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Kenosha News Editorial: Rodgers stokes fires of a 100-year rivalry

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After further review … Aaron Rodgers was not guilty of taunting. While the NFL. with its heavy emphasis against taunting this year, has flagged players eight times more than last year, the Packers quarterback was not penalized for dropping to his knees and doing his Super Bowl belt wraparound, then shouting: “I own you. I still own you. I still own you.”

Aaron Rodgers Mug


The exuberant remark came after Rodgers ran in for a touchdown en route to a 24-14 win against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Packer fans rejoiced; Bears fans were apoplectic.

Kevin and Donnie break down an NFC North Matchup as the Packers eventually get going and get a win over the Bears in Chicago

Taunting infractions incur a 15-yard penalty, but no flag was thrown on Rodgers. After consulting New York (not really) and checking the rulebook, we have determined that Rodgers remarks were not directed at a Chicago Bears player — they were directed to a woman Bears fan in the stands who had flipped Rodgers a double bird as he celebrated in the end zone. Possibly Rodger’s words were also directed at all of Chicagoland — but not a player. That’s not a penalty. The flippant remark stands. We will, or course, counsel our quarterback against future unsportsmanlike utterances — we’ll tell him to just shout: “Heee-heee-hee.” If the Bears don’t like that they can move to Arlington Park.

Rodgers has the stats to back up his “I own you” chant. The Packers have beaten the Bears 20 out of the last 23 games and Rodgers is 22-5 against the Monsters of the Midway in games he has started. The football feuding between the two teams dates to Nov. 27, 1921 when the then Chicago Staleys bested the Packers 20-0. In their 203 matchups, the Packers hold a 102-95-6 edge in the gridiron battles — although the Packers didn’t catch Chicago until 2017 — in the Rodgers era.

The rivalry between the Packers and the Bears hardly needs Rodgers’ stoking, of course. Saying it is a fierce rivalry is a massive understatement — both on and off the field.

Consider that only three years into their contests, the teams earned the distinction of having the first-ever player ejections. That came on Nov. 23,1924 when the Bears’ Frank Hanny and the Packers’ Tillie Voss had a verbal exchange that led to a fist-fight and got them tossed before halftime. The Packers lost 3-0.

Or that in 1985 the visiting Bears were greeted at Lambeau Field with a 5-pound bag of horse manure in their locker room, courtesy of a Milwaukee radio station. That didn’t work, either’ the Bears won 16-10 and went on to win the Super Bowl.

And, if you remember, it was only five years ago that a Packers’ fan, Russell Beckman of Green Bay, enraged Bears fans by filing a lawsuit when he was not allowed to wear green and gold Packers garb during a sideline access pregame pep rally for season ticket holders. Beckman held season tickets for both the Bears and the Packers. He argued that since Soldier Field was leased from the city — and not the property of the Bears — it was a public facility and the Bears were violating his free speech rights. In 2019, Beckman dropped his suit, but only after the Bears cancelled the event for season ticket holders, leaving Bears fans with fiery enmity towards Beckman and Packers fans in general.

Racine was host to one of the more spirited, friendly — but often contentious — skirmishes between Packers and Bears fans in the 1980s and 1990s when the owners of two blue-collar bars on the city’s North Side, the gaudy Navy blue and orange-painted Shuffle Bear Inn at 2101 N. Main St. and Hansens Tap, a block or so away at 501 Goold St., had annual bets on the Packers-Bears games.

Under the terms of the wager on the first game each fall, the losing bar had to roll a half-barrel of beer down Goold Street to help the winners celebrate. One year, the owner of Hansens released a greased piglet painted in Bears colors in the crowded Shuffle Bear. The topper in the wager was that the winning tavern also got to paint their team colors on the losing bar’s front door for the duration of the football season. The green and gold entryway that often festooned the navy blue and orange façade at the Shuffle Bear was a sight to behold. Alas, the Shuffle Bear was torn down when the Racine Zoo expanded and built a new entryway. The lions won that final battle.

But don’t expect the heated rivalry to die down. Bears fans should just remember this: “We own you.” At least until Dec. 12 when we’ll meet again at Lambeau Field.


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