Old School Packers: Remembering some notable firsts in the Packers-Bears rivalry

Rick Klauer
Packers News
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Green Bay Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji scores a touchdown on a interception in the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 23, 2011. The victory put the Packers in Super Bowl XLV.

In a rivalry as celebrated as the Packers-Bears – it's the 197th meeting Sunday night – there aren't many first-time anythings left. 

The storied history between the franchises dates to their first meeting in 1921, when the Bears, known as the Chicago Staleys, blanked the Packers, 20-0, with Curly Lambeau as Green Bay's coach. 

Since then, the rivalry has had its share of domination by each side. For the most part, however, the series has remained remarkably balanced in the won/loss column.

To date, the Packers lead the all-time series by a sliver at 96-94-6, with a 1-1 mark in the playoffs.

More recently, however, the Packers have exerted their authority by winning 14 of the last 16 games (including playoffs).

In the spirit of that rivalry and in recognition of the first game of the season Sunday night, here's a look at a few notable firsts for the Packers in their long history with the Bears, with links to the original newspaper accounts:

Sept. 29, 1957: First game at Lambeau Field

City Stadium (renamed Lambeau Field in 1965) was completed just in time for the season-opener against the Bears in 1957. The Packers christened the stadium with a 9-6 victory.

Sept. 27, 1959: Vince Lombardi's first win as coach in Green Bay

The season before, Green Bay had finished 1-10-1 under Ray "Scooter" McLean. In 1959, the Packers went on to finish 7-5 with Vince Lombardi at the helm, and two years later, they would win the first of their five NFL titles. It all started with a victory against the Bears.

Sept. 7, 1980: First game of the season an instant classic as Chester Marcol stuns Bears in OT

On opening day, the Packers held Walter Payton to 65 yards and took the Bears into overtime tied, 6-6. In OT, Chester Marcol's game-winning field goal try was blocked by Alan Page, but the ball bounced right back to Marcol and he ran it in 25 yards for a touchdown. Packers coach Bart Starr called it "the most dramatic win I've ever been part of."

Jan. 23, 2011: First playoff victory over Bears

Despite their long rivalry, there have only been two playoff games between the Packers and Bears. In 2011, the Packers scored their first victory in the postseason against Chicago, and it was big one. On a 20-degree day at Soldier Field, the Packers won, 21-14, in the NFC Championship Game to continue their march through the playoffs, which culminated in a Super Bowl XLV victory.



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