People don’t need to be told. Chicago Bears history, at least in the past 30 years has been painful. Especially in regards to their battles with the hated Green Bay Packers. Thanks to the astonishing good fortune of landing Brett Favre and then Aaron Rodgers over the course of that time period, the Bears have had a miserable time against their rivals.
Nowhere has that been clearer than in win-or-die games. These are games where one or the other team has a chance to knock the other out of playoff contention. It’s actually been surprising how often the Bears have had such an opportunity to do so. In fact, since 2000, there have been no fewer than five instances where Chicago could’ve delivered killing strike.
Yet each and every time, the Packers found a way to win. This is something the Bears have been trying to solve for years. Hopes are high they can finally overcome that mountain on Sunday, but to do so they cannot and should not forget all the pain they’ve endured to reach this moment.
Chicago Bears history littered with failed KOs against Packers
The Packers got off to a terrible start in 2003 and had their backs to the wall going into this game. They’d just lost to the Detroit Lions the week before, putting their record at 6-6. Another defeat would knock them out of playoff contention for the third time in five years. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, the Bears offense wasn’t up to the task. They turned the ball over five times and the Packers ran away with it 34-21, winning the NFC North.
Another year, another opportunity. Once again the Packers overcame a difficult lull during their season to have a shot at winning the division in the season finale. This time though they’d have to do it at Soldier Field. Then again it wouldn’t have mattered either way. The Bears were outmatched before even taking the field due to their atrocious situation at quarterback with guys like Craig Krenzel and Jonathan Quinn on the depth chart. They predictably lost 31-14.
This year was probably the most painful because the Bears had not one but two chances to send the Packers home and failed both times. The first came in the season finale. Green Bay had to win to make the playoffs. Chicago, to their credit, had little to play for but gave it a hard effort for 60 minutes. The Packers won 10-3. Then they met again in the NFC championship, where an injury to Jay Cutler and a catastrophic pick-six by his backup Caleb Hanie led to a 21-14 Green Bay win.
Some will argue this game was by far the most painful. Both teams had reached the season finale knowing a win gives them the division title. The Bears had home field and had beaten the Packers earlier that year. They clung to a 28-27 lead and had Green Bay dead to rights on 4th down out of field goal range. One more stop would’ve ended it. Then Aaron Rodgers hit Randall Cobb for a 48-yard touchdown, shattering the hearts of fans everywhere.
This one is sort of forgotten because of how bad a season the Bears had, going 3-13. However, they did have a prime chance to ruin the Packers’ season. It was a December game and Green Bay was coming in at 7-6. They needed to win out to make the playoffs so a loss would doom them for that year. It was a thrilling game with the two teams combining for 57 points. Once again though it was Rodgers with a long bomb in the final moments, in this case a 60-yard strike to Jordy Nelson, that set up a Packers victory.
This is the reality the Bears face. One reason they haven’t won a championship for so long is that they can deliver the knockout blow to their biggest rival when it matters. This Sunday represents their latest chance. A win gives them the division crown and all but ends the Packers’ playoff hopes. If they fancy themselves a true winning team, they need to finally change history.