The week has finally arrived
Eight months in the making, the rematch of the millennium is upon us, as the Packers prepare to take on the Bears in their first meeting since the NFC Championship game last January. It is much more than a game-it’s personal, and both sides know it.
To try and describe the mood of Chicago is an exercise in futility if you do not live here. Both Packers fans and Bears fans knew this week was coming. Since January, we all knew it was coming, and it almost seems like it has been ignored until this week. Bears fans did not want to revisit the loss at Soldier Field in the NFCG, while Packers fans reveled in celebrating their Super Bowl win. Despite the fact that the 2011 season has been underway for two games now, it seems like this was the week that everyone was saving their energy for.
That is all about to change.
What is about to transpire in this town is an outpouring of emotion. The Bears fans are bitter over their loss to their most hated rivals, while the Packers fans took extreme pleasure in beating their fiercest rivals to advance to the Super Bowl. Sunday is going to be therapy for both sides-the Bears want revenge, while the Packers seek to remind everyone who has the upper hand in the rivalry to end all rivalries.
The Packers/Bears battles have been somewhat tame for the last 20 years or so. The days of fistfights on the field have been replaced by handshakes by the players. While I am not advocating a return of the Forrest Gregg/Mike Ditka games from the mid to late 80s, I am curious to see how the players, in particular the Bears players, respond to such an emotionally driven game. They have everything to prove, and this time, revenge is a factor.
The Packers must not let emotion affect their game plan. They are heading into a hostile environment, probably more hostile than any other one they will face all season. The Bears fans are angry, and they are going to make sure everyone watching or listening to the game knows how angry they are. Mike McCarthy must make sure his team is focused on the task at hand, knowing that no matter what is said leading up to and during the game, the Packers still hold the upper hand-they have the Lombardi Trophy, and had to beat Chicago to win it. That is something that this game can never change, and both sides will no doubt be reminded of it often for the next 6 days.
Buckle up-this is going to be one heck of a week.
Filed Under: John Rehor