The Bears-Packers rivalry started in 1921 with a 20-0 Bears’ victory, and has resulted in 180 regular season matchups. But according to LeRoy Butler, the rivalry changed when Lovie Smith was hired as the Bears’ head coach.
For the fans, the game can mean the difference between a season down the drains or a season worth celebrating. And the players involved are well aware of it’s history and importance.
“It’s one of the oldest rivalries, of course,” former Packers’ safety, Butler said on 670 The Score. “But a lot of it, by being so close makes it a game that you always want to win. And I just remember playing against Dick Jauron, who used to be my secondary coach when I was a rookie, and the intensity of those games was unbelievable.”
LISTEN: LeRoy Butler On 670 The Score
As competitive and bitter as this rivalry has been since it’s inception, the Lovie Smith era publicly added the intensity that the fans have been feeling for close to 90 years.
“It just seemed like [the rivalry] changed when Lovie Smith became the coach,” Butler said. “When he basically mentioned that he wanted to beat Green Bay. I thought it was awesome. I said, ‘now that’s what I’m talking about. Somebody not willing to be just politically correct.’…And I think that adds more fuel to the fire. I think it adds a lot of competitiveness.”
Lovie set his priorities as the Bears’ head coach during his first press conference. He put a huge emphasis on beating the Packers and in the seven seasons under Lovie, the Bears are 8-5 against the Packers, going into Sundays’ game. In the seven seasons before Lovie came Chicago, the Bears were 2-12 against their rivals to the North.