Packers-Bears is still a rivalry but it has been all Green Bay of late

The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears have played more times than any other two teams in NFL history. When the clubs meet Sunday at Solider Field it will mark the 203rd meeting between the rivals. Of late, though, it hasn’t felt much like a rivalry. That tends to happen when one team wins 19 of 22 games like the Packers have.

While Chicago wide receiver Darnell Mooney took offense to a reporter calling it the “Packers-Bears rivalry,” Green Bay wide receiver Davante Adams spoke like someone that had been on the winning side a lot.

“I look at everybody like a rival. It means something to me because I know how much it means to this organization and the town more than anything,” Adams said. “I hate everybody that I play against, so when I’m going out there, I’m going to try … to murder you with every opportunity I can. They’ll get the same treatment as (Cincinnati) last week. It’s the same thing in my head. But it’s an age-old rivalry and it means a lot to this town and really to football, so it’s important that we add another one in our column over here.”

Matt LaFleur grew up in Michigan, so he has lifelong knowledge about the rivalries among the Packers, Bears, Minnesota Vikings, and Detroit Lions. And yet Green Bay’s coach says they treat this game differently but not solely because it is a rivalry.

“It’s an NFC North opponent, first and foremost,” said LaFleur, who is 4-0 against Chicago and 12-1 against the division. “Those games are just almost twice as meaningful, because if you can win, obviously, that it is twofold, you’re giving that other team a loss. We’ve stressed a lot of importance on the North, and certainly just being the longest rivalry in the National Football League, I think it just adds another layer.”

It seems easy for the Packers to treat this as just any other game because they have beaten the Bears so consistently for so long. In the last 29 seasons Green Bay went from being down 24 games in the series to being six games up. After the Bears had a winning record in six of the first seven decades, the Packers have led – by a wide margin – in the last three. That success coincides with the arrival of quarterback Brett Favre in 1992 and continued when Aaron Rodgers took over as the starter in 2008.

“I’m just a small part of this journey. It’s been over 100 years of playing and fortunate to have this little time right now to be able to be a starter and impact the all-time series,” Rodgers said. “Little Green Bay was getting beat up for a long time by our foes to the south. And then Favre-y showed up and we close the gap and then we’ve overtaken them. It’s nice but I don’t think it’s the most important part of the all-time legacy but it it’s always a battle against them and always fun when you can beat him.”

That success is why, when Lovie Smith took over as Chicago’s coach in 2004, one of his stated goals when he spoke to the media for the first time was about taking back control of the rivalry.

“The main focus for so many of these coaching press conferences in Chicago is beating the Packers because we’ve had the upper hand for the last stretch with Favre and I,” Rodgers said this week. “It’s been battles, though. It’s still a rivalry.”