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Bears Sat Jan 22 2011

Countdown to Liftoff: Bears-Packers

bears lion.jpgPhoto by Brian Lauvray

The lions at the Art Institute of Chicago are at it again. After dressing up for the Sexy Rexy Super Bowl run four years ago and the Stanley Cup Finals last year, the 118-year-old guardians are wearing Bears colors once more in celebration of Sunday's city-shaking matchup with the Packers in the NFC Championship Game (FOX, 2 p.m.).

Brian Lauvray has all the incisive analysis you'll need for, you know, the actual football stuff, but you don't have to know a bubble screen from a zone blitz to enjoy this one.

gb sucks.jpgYour best bet for pregame insanity might be the Fifty/50 (2047 W. Division) because they'll have a giant fire-breathing bear cake and free "Green Bay Sucks" T-shirts (right):

The four-foot long and two-foot high specialty cake will feature a giant bear - clad in a Chicago Bears jersey - tearing apart a wheel of cheese (to represent the Packers) and the bear will also shoot real fire out of its mouth. The cake will be on display at The Fifty/50 during the Bears v Packers game, and the cake will be cut and given out to patrons for free during halftime.

Green Bay can't spell:

gb error.jpg

ESPN senior writer (and Chicago native) Wayne Drehs tells the stories of the fans who bring this rivalry to life, including Matt Bowen, a childhood Bears fan who grew up to play for the Packers:

"To put into context what it all means, to understand what makes this different from Yankees-Red Sox, Michigan-Ohio State or Alabama-Auburn, you have to hear the stories. Stories from people like Bowen, who still can't believe how he ended up outside the team hotel wearing just a towel that night [before a Bears-Packers game] in 2002. Or from announcer Wayne Larrivee, whose voice was the soundtrack for 14 Bears seasons -- including the famed '85 campaign -- but now spreads the Packers gospel through Wisconsin. You have to understand the role war played the only other time these two teams met in the postseason, in 1941, and visit places like The Brat Stop, the hole-in-the-wall tourist trap five miles from the Illinois-Wisconsin border that features an 8-foot bear hanging in effigy above the main entrance. These are the people, the places and the stories that make this rivalry what it is: one of the best in all of sports."

Another Chicago guy, Michael Wilbon, takes a more personal angle, proudly owning his love for the Bears despite his grudging respect for the Pack:

Even now, there's nothing green and gold in my closet, no green and gold in my entire house that I can think of. Those colors, to anybody who grew up in the Midwest, belong to the Green Bay Packers. And as a Chicago kid, born and raised, I learned early on to despise the Packers and everything associated with them. It was pretty easy to hate them when I began following pro football as a little kid in the mid-to-late 1960s because the Chicago Bears were in the midst of a barren period of 16 years out of the playoffs while the Packers were winning everything in sight, including the first two Super Bowls. And so it went for close to 30 years, until, as a sportswriter, I actually began to encounter real-life Green Bay Packers.

And some nonsensical food-related data: Chicago football fans love dips for chips or veggies (27 percent) and chicken wings (18 percent), according to a national online survey of adults 25 and over "who will have some level of involvement in the preparation of a Super Bowl snack." Chicagoans also led the nation in sausage/kielbasa fandom, though the Jewel-Osco press release cruelly withheld exact figures.

If that's not enough to get you fired up, here's footage of two 900-pound grizzly bears tearing apart Packers-related things:

Brian L. / January 22, 2011 11:49 AM

I'm fairly certain, no matter what the company line is, that misspelling was not accidental. That's called gamesmanship and, well, nicely done gamesmanship at that. Front page, above the fold, typo, "We don't care how your city is spelled." Clever.

Chris Taus / January 23, 2011 8:47 PM

Wow. You guys are all kinds of negative. He’s a guy who was an afterthought even for GB, comes back from injury, and helps the Packers get to the NFC Championship. He’s pretty good, and he wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near the field.

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