Just hours remain until Farmageddon, the seven decade awaited rematch of the 1941 Western Division playoff game between the Acme Packers and the Decatur Staleys is almost upon us.
OK, fine, the Packers had dropped the Acme by then and the Bears had been in Chicago for almost two decades, but you get the idea. It’s been a long time since the Bears and Packers met for anything more than bragging rights.
Sunday they meet for the championship of the NFC. And though the Packers are the wild card team and the Bears have the division title and enjoyed a first round bye to go with it, the experts are all over the Packers.
Vegas has the Packers as a four point favorite, and given the conventional wisdom that being at home gives you three points, they really think that Green Bay is a touchdown better.
But just as it has all year long, everything’s coming up Milhouse for the Bears.
Consider that in the last two days two very important breaks have gone the Bears way.
1. The NFL assigned referee Terry McAuley and his crew to the game. Remember (like any Packers fan can let you forget) that the Bears won the Monday night matchup this season between the two teams by a field goal, and the Packers set a team record with 18 accepted penalites against them? Know who the referee was that night? His initials are Terry McAuley.
2. Last week the great Jim Cornelison got Soldier(s) Field geared up with his signature version of the national anthem, and 60,000 Bears fans roared along with every note.
The Bears wanted him to come back for the title game, but NFL and Fox said that American Idol reject (and Chicago area native) Lee DeWyze was going sing it.
Bears fans threw a tantrum and amazingly, the NFL and Fox relented, Cornelison will sing the anthem, DeWyze will sing a song at halftime.
Both of these things are really important. Except they’re not.
If anything you wonder if McAuley’s crew will be less likely to flag the Packers because of the grief they took for calling 18 (all seemingly well-earned) penalties in the first match up.
As for the anthem, yeah, it’s cool, but it’s the NFC Championship against Green Bay, the crowd and the Bears would be fired up even if they replaced the anthem with Vag McCaskey reciting her favorite Emily Dickinson poem.
How cool was this? WBEZ got 1,000 year old booming voice newsman Carl Kassel to recite Al Pacino’s pregame speech from “Any Given Sunday.” Kind of classes it up.
Here’s the original:
Somehow, two of the most successful franchises in NFL history come into this game with an almost non-existent playoff history against each other. They have combined to win 23 NFL Titles, but their paths only crossed once in the postseason. Halas threw a few jap plays at the Packers a week after Pearl Harbor and the Bears won big.
In the playoffs the Packers biggest rival has been the Dallas Cowboys. The Bears has been the New York Giants.
All of that changes on Sunday. It’s been festering for 70 years.
And who would know better than Vag herself? She sent me a telegram the other day that she wanted me to include her today.
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR DESIPIO STOP BOOKMAKERS HAVE MADE PACKERS FAVORITE STOP DON'T KNOW SECRET PLAN WE HAVE READY FOR PACKERS STOP WE HAVE REPLACED THE HARD CANDY IN THEIR HOTEL LOBBY WITH HORSE LAXATIVES STOP PLAYERS LOVE HARD CANDY STOP LAST TIME WE PULLED THESE SHENANIGANS WAS 1940 AGAINST WASHINGTON STOP WON 73 TO NIL STOP BET YOUR PSL MONEY ON BEARS TO COVER AND WIN GAME STOP AND STOP CALLING ME VAG YOU ASSHOLE STOP ###
Well then, between the Bears getting the flag happy ref, big voiced anthem singer guy to rile up the crowd, and Vag is poisoning the Packers, the Bears are just that, and a couple of Devin Hester punt returns for touchdowns away from their third Super Bowl trip.