The vibe around the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers rivalry has changed this year, and that’s a good thing.
We are only two days away from the latest installment of the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers rivalry. Before we get started, let’s not mince words — the Packers have dominated this matchup in recent memory. That tends to happen when one team has one Hall of Fame quarterback take over for another, while the Bears wallowed in quarterback purgatory.
The Bears have lost their last five to the Packers, and 9 of their last 10 overall to their cheesehead-donning rivals. Though beaten down, you rarely saw a lot of passion or disdain for Green Bay coming out of Halas Hall. Perhaps that was just a sign of the times.
With the advent of free agency and players bouncing around from team to team, some of the “hate” has dissipated from these types of rivalries. Players know they could likely end up playing alongside some of these guys in a year or two. Instead, this rivalry has taken on a more professional tone, with each side giving the appropriate amount of respect to its opponent, and regurgitating the talking points they were provided prior to meeting with the media.
It was boring, it was predictable and it was frustrating to see what appeared to be a lack of passion at times under previous regimes. However, this season, the overall morale and personality of this team has completely changed. With the improved morale came more players revealing their personalities, taking their lead from the head coach, Matt Nagy.
So it was not all that surprising when the tone around the team seemed different this week as they discussed their matchup with the Packers Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field.
Let’s just take a look at some of the comments from the players about this game, which, by the way, could clinch the division for the Bears if they win.
On the same day, Anthony Miller made it clear how the team feels about the Packers. In fact, he couldn’t have been clearer when he said, “we hate the Packers.”
Next, Matt Nagy was asked about the Packers recent success against the Bears. If you expected a political, coach-speak answer, you didn’t get one. Rather Nagy responded, “I have no idea and I don’t even care.” Nagy also made the team watch certain moments from their Week 1 loss to the Packers to remind them of that feeling they had following the game. You think Nagy wants this win? Despite any attempt to downplay its significance, you bet he does.
Finally, came the revelation that Mitchell Trubisky was given the nickname “Favre” in high school. When asked about the nickname Trubisky replied, “I’m done with that nickname. No one calls me that anymore . . . I’m a Chicago Bears quarterback now.”
There is a stark contrast between the vibe around this game compared to last year. It seems this new generation of Bears players dislike the Packers — and that’s great. Yes, a team should always respect their opponent, but this kind of rivalry is great for the game and for fans.
If you’re going to line up against another human being and smash your heads together for three hours, you better, on some level, dislike them or what they represent. In this case, it’s more about what they represent (a hated rival) than the individual. So why not have some fun with it?
The Bears should be angry, especially the way in which they have performed within the division under Misseurs Trestman and Fox. Frustration has been building up for this franchise and its fans for years and is ready to boil over on Sunday with the hopes that the team takes out that collective frustration on the Packers.
The Bears know what’s at stake on Sunday. For years, they’ve been the doormat of the NFC North, mostly at the expense of the Packers. A win Sunday could signify a changing of the guard and earn them the respect they deserve. Let’s face it, a heated rivalry is better when there’s some bad blood. It just is. And as fans, we get to watch it all unfold in just a couple of days.