Evolutionary Reality

bears packers 9 24 21 Evolutionary Reality

“I don’t care if we go 2-14, as long as those two wins are against the Packers!”

— Anonymous Idiot Who is Probably Dead by Now.

The Bears/Packers Rivalry is no more.  And you know it, despite maybe wanting to believe otherwise.

Oh, some Chicago media will go through the motions, of course, stirring up pandering images of mud-splashed phantoms colliding in slow motion as the NFL Films horn section blares military glory.  Hunched, graying veterans of games past will tell the same stories, trying to kindle fading memories.

But the democratization of the NFL and the interconnectedness of the globe have cooperated, finally coming close to completing a process that started about ten years ago, by my estimation.

Rivalries are local.  They are defined by the (mostly) good-natured trash-talk in workplaces and watering holes.  But those arguments are just as likely, now, to include any and every NFL team, or — even more probably — a team hand-chosen for a contest of added numbers.

Geographical proximity meant more when it had to.  Today, our personalized satellites beam us whatever NFL game we want, whenever.  The 53-man rosters of native Floridians/Texans/Californians/Louisianans reshuffle each year, and groups of friends gather each preseason to reshuffle them on their own terms in a cloud of cheap cigar smoke.

What’s more, NFL fans are better informed than ever, and carry higher expectations of success.  Games matter for actual, valid reasons, like divisional-race importance and home-field playoff advantage.

Don’t take this as wistful elegy — the accelerated dissolution of Bears/Packers significance is not necessarily good or bad.  Just know it’s true.  Colleges and high schools can still point to the “big game” on their cute little schedules, but the international megabusiness of NFL football has moved on.

Games are big on an NFL schedule when two good teams meet with something at stake.  “Big” is earned more through quality, now, not merely history.

Even here.

* * *

We’re in Mokena today, the Bud Light “Who Needs Two?” Tavern Tour stopping at Morgan’s Thunder Bowl for an afternoon of cold beer and free tickets.  We’ll have the Second Half at 3:30, and the latest on the Bears from Halas Hall when Zach Zaidman Reports.

  • Chicago JB

    Let me preface by saying I agree Bears-Packers isn’t what it used to be. However, if someone wants to make it big in their own sports world, then what’s the damn harm?
    While you are entertaining, I will never understand why you try to belittle what the average (in your mind dumb) fan thinks. Most of your callers don’t have jobs where they are supposed to study the Bears roster, or break down the values of NBA players.
    It is nice that you try to inform the average fan each day, but you do it in such a condescending tone, as if you expect every fan to study the teams as in depth as you do. Obviously in most cases, this is simply not possible.
    In short, if someone wants to make the Bears-Packers their Super Bowl, let by God, let them have it their way. It’s their life.

  • Chicago JB

    then by God*

    • Zombie Chris Henry

      People who do not want to be (or aren’t quite smart enough to be, at least efficiently) educated often feel as if the person trying to educate them is being condescending.

      Nostalgia is okay. Lashing out at someone who recognizes the value and romance of the past, but doesn’t believe it is relevant today, is kind of odd.

      My frustration with Bears’ fans starts with the old SNL “super fan ” sketch from many years ago. People might find it funny, but it’s ultimately insulting and also pretty accurate. As those fans die off or (less likely) become more educated about how a modern NFL team wins, then the owners will stop hiring front office and head coaching fools who pander to these mouthbreathers. By NOT hiring these idiots to pacify an idiotic fanbase, the Bears will be miles ahead.

      • Chicago JB

        I disagree with your point completely. Do you really think the McCaskey family would be doing things any differently with different types of fans? The “meat head” fans don’t like Lovie Smith, because he doesn’t show any emotion. As for Jerry Angelo, the Bears could do a lot better, but I highly doubt the type of fans that show up to Soldier Field could effect that. Most of the meat heads wanted Angelo fired and didn’t get their wish.
        Again, I’ll go back to my original point. If a meat head pays $225 for each home game, then let him be a meat head. It isn’t going to change anything the Bears do, if you think it would you’d be wrong.

  • Chris in Scottsdale

    My guess is that any anonymous “2-14” idiots remaining will be done in by this news:


    As a Rockford native, my response wasn’t shock, it was expectation that I’ll be seeing the first “Hope & Anchor alcohol poisoning death” stories inside of six months.

    It’s also at rrstar.com.

  • AT3374

    I agree this “rivalry” has been anything but that . Favre , when he was young and good would routinely beat the Bears and the Bears NEVER had a QB’s even close to his once great standards , when he played there in GB .

    A rivalry to me is two great players going head to head , like Russell and Chamberlain or Bird and Magic .

    I agree with Dan that people need to move on from this nonsense . The game is only “big” due to both teams being undefeated this year .

    And can we as Bears fans move on from the Monsters of the Midway schtick also , considering that that team ONLY won one SB , yet no one wants to wax poetic about what happened the year before and after that team went to the SB .

