The Daily Illini

Another defeat for Bears on Sunday in one-sided rivalry with Packers

By Mubarak Salami

Growing up, my older brother and I were always very competitive. Due to our love of sports, we frequently played one-on-one pick up basketball games, raced 100 meters and held various contests to compare our athletic abilities. We developed an intense rivalry.

However, I could never beat my brother. He was always one second faster, one step quicker or a little bit bigger. Even when it seemed as though I had a slight upper hand, my brother would simply find a way to come out on top.

I’m sure the Chicago Bears and their fans can perfectly imagine this feeling, especially after this weekend.

The Bears and Packers have one of the most legendary rivalries in all of sports. It has existed for 93 years. The Bears-Packers rivalry has become widely recognized as one of the best because of the immense history behind it. What truly separates the great rivalries from the pedestrian ones is the element of parity between the two opposing sides. This is what makes the games exciting and memorable, when the outcome is up in the air. Each fan base should believe their team has a shot to win the game.

As a Chicagoan and long-time Bears’ fan, I can say I have not felt this way in years. Sadly enough, Sunday’s debacle reaffirmed my beliefs. At least the start was promising. The Bears scored on their first possession, a long 8-minute drive that was capped by 6-yard touchdown pass from Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall.

For an instant, I believed. I thought for just for a moment maybe my distrust of the Bears was wrong. Then, Aaron Rodgers woke me up from my dream. He led the Packers right down the field in just over two minutes for a game-tying score, and there went my hope that perhaps the Bears were back.

Three Rodgers touchdowns, two Cutler interceptions and several Bears’ mishaps later, the game was over. Yet again, the scoreboard read “a lot” to “a little” with Green Bay coming out as the victorious side.

Deep down, as much as it hurts to say, I wasn’t surprised with the outcome.

I mean, why would I be?

The past six years the Packers have absolutely dominated this rivalry, if you can even call it that.

Green Bay has won 11 of the past 14 regular season matchups, and the most recent playoff matchup in 2010, when a Super Bowl berth was on the line.

I guess a small part of me just thought Sunday’s game would be different.

The Bears were coming off two very impressive road victories, including a huge comeback win against the 49ers in San Francisco, a place where they have struggled mightily throughout the years. The Packers were coming off a bad loss against Detroit, in which their high-powered offense looked somewhat vulnerable. Plus it was a home game for the Bears; surely the thousands screaming at Soldier Field must count for something.

Nope, I was wrong. Unequivocally and wholeheartedly mistaken.

After the game, it was quite clear to me. I didn’t just watch the Packers beat the Bears. I watched my older brother beat me. I watched evil triumph over good, well, at least in the eyes of everyone outside the state of Wisconsin.

It wasn’t just the loss; it was the way the Bears lost. Granted, the referees didn’t help the Bears’ cause with numerous questionable calls, but the Bears didn’t help themselves all that much either.

So what now?

Well, hopefully the Bears learn from this defeat moving forward because fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, there is another game to be played against these Packers in Week 10. A chance at redemption and an opportunity to finally bring excitement back to this one-sided rivalry.

Until then all I can do is hope, because I know sometimes it just takes one time, one game to change the complexity of a rivalry.

My older brother learned that lesson too, because even he didn’t win every time.

Mubarak is a senior in LAS. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @justmubar.

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