More than animosity, respect defines the NFL
's oldest and best rivalry.
To grasp this fully, you have to go back to one day in 1956 when it wasn't Bears
legend George Halas
coaching against the Packers
. It was Halas coaxing the people of Green Bay on behalf of the home team considered his nemesis.
With the Packers facing the threat of NFL relocation unless city residents approved a new football stadium, Halas boldly sought to keep his field enemies closer to Chicago. Everybody in Wisconsin knew Halas despised the Packers for two Sundays every football season.
But less publicized was the honorable way Halas treated the Packers organization the other 363 days of the year, best illustrated when the Bears founder showed up to push public funding for what is now Lambeau Field.
"While the NFL and other people were telling Green Bay what needed to be done, George Halas went up there and made an impassioned plea about how important the Packers were to the community,'' incoming Bears chairman George McCaskey said.
At that rally in '56, heavily promoted on local radio, Halas preached to locals used to booing his Bears. When voters responded April 3, 1956, by passing the stadium referendum to issue bonds that green-lighted more pro football in Green Bay, Halas received a share of the credit.