Aaron Rodgers Day
I’m not sure how to celebrate Aaron Rodgers’ Day. One blogger recommended taking the day off work, telling the boss it’s a religious holiday, and then putting on the Rodgers jersey and getting “rip-roaring drunk” until all is forgotten, except Aaron Rodgers.
Another way would be to watch highlights from Rodgers’ MVP 2011 season on YouTube. Or to watch his recent appearance on 60 minutes, best known for depicting him as a sensitive guy. Some are donating $12 to charity, especially the Rodgers-supported MACC fund.
Or we could shift our focus to beating the Bears on Sunday. That would be a celebration. It would be the second consecutive year sweeping, and the sixth consecutive win against our rivals. A win on Sunday would improve the Packers’ record against the Bears to 88-92-6, five games shy of taking the lead in the rivalry for the first time since 1932.
In 1933, the Packers sought their 4th consecutive league title, but fell to the Bears at Wrigley Field, the same stadium where two months prior Babe Ruth called his shot in the World Series. With the win, the Bears tied the score between the two teams at 11-11-5. The following year they took the lead, and they have held it ever since. Two times they have led by 24 games.
The Packers have gained significant ground three times. The first was in the sixties and early seventies, during a resurgence led by Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr. The Packers not only won 5 championships in 7 years under Lombardi, they beat the Bears repeatedly and with such scores as 41-13, 24-0, 49-0, and 17-3.
The second surge began in 1992, after a post-Lombardi two-decade Packer draught. The Packers hired Mike Holmgren to his first coaching position and he started off with a losing streak. But still early in the season, after an injury to “Magic Man” Don Majkowski, Brett Favre filled in and led the team to its first win of the season, a thrilling come-from-behind victory agains the Bengals. Later that year, Favre beat the Bears in Chicago, 17-3, and started a streak against our rivals of 21 wins in 25 games.
The Packers have had the edge ever since, excepting a short streak just after the Bears hired head coach Lovie Smith in 2004. Upon hire, Smith stated that one of his primary goals was to beat the Packers. He led his team to a good start, winning 5 out of 6 through 2008.
But Mike McCarthy has reestablished the Packers’ momentum. His 31-9 record against NFC North opponents includes a 9-5 record against the Bears. On Sunday, the Packers have a chance to improve the current streak to 8 wins in the most recent 9 games.
Nothing says Aaron Rodgers like a Green Bay Packer victory. Win the NFC crown, guarantee a home playoff game, stretch the streak to six games against the Bears, close the all-time gap with our rivals to within four games of a tie. Having just turned 29 on December 2, Rodgers has years of football to come. He may well be the guy who will put the Pack on top again.
So let’s be sure to get rip-roaring drunk not just today, but also on Sunday, looking down on Soldier Field as number 12 takes the helm.