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  • Peter Jones

Packers v Bears - A Short Playing History - Part 2

Updated: Jul 8

Three of the greatest head coaches in the history of the entire NFL – Curly Lambeau, George Halas and Vince Lombardi – have graced the series between these long term rivals. Between them they had around 80 years of coaching in the NFL and won 17 NFL Championships.

Other very fine coaches have made their impact in the series, including NFL Championship winning coaches for the Packers - Mike Holmgren (1996) and Mike McCarthy (2010).

Likewise, the Bears have had other NFL Championship winning coaches - Ralph Jones (1932), Hunk Anderson & Luke Johnsos (joint-coaches) (1943) and Mike Ditka (1985).

11 head coaches (6 for the Packers, 5 for the Bears) have coached in 10 or more games in the Packers-Bears series. The following table shows their win-loss record in games between the teams in descending win% order:

* These are years coaching, win-loss record and win% in the series only. Some of the coaches listed also coached other teams.

** The first game in the series was not until 1921

*** There were no games in the series in 1982 due to the player’s strike

Some anecdotes with regard to wins and losses in the series:

  • Gene Ronzani was a player for the Bears from 1933 to 1938 and again from 1944 to 1945. He was also their backfield coach from 1947 to 1949. So just imagine the stir he caused when he became the head coach of the Green Bay Packers in 1950, replacing the legendary Lambeau who had resigned following the previous season.

  • Just to add to the angst amongst Packers fans about having an ex-Bear as head coach, the Packers backfield coach from 1951 to 1957 was Ray “Scooter” McLean who himself had been a player with the Bears from 1940 to 1947. Making matters worse for the Packer faithful was that McLean became joint-interim head coach in 1953 for 2 games and then got the job fulltime for the 1958 season (when the Packers went 1-10-1).

  • Dave Wannstedt, who coached the Bears from 1993 to 1998, was drafted as a player by the Packers in the 1974 (in the 15th round – back in the days when there were 17 rounds in the draft). But due to injury, Wannstedt never played for the Packers.

  • Curly Lambeau, George Halas, Luke Johnsos and Mike Ditka are four of a select band of men to have won NFL Championships as both players and as head coaches

  • Dick Jauron was Bears head coach for 5 seasons (1999-2003). Jauron had previously been the defensive backs coach for the Packers from 1986 to 1994.

  • The modern day NFL Championship (Super Bowl) Trophy is named after former Packers head coach Vince Lombardi. The NFC Championship Trophy is named after former Bears head coach George Halas.

  • Vince Lombardi’s first game as head coach of the Packers was against the Bears (27th September, 1959). It was of course a victory, the Packers squeaking home 9-7. After the game, Lombardi was carried off the field by his players – just as he would be after his final game in charge (Super Bowl II).

Find Peter on twitter here: @The_IT_Hedgehog

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