    Yes they were awesome , but they didn’t look like Monsters to Joe Montana and Rice IIRC


    I’m kinda surprised that Bulls’ fans haven’t warmed up to the idea of having Carmelo Anthony alongside Derrick Rose & Carlos Boozer. I wonder if Bulls’ fans care more about watching their team than the rest of the NBA and that fans aren’t nearly as interested in watching a game involving Carmelo’s current Denver Nuggets, Tim Duncan’s San Antonio Spurs and other Western Conference teams than they would be watching Kobe Bryant’s back-to-back NBA Champion L.A. Lakers. If the Bulls have to get rid of the bad, expensive contract Luol Deng has and have to part company with Joakim Noah to get ‘Melo, I strongly encourage General Manager Gar Forman, Executive V.P. John Paxson to make this deal in a heartbeat. The Bulls are the favorites right now to win the NBA Central Division in head coach Tom Thibodeau’s first season. If they made this ‘Melo deal, I believe this team becomes a threat to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy again. Get the deal done!

    • customer #56c from the 999 area code

      The loss of Noah’s presence in the post and what passes for Deng’s (you call this a loss??) contributions would be more than outgained by Anthony in the #3 slot. The hole left by Noah’s departure could be addressed by trading our own draft pick or the potential lottery pick from Charlotte in the Thomas trade. At worst we should get at least a serviceable center if not a solid contributor depending on which pick you trade. Unless Gar forman has a jim hendry moment during the negotations, the Bulls should come out of this in fine shape. Providing Kurt Thomas is not the “man in the middle.”
      Can Will Perdue give us 10 minutes a night?

      • bigtime sucker

        i just want to know what the bulls would intend to do if they included noah in the trade. i really really outworded myself yesterday to simply say what i just said. if i knew their entire plan, getting behind it would be a lot easier.

    • AT3374

      Bulls fans want to believe that only kids that had both parents growing up , didn’t get into any trouble and were model citizens are one way to build a champion . Maybe in the 40’s and 50’s but not in today’s NBA .

      I think some Bulls fans want to have the belief that they were there when they got good , kinda like Michael and Scottie when they got good and strated winning but it doesn’t always work that way especially with free agency the way it is .

      Teams don’t always stay the same year in and year out .

      I for one would love to have Melo here cause you will need some superstar like scoring when Booze eventually goes down this year and we don’t know what kinda offense is being run or even if that vaunted BOS Thibedou DEF can be run with these guys .

      Noah is not Bill Russell people !!! This city is SOOOOOOOO desperate for real stars they make them outta peopel who don’t deserve that kind of praise i.e Luol Deng .

      Get Melo here with this team and all will be forgive GARPAX , if not it’s going to be a long season that doesn’t get you to the “big ” game against the Lake Show

    • meesohawnee

      ab ..maybe its because they were gamed by the media to play the lucy/linus kick the football game by the media in the summer and just dont want to hear about it till someone is here? If when hes here fine by me. After lebrongate i have no use for kicking the can on another maybe,could be, might be.
      Chicago JB your first post. Right on.well done !! dan is in his own little world of your all morons and hes great. Wouldnt you have the god syndrome if your voice could be heard around the world.? He is an intelligent dude but its always said its not what ya say its how ya say it right?. Oh and speaking of intelligence of DB.. i beg to ask councel Bernstein an off sports thought. Im reading the WSJ yesterday and im seeing another WMT lawsuit. Another “vigorously” defend…Tell me is there any other way a law firm goes to court? Do they ever “casually ” defend? Anyone out there know of any other adjectives lawfirms use to describe the effort in the courtroom?

    • 2nd Half Adjustments

      Bulls fans have. Dumb ass Jordan fans haven’t. Different.

  • Tony

    Fans’ perceptions create the rivalries as much as anything, and to the fans, this rivalry is still very much alive. Sure, the NFL is more “global” but how does that de-value a rivalry between division opponents who play each other twice a year and whose fanbases despise each other?
    Are you making the case that to the PLAYERS the rivalry isn’t what it used to be? Fine, agreed. But if I’m a running back from Tampa and I’m recruited to Oklahoma, I probably don’t have a deep-seeded hatred for Oklahoma State either. The atmosphere, the hype and the history of that matchup is what define it as a rivalry.
    Are you making the case that to the LEAGUE it is dead? I’ll agree slightly. If team x and team y meet in week 13 and they’re both 11-1 the league doesn’t care if there is any history or link between the teams whatsoever. However, I’d bet league officials still see value (yes, meaning dollars) in the Bears/Packers rivalry – they put the game on Monday Night Football despite the fact all indications were this might be a blowout when the schedule was made. To a degree, I’ll give you that in the more global NFL when people around the world have access to
    The fans buy the stuff that the advertisers sell and the advertisers pay the money that eventually ends up in the NFL’s hands at the rate of billions of dollars a year. So yes, the fans still make the NFL machine go and it’s their perception of the rivalry that matters. Of course While I will go to my grave fighting the whole “2-14…” argument, I still find games against the Packers to include something very special. In some ways it may be intangible and in the grand scheme of trying to win a title it might not mean much either, but the importance of a game against the Packers is still very much alive and well to the fans.

