Chicago — Football’s oldest rivalry has a grand new prize: a spot in the Super Bowl.
Maybe even with an anniversary reprise of the “Super Bowl Shuffle” if the Chicago Bears can get past the Green Bay Packers.
“It’s a big deal. We have a lot of history with them,” Bears star linebacker Brian Urlacher said after a 35-24 victory over Seattle set up an NFC championship game matchup with Green Bay. “We don’t like them, they don’t like us.”
Jay Cutler ran for two touchdowns and threw for two as Chicago (12-5) pounded the Seahawks from the outset. The Bears built a 28-0 lead, but it was against the first division winner with a losing record, making it difficult to measure how good they are. The NFL will find out next week against the Packers (12-6), who have beaten third-seeded Philadelphia and top-seeded Atlanta on the road this month.
The last time Chicago won the NFL title, Walter Payton, Jim McMahon and Mike Singletary did the “Super Bowl Shuffle” all over their opponents. That was 25 years ago, and to compare these Bears with the wild bunch that won Chicago’s only Super Bowl 25 years ago is a stretch.
But next Sunday’s matchup is fitting if only for the history: It will be the biggest game in Chicago’s 90-year series with the Packers. They will play for the 182nd time next Sunday, but it’s their first meeting for the NFC title.
“Now that we have beaten the Seahawks, it just doesn’t get any better, as I see it, than for the NFC championship coming down to the Packers coming down on our turf this time,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said. “The Packers and Bears to finish it up.”
Cutler made it possible as much as anybody. And he did it with nimble feet as well as precise throws, running for six- and nine-yard TDs.
“Now we’re back, playing together, hopefully peaking at the right time,” Urlacher said.
Green Bay and Chicago split their regular-season meetings this season.