Larrivee: 'Healthy respect' between Packers, Bears in NFL's oldest rivalry
Packers WR Randall Cobb. Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Sometimes, familiarity breeds contempt, and the history of the Green Bay Packers-Chicago Bears rivalry has had plenty of it. (See George Halas, Forrest Gregg and Charles Martin.)
However, there's not as much of that rancor and anger now between the two antagonists.
"The players have a healthy respect for each other," said 620WTMJ's "Voice of the Packers," Wayne Larrivee. He's seen 28 years of the rivalry, 14 each as radio voices of the Bears, then the Packers.
"In recent years, the 'Rodgers' group and the 'Urlacher' group, they competed hard against one another, but they had a healthy respect for each other."
The best example of that spirit came in the 2010 NFC Championship Game, when the squads played in the most important of the rivalry's 206 regular, preseason and postseason meetings.
The Packers won a hard-fought 21-14 thriller in Chicago.
They're also a favorite to win the latest tussle in this ancient rivalry, particularly thanks to an injury-riddled defense that makes the "Monsters of the Midway" not seem so monstrous.
"Defensively, they're suffering. You losing the kind of talent they have up front, especially Briggs. They've lost two-thirds of their linebacking corps."
"They also lost both of their starting defensive tackles. What I see is a defense that's undersized up front, and people are bulldozing them in the ground game."