Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears: 5 Memorable Moments From the Last 40 Years of Their Fierce NFL Rivalry

The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers meet up once again in a rivalry that began back in 1921. The two NFC North rivals square off for the first of two meetings this season with Green Bay looking to get into the win column, while the Bears see their second straight win after upsetting the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1.

During their 100-plus-year meetings, the Bears and Packers have had some memorable outings. We scoured the last 40 years and came up with five that are sure to trigger some memories.

William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry scores two touchdowns for the Chicago Bears against the Green Bay Packers in 1985

William the Refrigerator Perry grabs the face guard and points a finger at James Campen of the Green Bay Packers in 1990 at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin. | Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

In 1985, on their way to a Super Bowl title, the Bears faced the Packers twice in a three-week span. On a Monday Night Football game, Oct. 21, 1985, William “The Refrigerator” Perry took center stage.

The 6-foot-2, 335-pound defensive lineman for the Bears became a legend that night when he lined up as a fullback and scored on a 1-yard rush to snap a 7-7 tie. Perry had lined up in the backfield before to open holes for Walter Payton. He even had two carries for four yards the week before in a 26-10 win over the San Francisco 49ers.

After beating Green Bay 23-7, the Bears faced the Packers two weeks later. This time, Perry scored through the air, catching a pass from quarterback Jim McMahon to give Chicago a 7-3 lead. The Bears went on to win 16-10.

Green Bay Packers DL Charles Martin slams Bears quarterback Jim McMahon to the turf

In November 1986, Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Charles Martin authored one of the dirtiest plays in NFL history.

McMahon threw a pass and then was body-slammed to the turf by Martin well after McMahon released the ball. Martin was ejected and suspended for the play, but McMahon paid the price.

“That was the start of all the problems with my head,” McMahon said during a 2020 interview on Golf Sub Par. “When he slammed me, the first thing that hit the ground was the top of my head. It compressed my C1 and C2 (vertebrae). It actually twisted them and got them in opposite directions. I was having trouble with my spinal fluid flowing properly.”

Jerry Markbreit, who refereed the game, said the hit on McMahon was the worst he’d seen.

“There were a lot of late hits but (Martin’s) had to be 10 to 12 seconds after the play was over. It was the most violent act of its day,” he told ESPN in 2012.

Jay Cutler takes a beating on and off the field

On Jan. 23, 2011, the Packers and Bears met in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field. The Packers jumped out to a 14-0 lead after rushing touchdowns by Aaron Rodgers and James Starks.

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler then went down with a knee injury and was replaced by Caleb Hanie. After the Bears cut the deficit to 14-7, Hanie threw an interception that B.J. Raji returned for a touchdown to make it 21-7.

Hanie then ignited the offense with a 35-yard touchdown pass to Earl Bennett with 4:43 left. The Packers held on for a 21-14 win and a berth in the Super Bowl.

Cutler was blasted by fans and the media. Many said he wasn’t tough and quit on the team, not knowing he had an MCL injury. Cutler’s teammate Brian Urlacher cleared things up in July on the Bussin’ With the Boys podcast.

“We go to the NFC Championship Game, he hurts his knee,” Urlacher recalled. “Everyone says he wasn’t hurt. He tore his (MCL) in the second quarter and kept trying to play. The media said he copped out because we were getting beat.

“Jay was tough. He dislocated his thumb the next year and played the rest of the game. Don’t tell me he’s a b****. He ain’t no b****. He was hurting our team by being in there because he couldn’t step into a throw.”

The Walter Payton Game didn’t include Walter Payton

Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears carries the ball against the Green Bay Packers during an NFL football game circa 1984 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. | Focus on Sport/Getty Images.

On Nov. 7, 1999, the Packers hosted the Bears. The Bears were mourning the death of Payton, who died six days earlier. They also credited him for the 14-13 victory over the Packers that day.

Packers kicker Ryan Longwell lined up for a chip-shot, 28-yard field goal that would give the Packers a victory. Instead, Bryan Robinson came through and blocked the kick as the Bears escaped with the improbable win.

After the game, the talk was about how Payton played a role in that victory.

“Walter Payton picked me up in the air,” said Robinson, according to The Chicago Tribune. “I can’t jump that high.”

Even as Longwell prepped for the short kick, the was a calm in the air for Bears coach Dick Jauron.

“I’m standing next to Jauron on the sidelines when the Packers line up for the kick, and I’m frantic,” Big Cat Williams said. ” `We got to block it, we got to block it,’ I’m saying. And Jauron, calm as always, like he’s got an ice cube on his shoulders, he says, `Don’t worry. We will.'”

“I’ve got to believe he had a hand in that final play,” Jauron said of Payton.

The ‘Instant Replay’ game

In 1989, Don Majkowski took over as the full-time starter for the Packers, who hadn’t beaten the Bears since 1984. Majkowski and the Packers pulled out a 14-13 victory on Nov. 5, 1989, but it didn’t happen without controversy.

Referred to often as The Instant Replay Game, Majkowski, tossed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Sharpe with his team trailing 13-7 and 32 seconds left. Initially, the play was ruled no touchdown because the side judge said Majkowski has crossed the line of scrimmage before releasing the ball.

The play was reviewed. The Lambeau Field crowd waited nearly four minutes for the result. The call was reversed. Chris Jacke booted the extra point as Green Bay pulled out a 14-13 victory.

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