When a rivalry as heated as Packers-Bears meets a game as high-stakes as the NFC championship game, some bad blood is inevitable. Apparently, the excitement of the big matchup is also enough to make one forget to, say, proofread headlines. Three days before the teams square off, Chicago and Green Bay newspapers have it all.
First, the glorious antagonism: Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper filled the hate void for us by breaking out his inner Chicago jingoist, with a piece titled, “No matter what, Green Bay fans can’t change their Green Bayness.” Shots already fired, and that’s before you get to lines like:
Note to Packers fans:
Settle down. Even if your team wins on Sunday, you’ll still be in Green Bay, and we’ll still be in Chicago.
The “city” of Green Bay regards the city of Chicago in much the same way Canada regards the United States, Jennifer Aniston looks at Brad and Angelina and Keith Olbermman tracks Sarah Palin.
One side cares way more about the perceived connection than the other.
And later on:
Not to mention all the other advantages Chicago enjoys over Green Bay, in nearly every category imaginable. (Cue the e-mails from Packers fans telling me we outpace them in drive-by shootings and corruption. Duly noted.)
In our opinion, honestly, it’s not even that strong a column – the Green Bay hate only comes in fits and starts, and Roeper’s bragging about how Chicagoans have so many more teams to root for could just as easily be construed as an edge for Packers fans (wouldn’t it follow that the fewer overall rooting interests you have, the more devoted you are to the one(s) you do have?) – but still: hate! A huge rivalry! For a spot in the Super Bowl!
On the other hand, if a rather prominent graphic from earlier this week in the Green Bay Press-Gazette is any indication, maybe this all-consuming Chicago fixation – the one Roeper finds so endemic to Green Bay – is a myth:
Ouch. Though if the Bears are smart, they’ll use it as motivation; i.e. “Green Bay can’t even be bothered to spell our city’s NAME right?!” In a heated rivalry, hate must be mined from all possible sources. And that’s why we like the misspelling – even if we also have to think that the Press-Gazette would like a do-over.
Just about anything adding to the flavor of rivalries before a big game is a good thing – intentional or not. One side will be joyously gloating come Sunday evening, one will be devastated, and those feelings will linger right on into next season, when the heated rivalry continues apace. Forget whether Chicago or Green Bay is better…what’s better, as a sports fan, than that?