As many predicted, the Packers took care of business Sunday against the Bears, handing them a 27-17 defeat in the two rivals first meeting since the NFC Championship game this past January. The game had revenge written all over it for the Bears, and maybe even a slight trap game feeling for the Packers, and while it was an entertaining game to watch, it was not nearly as entertaining as what happened after the game.
Chicago sports radio is notorious for its high energy-high emotion character. Fueled by hosts who live and die by every win, the folks at ESPN Chicago and 670 The Score have mastered the art of post game drama, and Sunday was no exception.
Before the game had begun, there was an ever growing sentiment that Mike Martz had to go as Offensive Coordinator for the Bears, that he was still trying to run an offense like it was the 1999 Rams, only Jay Cutler is no Kurt Warner, and as hard as Matt Forte tries to be Marshall Faulk, he will not be able to duplicate the success Faulk had due to an offensive line that a sixth grade team would be proud of. Martz even went to far as to say blame me for the way the Bears offense played agaisnt Atlanta the previous week, and before the game against the Packers was over, I had predicted the headlines Monday would be a repeat.
It didn’t even take until the next day for this to begin.
Tuning into The Score, I listened to caller after caller after caller call for the firing of Martz, removing Lovie Smith as coach, and questioning GM Jerry Angelo as to whether they were the right people to run this team. As a Packer fan listening to this, it was pure pleasure to hear the fans tee off on their team. Upset is an understatement, and I had to wonder if there was a group with torches and pitchforks heading over to Halas Hall to voice their opinion about the latest defeat for the Bears.
This got me thinking about the differences in fan bases for the two teams. Speaking in extreme generalities, it can safely be said that Packers fans are a thinking bunch, while Bears fans are pure reactionary. Packers fans show emotion before, during, and after a game, yet for the most part take the time to have facts, stats, and a sense of reason when trying to make a point about a game, play, personnel move, etc. We have been called the smartest fans in the NFL for a reason, and continue to do so on a regular basis.
Bears fans are raw emotion. Always have been, always will be. They tend to show little in the smarts department when it comes to football savvy, and simply make statements with nothing behind the statement. Calling for the firing of a coach because his offense is “no good” is a fairly common occurrence on Chicago radio, and if I had a nickel for every time I heard a blanket statement like this one, I could buy a very nice lunch for myself in a short period of time.
As fans, we have a responsibility to the teams we support to voice our opinions. That’s why we’re fans, AKA fanatics. The difference is Packers fans can step back and rationalize, while Bears fans just want everyone fired every time something does not go their way. Consider that this is the same fan base who called for Smith to be fired last season, the year they went to the NFC Championship Game, but not after 2007, the year after they went to the Super Bowl. One of the reasons: it would disrupt chemistry. Make sense to you? I’ve given up trying to understand.
In fairness, not all Bears fans freak out after every loss, much the same as not all Packers fans are a level headed bunch. Every fan base has their share of hot heads and thinkers. It just seems that the games between these two teams bring out the best, and worst, on both sides, and it is almost a certainty that if the Packers had lost Sunday, the Green Bay/Milwaukee radio markets would have been filled with fans voicing their opinions. I just have to wonder how many would be calling for McCarthy and Thompson to be fired after one game.
The differences in fans is such a huge part of what makes this rivalry great. It has lasted 90 years, and with such differences in fans, it is certain to last another 90.
Filed Under: John Rehor