GREEN BAY – The outburst went viral, to say the least. Now, Aaron Rodgers has a chance to put a definitive statistic behind the boast.
When Rodgers blurted out, "I own you … I still own you," to the Bears fans in the Soldier Field end zone after scoring a touchdown two months ago, he wasn't lying.
The Packers' 24-14 victory that day improved Rodgers' career record against the Bears to 22-4, if you don't count the 2013 game in which he broke his collarbone on the first offensive series.
That 22nd win over Chicago for Rodgers tied him in Packers history with Brett Favre, who went 22-10 against the Bears from 1992-2007.
So, on Sunday night at Lambeau Field, Rodgers has a chance to become Green Bay's winningest quarterback in the century-long history of the NFL's oldest rivalry.
"This one has always been special to anybody I think pulling the trigger here in Green Bay," Rodgers said this week, crediting a lot of the Bears' defensive greats he played against, such as Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman and future teammate Julius Peppers – as well as veteran Packers teammates in his younger years like Mark Tauscher, Chad Clifton, Donald Driver and William Henderson – for showing him what the rivalry is all about.
"Just because you understand the history of our game, the history of this rivalry and the history of the bad blood over the years between the two squads. It just takes one game to feel, one start really to feel that juice."
Looking back, Rodgers' first start in this matchup was a harbinger of the dominance to come. He led the Packers to a 37-3 blowout in November of 2008 (the picture above in the story graphic is from that game).
His 105.8 passer rating that day was the first of 13 times Rodgers has hit triple digits against the Bears. Nine of those 13 times his rating has been north of 125, including a current three-game streak heading into Sunday night.
The Packers lost a freezing-cold, overtime affair in the rematch in '08, and the Bears won another close one in prime time early in 2010, both at Soldier Field. But from there, Rodgers didn't lose to Chicago again (aside from the early-exit, broken-collarbone game) until 2015 on Thanksgiving night.
It was horribly ironic that the first time the Bears beat the Rodgers-led Packers at Lambeau Field occurred the night Favre's number was officially retired and added to the stadium's façade.
Because really, the Packers' current run of success in the rivalry dates back to Favre, who went 20-4 against the Bears his first dozen years before Lovie Smith took over as Chicago's head coach in 2004 and declared the franchise's No. 1 priority was beating the Packers.
The Bears then beat the Favre-led Packers six of the last eight times they faced him before Rodgers took over.
Overall, the Packers were more than 20 games under .500 in the all-time series before the Favre-Rodgers era. Now they're seven games up (102-95-6, including two playoff meetings), and a whopping 44 of Green Bay's 102 victories have come with Favre or Rodgers under center. (For those wondering, Bart Starr posted 15 wins over the Bears in 23 starts.)
So now, with Green Bay's two QBs of the last three decades tied at 22 wins apiece, Rodgers has a chance to stand alone with 23.
It's fitting the milestone could come in prime time, too, as Rodgers has played a night game against the Bears every year he's been a starter. The last time the Packers and Bears didn't play at least once in prime time was all the way back in Rodgers' rookie season of 2005.
Rodgers completed the comeback in the all-time series that Favre started, finally putting Green Bay in the lead a handful of years ago and growing the margin ever since. Another win Sunday would move the Packers eight games ahead when their previous largest lead was just two – all the way back in 1932 at 11-9-4.
"I've been really fortunate to be a part of this stretch in time, but this rivalry existed long before I got here, and long after I'm done playing it's going to keep on going," Rodgers said. "It'll be fun to keep an eye on. I feel good about being able to leave this at some point with us ahead."
And with a victory total that might never be topped by another QB.