As a lifelong resident of Chicago, I have a special place in my heart for the rivalry between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.
In short, I hate the Bears.
There is no greater satisfaction I have then watching the Packers beat the Bears. The sense of pride and satisfaction felt after a Packers victory over their hated rivals is something that cannot be measured in words.
So when a certain purveyor of Packers pontification asked me what my first memory of hating the Bears was, I had to stop and think about when this hatred began.
As far back as I can remember, I knew I was a Packers fan. Ever since I was a kid, I knew green and gold were the colors of choice for me. While the rest of my friends were pretending to be the punky QB, I was pretending to be Lynn Dickey. It was awkward, but it was the right thing for me.
The 1980s were tough for Packers fans. The team fell on hard times…..let’s just be honest-they sucked. And while they were stuck in the middle of a two decade suckfest, the Bears had risen to the top of the league. They had a dominating defense, and that is putting it mildly. They also happened to have the best running back of all time, which made their offense tough to stop. Watching them win Super Bowl XX was tough. It was painful.
By 1989, the roles of the teams had switched, at least for one season. The Cardiac Pack captured the imaginations of Packers fans around the globe, offering hope after years of misery. Meanwhile, the Bears were trudging along through the season, although not at the same clip as previous seasons. They were solid, just not dominating.
That changed on November 5, 1989.
For those unfamiliar with Packers/Bears history, this date would go down in history as The Instant Replay Game.
The Bears were winning 13-7, and time was running out. The Magic Man, Don Majkowski, led the Packers down the field in the hopes of scoring a touchdown which would give the Packers the lead. Time was against them. So was history, as the Bears had defeated the Packers the previous eight meetings between them.
And when it seemed that all hope was lost, the incredible happened:
The sentence “After further review, we have a reversal . . . touchdown!” became part of Packers history. Defeating the Bears in the most improbable of ways after years of futility was like pouring salt into an open wound. And although the 1989 season would be a fluke season, the Packers faithful wouldn’t have to wait much longer to begin to close the gap in the all time series.
So how did the Bears respond to this game?
They put an asterisk next to this game in their media guide.
That’s right. A fucking asterisk.
Rather than accept the defeat graciously, the organization chose to silently protest the result for years, using a punctuation mark to stomp their feet and cry like children. Fans complained about this game for years. Even to this day, some will still say “He was over the line!” to me. About a game that took place nearly a quarter century ago.
WAH! WAH! WAH!
It was after this game that dislike grew into hatred. And all because of something as simple as *. Because they’re the Bears. And they suck.