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CHGO Newsletter: The Bears blow an unblowable lead

Kevin Kaduk Avatar
December 5, 2022

Good morning, Chicago.

And welcome to a dark and cold world in which the Green Bay Packers are the NFL’s all-time winningest franchise.

The Packers took solo possession of the title with Sunday’s 28-19 win over the Bears. Green Bay now has 787 all-time regular season wins. The Bears have 786.

It’s the first time since freakin’ 1921 that a team other than the Bears has held the honor.

Look, I know that it’s largely a silly record. The Packers and Bears sitting at the top of the wins list for decades is partly a product of them being around for much longer than almost any other team not named the Cardinals.

Yet the spot was still something for fans of the charter franchise to be proud of.

And the Bears losing it is perhaps the clearest proof of how badly the McCaskey family has failed in almost 40 years of owning the team.

Let me give you some numbers that will have you seeing red by the end:

• The Bears held a 44-game lead over the second-place Packers at the start of the 1984 season, the first year of Virginia McCaskey’s ownership following the death of her father George Halas in October 1983.

• By the end of the 1991 season, that lead had grown to 85 games following one of the best periods in Bears history and one of the worst for the Packers. Chicago opened an 81-57-6 edge in the teams’ all-time series as well.

• But Brett Favre won 11 of his first 13 games against the Bears, including a run of 10 straight wins. By the end of the 2000 season, Green Bay had whittled the deficit back to 49 games.

• The Lovie Smith era slowed things down a little and the Bears still held a 40-game lead by the end of the 2010 season.

But you know the end of the story. The Packers won the only playoff meeting between the two teams at the end of that year and Aaron Rodgers blossomed into his full form for the 2010s while the Bears shriveled on George McCaskey’s watch.

The 24-game lead in the all-time series? It melted into a 10-game deficit in just over 30 years (Green Bay leads 105-95-6 after Sunday’s win).

As for the Bears’ last bragging right, the Packers now hold it as their own this morning.

Perhaps brighter days are ahead.

Perhaps Justin Fields will turn out to be a long-term star while the Packers see their 30-year run of uninterrupted Hall of Fame quarterback play come to an end.

Perhaps the Bears take the mark back and start re-establishing the lead.

But it really never should have come to this. Losing an 85-game lead that quickly took a special kind of bad leadership but the McCaskey family sure did stick the landing.

The Week Ahead

• The Bulls are back home on Wednesday from a 2-4 road trip that dropped their record to 9-14. Zach LaVine scored 41 in Sacramento last night but Will Gottlieb says that shouldn’t distract you from the fact the Bulls are bad.

• The Blackhawks just split a trip to New York, beating the Rangers and losing to the Islanders despite a good goaltending performance. They play in New Jersey on Tuesday night.

• Finally, the Cubs and White Sox have reached San Diego for the Winter Meetings. CHGO’s Ryan Herrera is there. Follow him on Twitter for all the updates.

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