Oldest League Rivarly Kicks off NFL’s 100th Birthday


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100 Years’ Celebration – Packers vs Bears Takeaways

Last night was the start of the NFL’s 100th season. The history of it was celebrated in a way that was not only fitting, but entertaining.

The pregame show was full of memorable moments from the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears rivalry. There was George Wendt reclaiming his role of Mike Ditka in Saturday Night Live’s classic skit of Da Bears, and the announcers dressed in 1920s garb.

The game itself was a throwback as it was a defensive contest from the first snap, which leads us to the top six takeaways from opening day.

In no particular order…

  • The pageantry was in full bloom. Many season openers had John Madden saying opening week should be a celebration and there needed to be bunting or some other type of decoration and entertainment leading up to the games. It took a hundred years, but the NFL finally did it with pop singers and historic clips of Vince Lombardi and George Halas.
  • Someone needs to tell the players preseason is over. Seriously. As little as ten years ago, teams’ offenses and defenses hit the ground running and special teams were the question marks due to the turnover of players.
  • Now, with teams barely giving their starters reps in preseason games, offenses take most of game one to get into synch. Sometimes it takes more. Players can say what they want, but everyone knows there’s a practice speed and a game speed.
  • Defense still wins. While the offenses were “not right,” in Chris Collinsworth’s words, the defenses hit the ground running and looked dominant. Of course, given how, aside from one drive, Aaron Rodgers never really got on track, the debate is open to whether the defensive showing was really good defense or bad offense on both sides. Time will tell.
  • Experience won out. Aaron Rodgers managed to throw off enough rust to drive 74 yards in 1:35, including a beautiful 47 completion to Valdes. Trubisky didn’t play bad as many of his throws were on target. His completions were of the shorter variety as the Packers covered everything downfield and he had to get rid of the ball quickly.

  • Penalties kill. An adage nearly as old as defense wins championships, and, sorry Packers fans, this was the main cause of the Bears’ loss. The Bears repeatedly shot themselves in the foot offensively, but few were as damaging as their drive early in the fourth quarter when they backed themselves up to a third and forty without any sacks or fumbles. What hurt them the most was they had the Packers’ defense on its heels and could have scored a field goal at least. It would’ve changed the end of the game scenario, but they would’ve had a better chance of pulling out the win.
  • Bear fans: no need to panic yet. Fans are fickle. Especially following a dominate season as the Bears had in 2018. It’s Super Bowl all the way in the Windy City this year, and for good reason.

Game one wasn’t how either team or their fans fans envisioned their team starting out, and the boo birds were out early as their frustration grew. But here’s the thing: it’s only week one. Both teams have plenty of time to fix their miscues and get things back to where they should be, so don’t panic.

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