Musings with Rich: Packers versus Bears
By Rich Palzewic
GREEN BAY – At least for another game, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers still owns the Chicago Bears.
Spurred on by a raucous and rambunctious crowd, the Packers defeated the Bears 45-30 Dec. 12 in the two teams’ 204th overall meeting, dating back to Nov. 27, 1921.
Again, Green Bay swept the season series and has now won six straight games in the rivalry.
As the sports editor of The Press Times, I was lucky enough to be on the sidelines snapping photos for this storied rivalry.
Looking back in my files, this was my second Packers-Bears game.
I also attended the Dec. 15, 2019, showdown, a 21-13 Green Bay victory.
I remember that game being much colder than this past Sunday’s game – I could see the breaths of the players every time they exhaled.
The Press Times is beginning to make a name for itself, I believe.
Since attending my first contest in 2017 with a cheap lens, we (I guess I should say I) are becoming regulars on the sidelines.
We are definitely a (hyper) local company, so it makes sense we’d be invited to the games.
We are six-for-six in credential requests this season.
To recap, I usually pick up my parking pass and credentials a few days before the game in the Lambeau Field Atrium.
After going through security, I get inside the stadium a few hours before kickoff and set up shop in one of the media rooms.
After some complimentary food from the Packers, I pick up my ugly brown National Football League vest and view pregame warm-ups.
I try to move around some, but my favorite spots are in the end zones.
I like watching the offensive team – whoever it may be – coming toward me.
Oftentimes, plays happen right in front of me, and my sister, who compares watching a Packers’ game to “Where’s Waldo?” sends me text messages during the game saying, “I just saw your pink hat!”
My sister, Jessy, who calls me the “Pink Flamingo,” also tells me I shouldn’t wear the pink hat anymore because it distracts her from the real reason she’s watching the game.
Against the Bears, she sent me a video of yours truly (me) almost getting steamrolled by Packers wide receiver Davante Adams in the end zone.
I hung in there as long as I could until Adams became REALLY big in my lens, then I bailed.
Watching the replay, he sidestepped me by mere feet.
I’ve never been run over, and I don’t want to be, but I’ve come close.
I don’t think that would be the least bit fun – ending up on a stretcher going to the hospital.
During the COVID-19 season in 2020 with no fans in attendance, I could hear almost every word the players would say – it was fun and funny.
Now with 78,000 screaming fans, that’s one thing I miss – I can’t hear much of anything the players say, despite being on the field close to the action.
What I did hear when the Bears entered the field before the game were some of the loudest “boos” ever.
That pretty much sums up the hatred (I know that’s a strong word) the teams have for one another – it makes for an exciting game.
There were also plenty of Chicago fans in attendance.
It’s hard to put a number on it, but I could hear lots of noise when the Bears made a good play.
In a wild second quarter where 45 combined points were scored, Chicago took a 27-21 lead into intermission.
The second half belonged to Green Bay, which outscored the Bears 24-3 on its way to a 10-3 record.
Playing with a fractured toe, Rodgers threw for 341 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions.
Included in his total, Rodgers tossed his 61st career touchdown pass against the Bears – passing former Packers quarterback Brett Favre in the process.
Two months after Rodgers celebrated a touchdown at Soldier Field by screaming “I still own you” to fans in the stands, he improved his career record against the Bears to 23-5.
After backup quarterback Kurt Benkert got into the box score by taking two kneel-downs to end the game, players from both sides exchanged pleasantries at midfield and began exiting the stadium.
That’s another thing I miss – doing my best Usain Bolt impersonation after the game and rushing the field to get close-up shots – we can no longer do that.
I guess, because of COVID-19, the Packers changed their protocols for last season and this one.
I don’t like it, so I’m hoping it’s back to normal next season.
After gladly giving back my brown vest, I downloaded my photos and began editing them.
I’ve learned trying to leave the Lambeau Field area within an hour after the end of the game is not too productive, so by the time I left at 11:30 p.m., things had drastically cleared out, and I was home 10 minutes later.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
Sports editor’s note: To read last week’s Musings with Rich, CLICK HERE.