The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers rivalry has to be one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports. The back and forth battles, or the years dominated by the Packers, each game was played as if it were a Championship game. Players from the past on both clubs have admitted that there were some bad blood between both teams, but now a days, things are completely different.
Although it is still a hard hitting rivalry, some things have certainly changed. The respect between quarterback Aaron Rodgers and now retired linebacker Brian Urlacher, is simply amazing. Two field generals on two different historic teams who go to war twice a season, sometimes in the post season, actually respect each other. He appeared on the Jim Rose Show stating:
“I just have the utmost amount of respect for him, the way he plays the game. A lot of memories come to mind. He picked me off a couple times, maybe more than anybody else has. But I had one really bad play in the NFC Championship game after the 2010 season and was able to somehow grab his knee/thigh area enough to trip him up for a tackle. One of my favorite memories against Brian.” - Rodgers said on the show
In fact, Aaron Rodgers says he will miss the banter on the field between the two saying:
“But the thing I loved about going against Brian was the conversation between plays, between series, during TV timeouts. I just have a ton of respect for him and wish him nothing but the best. I’ll miss him out there.”
When asked about what the two talked about, Rodgers replied with:
“You know what, just anything and everything. From schematic stuff to silly plays that might have been called. We had a back-and-forth one time where I’m making a check, he’s making a check, his voice cracks, so laughing about that a few plays later during a TV timeout. Some of the checks he would do were often very colorful. If he had been miked up at those times there would have been some good, unedited NFL Films stuff, but I just always appreciate the way he played the game, his approach, his professionalism and competing against him was a great honor.”
Although Brian Urlacher was his favorite opponent, Urlacher himself felt that he wasn’t even the best linebacker of his era. He gave that label to the man who retired after winning his 2nd Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers, Ray Lewis.
“If I’m lucky enough to go into the Hall of Fame with Ray, I’ll say this about Ray: I think I’m pretty good; Ray’s the best of all time. His numbers, guys who played with him, you watch him, he did it the right way, he played hard. He’s the best middle linebacker of all time.” - Urlacher on Ray Lewis
We have seen some of the best players on defense hang up their cleats this season. Nothing but memories and respect are given to each and every one of those men who made their decision to walk away. Some players in this league, don’t actually hate the guy who is lined up across from them, they are just doing their job, trying to prove their team is the best in the league. Bonds are made on this field, so it doesn’t matter if you are a Green Bay Packer, Chicago Bear, Baltimore Raven or New England Patriot, you can’t help but grow to love opposing players who you have been playing against for years.
I’ve said this before, this game brings people closer together. More than teammates, opponents, coaches, trainers, fans, but a family as a whole. We are all a giant family, no matter what team you represent. I am good friends with a Green Bay Packers fan, we always give each other a hard time, me being a Chicago Bears fan I mainly get the grief. But when it comes down too it, it never gets heated, all out of good fun and sportsmanship.
But it’s kind of weird to think about, a Green Bay Packer is going to miss a Chicago Bear?