With the help of an improbable late-game bomb from Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson the Green Bay Packers defeated the Chicago Bears for the second time in 2016. There are short-term implications of this game, including the Packers keeping their postseason hopes alive. But the long-term implications may be more interesting. The Packers and Bears rivalry goes back to the 1920’s and the two teams have met nearly 200 times. With their 12-18-16 win at Soldier Field the Packers have evened the all-time record between the two teams at 94-94 (and 6 ties). The Packers had not led the rivalry since 1932.
Here is the entire rivalry plotted out through time, with the cumulative wins for each team:
The Bears were dominant in the 40s and 50s, while the Packers enjoyed more success in the 70s. The 80s, of course, included some very good years for the Bears. When Brett Favre took over the starting quarterback job for the Packers in 1992 his team was 22 wins behind the Bears in the head-to-head rivalry, which was the largest difference between the two in history. The Favre-era (1992-2007) in Green Bay cut that deficit in half in 15 years. The Aaron Rodgers-era (2008-present) has closed the rest of the gap.
And so here we sit today knotted at 94 wins each for the two historic franchises. Next season the Packers will have a chance to lead the rivalry for the first time in 85 years.