It’s Ok to be a Packer Fan in Chicago

After spending my whole life in the northern suburbs of Chicago, as a Packer fan, I’ve withstood countless episodes of ribbing, harrassment, insults, and even some shock at my devotion to a Wisconsin football team. “Were you born in Wisconsin?” and “You’re a cheesehead?” are usually how it starts. Then come the jokes and the bets. Just nod and smile. But with the customary rivalry heating up this weekend for Monday night’s Bears vs Packers game, I got to thinking… why am I a Green Bay Packers fan? And you know what? I discovered that it’s not some misplaced loyalty. It’s earned. And it really is ok to be a Packers fan in Chicago!

You see, I was born into it. This photo was taken in 1965, (that’s my Dad). Notice the hat. My Dad, his Dad,   his 2 brothers, and the rest of our family were die-hard Packer fans. They had season tickets, and more than once I was allowed to tag along to a game in Milwaukee. It was great fun, and luckily, I was born into the age of Vince Lombardi! Can you even imagine a better time to cultivate a football fan?

So, before I go spouting off stats to back up my position, I’d like to tell you about a couple of my Bears fan friends. You see, not all Bears fans are spiteful towards Packer Backers… just a few! I think these guys represent the majority of Bears fans, who are basically football fans, at heart. Take my friend Skip, a seasoned Bears ticket holder, who wears his Dick Butkus jersey to nearly every Chicago home game. Skip has 4 seats, about 4 rows back,  on the 25 yard line at Soldier Field. In 2006, expecting Brett Favre to announce his retirement, Skip invited me and another Packers fan to accompany him to the game. That day we were 2 Bears fans and 2 Packers fans, in full team attire, and we merely shared the excitement of the game and the company of good friends. We even got interviewed by the Chicago Tribune, who’s reporter marveled at the camaraderie he saw between fans that day. (Brett did announce his retirement that day… little did we all know what a circus that would become, but that’s another blog entirely!) My point? In Skip’s words, “How can you not respect the career that Brett Favre has had? Of course I like him, just not when he’s playing my team!”

Then there’s John, another die-hard Bears season ticket holder. I accompanied John to my first Bears game, although it was not against the Packers. John is a tail-gater, and let me tell you, I was treated like royalty, had a feast that would contend with any brat-fest at Lambeau, and had a thoroughly enjoyable day. John’s downfall was that he liked to bet me, on every Bears / Packers game… this during the reign of Brett Favre! It started in the 1996-97 season, when the Packers went on to win the Superbowl. I lost only 2 times in 8 years and the really funny part is when he decided to stop losing to me, the Bears won again! In the meantime, John good-heartedly lost money, drinks, dinner, and evenings where he had to wear Packers jerseys and sing my favorite Packers song, That’s Why I Love My Green Bay Packers!

Now, for the numbers. While both teams have a long and rich history, filled with legendary coaches, quarterbacks and players, the Packers still come out on top…  a needless justification for my unbreakable Packer Pride!

Yes, the Packers won the First Superbowl, played in 1967. Did you know that the Superbowl got it’s name from Kansas City Chiefs owner, Lamar Hunt? I read an interesting article on, describing how Hunt was watching his daughter play with her Super Ball, and he jokingly suggested that the proposed interleague championship be named the Superbowl. The first 3 games were titled “World Championship Game”, but soon thereafter, the game was retroactively and officially labeled “Superbowl”.

Including that fateful first game in 1967, here are some Bears vs Packers stats:
*** Edited to say that these are stats from the last 44 years of regular seasons only.**

Total Packers / Bears Games – 88
Packers Won – 48
Bears Won – 38
2 games in 1983 season lost to strike

Superbowls Won:
Packers – 3 – in 1967, 1968 and 1997
Bears – 1 – in 1985

Trips to Playoffs:
Packers – 15
Bears – 13

The Packers Coaches      vs The Bears Coaches:

63-67 Vince Lombardi                             63-67 George Halas
68-70 Phil Pengston                                  68-71 Jim Dooley
71-74 Dan Devine                                       72-74 Abe Gibron
75-83 Bart Starr                                          75-77 Jack Pardee
84-87 Forrest Gregg                                  78-81 Neill Armstrong
88-91 Lindy Infante                                   82-92 Mike Ditka
92-98 Mike Holmgren                               93-98 Dave Wannstedt
99 Ray Rhodes                                              99-03 Dick Jauron
00-05 Mike Sherman                                 04-Now Lovie Smith
06-Now Mike McCarthy

There’s some legends up there, aren’t there? On both sides.

I would talk about Quarterbacks, but cannot even find a list of all the qb’s that the Bears have enlisted… it’s too long! So I’ll just say these four names: Bart Starr, Lynn Dickey, Don Majkowski, and Brett Favre. It’s an impressive list, and I am already encouraged by what we’ve seen from Aaron Rodgers.

In fairness, let me mention some more Chicago greats, like Walter Payton and Gale Sayers, both Hall-of-Famers. And who can forget the famous Chicago Bears Superbowl Shuffle?

This football gal has a lot of respect for the Chicago Bears, but come Monday, I’ll be puttin’ on the cheese hat and deckin’ out in green and gold. It’s ok to be a Packer Fan in Chicago!

Published in: on September 25, 2010 at 1:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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