Five best stories from Packers vs. Bears

A haymaker delivered from the grandstand?


1. A haymaker delivered from the grandstand –With the Packers trailing the Bears, 30-3, in 1936 at City Stadium, an infuriated fan, Emmet Platten, rushed onto the field and toward an official who had thrown a penalty flag nullifying a late Packers touchdown. Platten was intent on delivering a punch square to the jaw of head linesman Gunner Eliott. Instead, Platten's haymaker landed on the chin of the Bears' 6-4, 222-pound tackle Ted Rosequist, who had tried to intercede. Bears Coach George Halas cried foul after the game. "Can't they do something about him?" Halas asked at his interview session. The 6-4, 230-pound Platten had merely been escorted to the sidelines and was unrepentant. Two days later, he wrote an eight-paragraph letter to the Green Bay Press-Gazette justifying his actions.

2. Avenging a cheapshot –In the 1945 season opener at City Stadium, Bears tackle Lee Artoe blatantly punched the Packers' Larry Craig in the face. Craig, a blocking back and defensive end, was known as the Packers' most sculpted and strongest player. A little more than a month later in the rematch at Wrigley Field, the Packers were bent on getting even. Back Ken Keuper handled the chore by delivering a forearm to the face of an unsuspecting Artoe. "He went down like a cow in the stockyards getting hit with a mallet," Keuper would say with fiendish delight years later.  Artoe had his nose and upper and lower jaw broken, and lost 11 teeth. "Oh boy! I can still feel it," Artoe would say 52 years later.

3. Packers vs. Bears: bigger than a title game –On Nov. 30, 1941, the Packers clinched at least a share of the Western Division title in their final regular-season game. A week later, the Bears matched the Packers' record, beating the Chicago Cardinals at Comiskey Park, as the Packers watched from the stands and received word Pearl Harbor had been bombed. The playoff between the Packers and Bears was played on Dec. 14 and, despite 16-degree weather, attracted a sellout crowd of 43,425 to Wrigley Field. The Bears won and entertained the New York Giants at Wrigley the next Sunday in the NFL championship. That game drew a mere 13,341 fans. Yes, a Packers-Bears game fueled more interest and evoked more passion at the time than the NFL title game.

4. Packers fans take Chicago by storm –The Packers were admitted to what is now the NFL in August of 1921, but it wasn't until two months later when George Halas, founder and coach of the Chicago Staleys, agreed to play them on five days notice that they knew for sure they were in the big leagues. A week earlier, a contingent of hard-partying Packers fans had traveled to Chicago to watch their team play the Cardinals. But the Staleys – to be renamed the Bears the next year – were a more revered opponent. The first game in the Packers-Bears rivalry was played on Nov. 27, 1921, and several hundred fans from Green Bay were on hand. They left on a midnight train with their own band and arrived in The Loop early Sunday morning. With band members dressed as lumberjacks and blasting their instruments, the gang marched down Michigan Avenue – in and out of hotel lobbies – and had to fend off police as they raised a non-stop ruckus. From there they headed to what is now Wrigley Field and stirred up some more mischief. "Never in my experience have I witnessed a better display of spirit," one Chicago sportswriter declared to cohorts. The Packers-Bears rivalry was born.

5. Halas plays mind game with Lombardi –Vince Lombardi once confided in Paul Hornung that Bears coach and master psychologist George Halas had gotten the best of him – even if his team hadn't. Lombardi told Hornung that about 10 minutes before kickoff of a game at Lambeau Field, back when both locker rooms were side-by-side in the same building at the north end, Halas knocked on the Packers' door and told equipment manager Dad Braisher he needed to talk to Lombardi at once. Braisher summoned Lombardi and Lombardi met Halas in the team's equipment room. All Halas said before abruptly turning and walking away was: "Vince, I just want to tell you one thing. You better have your team ready because we're going to kick your (butt)." Hornung thought the year was 1965. He said Lombardi admitted to being rattled the entire game. But if it was '65, the Packers won nevertheless, 23-14.

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