.

The Pack is currently favored by 3 points. We'll make our prediction tomorrow by mid-day. You already know we're going to call this game in favor of the Pack. Just need to figure out the score prediction yet.

Go Pack Go!!!