No, Bears-Packers Is Not the Oldest Rivalry in the NFL
Twice each football season, when the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers are set to renew their rivalry, the most played in football, announcers and commentators will gush about the renewal of the "oldest rivalry in the NFL." The only problem is, it's not.
Not only is Bears-Packers not the oldest rivalry in the league, it's not even the second oldest.
The Bears and Packers first played on November 27, 1921, a game the then-Chicago Staleys won 20-0 in front of 7,000 people at Cubs Park.
The Oldest Rivalry in the NFL
The oldest rivalry, as noted by the Bears themselves, is the Chicago Bears and Chicago, now Arizona, Cardinals. The Bears (Staleys) and Cardinals first played during the 1920 season, in back to back weeks with one game at Normal Field and the next week at Cubs Park.
Do the Bears and Cardinals Really Have a Rivalry?
If you think that the Bears-Cardinals don't really have a rivalry because the Cardinals moved out of Chicago after the 1959 season, ask the late Dennis Green. The Cardinals coach had one of the most famous post-game meltdowns in football after the Cards blew a 20-point half-time lead in a 2006 Monday nighter.
Note - a little NSFW language, but the video is what we thought it was.
Ask the 1986 Bears and Cardinals about a rivalry. The squads got into a bench-clearing battle royale during the third quarter of a pre-season game. The fight delayed the game for 7 minutes and led to multiple ejections.
The Second Oldest Rivalry in the NFL
So who plays in the second oldest rivalry in the league? Again it's the Cardinals and....the Packers. The first match-up between the Cardinals and Packers was on November 20, 1921, a week before the November 27th first-ever Bears-Packers game.
Let's Call the Bears-Packers Rivalry What it Is: The Most Played
Bears-Packers is not the oldest, nor is it the second oldest. The series is the 3rd oldest in the league. It's not the most continually played rivalry either. That honor goes to the Detroit Lions-Packers. The Bears and Packers did not play in the strike-shortened 1982 season, breaking their continual season streak.
So Greg Gumbel, Jim Nantz and every other announcer who calls a football game, just stop it with this Bears-Packers oldest rivalry thing. It's just plain not factual.