Friday, April 20, 2012
When the schedule gets released there are a few things I look for as a Packers fan. The first thing is when are they on prime time, then I look for any other special dates (eg. Thanksgiving) and then when they face the Chicago Bears.
The NFL has many great rivalries, but it reserves its highest respect for that of the Bears and Packers. It is the oldest and with many great players in its history that has become synonymous with the NFL. Starr, Butkus, Nitchke, Payton, McGee is a short list of players from both teams, but when mentioned aloud it is the history of the league. Green Bay is in the smallest market of the NFL while the Bears reside in the third largest market. The cities are separated by only a few hours and the fan bases overlap.
And the NFL shows it respect for this rivalry by the scheduling of the games every year. In 2011 the two teams met in the only game on Christmas Day. It has fallen on the opening weekend in the league's marquee prime time slot, it has been played on the final weekend in that same television window. And this year the NFL kicks off its newest tv package with a Thursday night meeting of the two teams on the NFL Network. This marks a new page in the history of television, and what better way to begin it than with the NFL's best rivalry.
The NFL can never go wrong by putting these two teams against each other, and they know it will be a ratings hit with the inception of the new NFL Network Thursday night package.