Best moments in Bears-Packers rivalry

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Chicago Bears coach George Halas (R) and Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi (L), Chicago, IL 11/12/1961 (Photo by Lee Balterman/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)

CHICAGO — It all starts up again today.

The Chicago Bears open their 2015 campaign at noon today from Soldier Field. And if that weren’t enough to get NFL and Bears fans psyched up — they’ve been more than half a year away from football, after all — there is added incentive for the enthusiasm.

Today’s game will feature the Bears’ most bitter rivals — and the NFL’s oldest rivalry — as the Green Bay Packers head to the Windy City … and enemy territory.

Many media outlets are predicting a down season for the Bears (USA Today picked them to finish last in the NFL at 3-13), and Chicago has had an abysmal lack of success against Green Bay in recent years (quarterback Jay Cutler is a career 1-11 against the Packers) but the Monsters of the Midway will look to stun their critics beginning tomorrow — and add the newest chapter into one of sports’ best rivalries.

So with that, here’s a look back — in chronological order — of some of the best moments (from both sides) in this historic head-to-head matchup.

— Dec. 14, 1941 – Bears 33, Packers 14

The Bears and Packers went up against each other in the teams’ first-ever playoff matchup. With identical records at 10-1-0, the two met at Wrigley Field in Chicago. The Bears rolled over the Packers, scoring 30 unanswered points en route to a 33-14 win. The Bears would later win the NFL Championship over the New York Giants. It was the teams’ last playoff matchup until 2011.

— Dec. 7, 1980 – Bears 61, Packers 7

The Bears dominated the Packers, handing their rivals the second-worst defeat in Green Bay’s history. Walter Payton rushed for 130 yards and three touchdowns, and the Bears’ lopsided victory left their opponents fuming — some bitter that the Bears had run up the score.  Said Bears offensive lineman Dan Jiggetts after the game: “Were we trying to rub it in? Absolutely. We wanted 70 points.”

— Oct. 21, 1985 – Bears 23, Packers 7

The Chicago Bears gave a preview to what would be one of the more iconic Super Bowl plays when the offense trotted out defensive tackle William “Refrigerator” Perry in a goal line situation during a regular-season game against the Packers. Perry scored a touchdown in the 23-7 victory, just as he would later do in the Super Bowl victory against the New England Patriots, capping off a dominant season for Chicago.

— Nov. 23, 1986 – Bears 12, Packers 10 

Though the Bears won the game, their hopes of repeating as Super Bowl champs fizzled after Green Bay defensive back Charles Martin slammed Bears quarterback Jim McMahon to the turf, injuring McMahon’s already-ailing shoulder. McMahon would miss the rest of the season. Martin was ejected and suspended two games for the late hit.

— Nov. 12, 1995 – Packers 35, Bears 28

In a highly anticipated regular-season matchup, the Bears and Packers went into the game with first place in the division on the line. Packers quarterback Brett Favre, who was unsure to start the game due to a bad ankle, did indeed end up starting the game — and dominated Chicago for 336 yards passing and a career-high five touchdowns. Bears quarterback Eric Kramer put together a good performance in his own right, but the game ended after a pass by Kramer into the end zone fell incomplete on the game’s final play. It was the 150th matchup between the two teams.

— Nov. 7, 1999 – Bears 14, Packers 13

Chicago was playing with heavy hearts in the first game since the passing of Bears legend Walter Payton. The Bears won the game before a stunned Lambeau Field after a chip-shot field goal attempt by Packers kicker Ryan Longwell was blocked in the final seconds. The victory was the Bears’ first over the Packers since 1993.

— Dec. 22, 2008 – Bears 20, Packers 17

It was at the time the coldest game in Soldier Field history. With the Bears on the verge of playoff elimination, Chicago went down early 14-3 after the first half. But the team rallied back, and though it looked like the Packers were about to have a game-winning drive, a blocked Mason Crosby field goal attempt by Alex Brown sent the game to overtime. Chicago ended up winning the game on a 38-yard field goal by Robbie Gould, keeping the Bears’ postseason hopes alive.

— Jan. 23, 2011 – Packers 21, Bears 14

Despite the teams’ historic rivalry, the Bears and Packers had not met in a playoff game since 1941. That was until the 2011 NFC Championship Game in Chicago. The Packers got out to an early 14-0 lead on the road — and making things worse was Bears quarterback Jay Cutler leaving the game with an injury in the second quarter. Though backup Caleb Hanie did throw a touchdown, the Packers ultimately got a dagger interception against Chicago’s second-stringer late in the game to put the contest away, when B.J. Raji returned the pick back for a touchdown with a little more than six minutes left. Green Bay went on to win the Super Bowl that year over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

— Dec. 29, 2013 – Packers 33, Bears 28.

Sorry, Bears fans. This one hurts, we know. Clinging to a 28-27 lead in the final minute of a Week 17 matchup — one that would ultimately determine the division championship and a trip to the playoffs — the Bears looked to have Green Bay on the ropes. But on 4th and 8, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers escaped a rush by Julius Peppers, floating it up to a wide-open Randall Cobb for a go-ahead score with 38 seconds left. A last-ditch effort by Cutler and the Bears fell incomplete, and the Packers were headed to the playoffs. Thankfully for Chicagoans, the Packers got their own hearts broken in the postseason on a last-second field goal by the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field.