  • BearsFaninHoustonTX

    ABSHARK…please don’t fuel basketball talk today…I fell asleep yesterday listening to B and B….so bad that the letters G and H are embedded in my forehead…LOL

    I look forward to the Bears – Packer games all the time, but frankly all the games in the Black and Blue division are huge for us…don’t worry about Farve playing the Bears…that old cry baby will find a way to exit by then….the “boo boo” chatter is starting on how he will exit…

  • Jerry Tagge

    Well put Dan. A long time Packer fan who listens to your show regularly from Milwaukee, I really appreciate your thinking man’s approach and observations on the new realities of the NFL (and every other league). Of course you can and should root for your team, but at some point you have to be objective about their current possibilities and stop desperately clinging to past glory or perceived injustices; It’s wasted energy to revisit Charles Martin, or the questionable timing of Doug Plank for that matter, and today’s players haven’t a clue nor care about either of them. Packers/Bears, Bears/Vikings, Vikings/Packers (and someday maybe the Lions) all are meaningful conference games with a little more weight for playoff tie breaking, but nothing more.

  • 2nd Half Adjustments

    I have to say, I hate the Vikings more than I hate the Packers.

    • bigtime sucker

      when it comes to the rivarly i agree with dan about the changing of the NFL cultrue being a huge part of that, that and the two teams lately haven’t dominated each other lately, although the packers have edged slightly in the past two to three years, but it’s been kinda close. Let me for those who think it’s still a HUGE RIVARLY, ask you some questions

      Will Lovie Smith put a huge bag of crap in the Packer’s locker room before the game this week?

      will if clay matthews gets free and cutler gets rid of the ball and you can count one one thousand two one thousand, will clay pick up cutler and slam him to the ground intentionally?

      if the bears or packers are ahead by 20 points in the 4th quarter, will either coach put a sloppy 320 pound lineman in the backfield to score a touch down?

      • bigtime sucker

        will bears fans throw batteries or whatever at the packers?

        will there be a pre game fight?

        will there be a post game fight in lieu of the now famous prayer circle at the 50 yrd line?
        if the answer to any of those questions is yes, rivarly means what it used to, but i think you all know the answer to all is no, so make your own conclusions

  • John Lennon's ghost

    Bernstein, you must be daft. This game is bigger than Jesus. Trust me, I’m in the other ballpark now.

    • bigtime sucker

      speaking of rivarlies

      my favorite all time is bulls/pistons of the 80’s early 90’s. and bulls knicks of the mid 90’s

      cubs cardinals is another one of those things where if both teams are out of it, noone cares, believe me i live right in the epicenter of it all, in central il where cubs and cardinals fans collide(there are many of both, ironically, EXTREMLY LITTLE love for the whitesox) and nobody cares about this series that’s going on now. usually in the office there is chatter and smack talk but not this weekend.

      i don’t understand why Illini football fans choose michigan to be their rival. one team is historically good and the other isn’t

      i do like the illini indiana basketball rivarly, that one is fun to watch.

      i may be a meatball but my favorite college hoops rivarly is UNC Duke, especially in the mid 90’s to mid 00’s, that rivarly produced wonderfully entertaining basketball games, even for college hoops

      and for what it’s worth, the florida georgia rivarly maybe the best in college football, not neccessarily on the field, but MAN O MAN, what a party outside, and the those two schools are homes to some of the best tail in the country

  • LakeCountyIL

    I disagree. This may be just because I live so close to enemy territory, but I believe this rivalry is very prevalant. It isn’t only the fans that have fun in this game, the players do, too. And if the Bears and Packers are the two teams competing for the division this year, it is hard to argue that this game doesn’t matter any more than the others.

    • bigtime sucker

      your key words are competing for the division lake county. OF COURSE the game is huge when the teams are competing for the division, dan is clearly and i agree with him, talking about the numbnuts who say things like, “if we only win two games this year, let them be against the packers, as long as we do that it’s a good year”
      those are the same numbnuts who say, “i don’t care if we win or lose as long as the other team remembers that they played the bears” in reference to physical aggressive defense. ULTIMATLY the goal is wins and titles. if the packers get in our way, we should run them over just like we should the lions vikings, seahawks, patriots, miami, giants, jets, dolphins, eagles, redskins, cowboys, and bills and any team we meet

      but if the bears suck, beating the packers doesn’t change the fact that the season sucked, not even a little bit

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