Sunday, December 23, 2007
Today is an important holiday in Chicago, far more important than Christmases, birthdays, New Year'ses, and Three Kings' Days combined. At least here in the upper Midwest. Today is Bears-Packers Day, which comes but twice a year.
Today, it is in Chicago, which is funny, since I'll be in Wisconsin with Packers' fans since those "other" holidays I mentioned involve Wisconsin relatives. Today, I will be with the enemy at the end of the carnage, and I will have to deal with their cars and shock troops on the 294 back to Chicago.
Where it counts is in the most storied rivalry in all the NFL and probably the most storied outside of the Yankees versus the Red Sox and the Cubs versus the White Sox/Cardinals (both of which take precedence to bonds, blood, and debt, I know).
The rivalry is said to have started in 1921 over... well, no one really KNOWS how it started, but it was some sort of injury to one player on one of the teams. It's sort of a Montague-Capulet kind of thing. The two teams have battled it out in 174 games, and they have been ruled by the greatest sports icons of America (this far north and west, that is): George Halas of the Bears and Coach Lambeau Field of the Packers.
Today, the Halas family still owns the Bears, the city of Green Bay now owns the rights to and pays taxes for the Packers, and we all still do battle as often as the NFL schedule allows. Which is a little thankfully light for us Bears fans, at least this year.
So the Bears have not been good this year... an understatement, I suppose. And the Packers have been good this year... another understatement. I'm not worried: the Packers will probably go on to lose to the Cowboys again. And the records mean nothing in a rivalry game. What matters are those two games at the end of the season, so us Chicagoans can go brag (or cry) when we visit our summer homes north of Milwaukee every year.
Two Browns fans tell me this year to just roll over. I told them to roll over to the Steelers first, and one punched me. Why should I roll over? Maybe Brett Favre will retire this year if he goes all the way, they said! Personally, I'd rather have his head on a pike or possibly have him put in formaldehyde for the Field Museum. Of course, the city of Green Bay probably owns the rights to his body.
Bear Down today, Chicago Bears!
P.S. I liked my overuse of the word "storied" in paragraph three. Didn't you?