Thursday, January 27, 2011
Behind The Scoreboard
Big game set
This was the weekend before the weekend which all football fans eagerly await. They have summarily told themselves that their teams which did not make it would be back next season (at least that is what one fan told himself). But if you could not find your favorite among the four finishers, you might have consoled yourself by bathing in history (as one fan did). And there is perhaps no more colorful history than that which surrounds the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers.
The competitive association dates back 90 years plus. If that isn’t staggering enough, then consider that the two have met 181 times (no, my children, I didn’t witness all of them), with Bears winning 92 of those and drawing six. The last time the two met in a title game was 1941. Both teams can boast legendary coaches and each has a trophy named for him. The George Halas trophy, presented to the NFC, honors the Bears’ coach of yesteryear, tenderly called “Papa Bear;” and the Vince Lombardi trophy, given to the Super Bowl winner, is named for the Packers’ coach who was around for many of those meetings. Papa Bear had one more title (six) than Lombardi (five).
The two were poised again on Sunday to make another Super Bowl run. Chicago won its last SB title in 1985 (under Mike Ditka) and Green Bay won last in 1996 when Mississippi favorite son (Brett Favre) was calling the signals. This was the third meeting this season and each had won one. There was so much pre-game publicity and a lot whirled around the Bears’ on field leadership. On any day for the past season, the Chicago fan base has asked for the heads of Jerry Angelo (general manager) and Lovie Smith (head coach).
Despite a 14-0 halftime score, it was still a game worthy of the Bear-Pack tradition. The Bears almost came back even though they had to use three quarterbacks. Jay Cutler didn’t return for the second half. Caleb Hanie, third in line, did a good job but not enough. One of the real highlights came when 330 lb.-plus B.J. Raji grabbed a Chicago pass out of the air and scored for the Pack.
Raji had said earlier the Bears had the “Fridge” and he was the “Freezer.”
I am sure that the Jets’ faithful were downtrodden when they failed to defeat their third Super Bowl winning quarterback in this playoff drive. They had sent Tom Brady and Peyton Manning home on consecutive weekends. One Patriot player, Deion Branch, had stated on his blog that the Jets had their “Super Bowl” when they beat New England. Now it will be the Pack versus the Steelmen. That also should be one for the books.
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