Analysis

Bears vs. Packers, All-Time Teams: Position-by-position analysis

It's Bears-Packers week! The storied rivalry hits center stage on "Thursday Night Football" (8:25 p.m. ET on CBS/NFL Network/Amazon). I, Adam Rank, might say these are two of the most legendary teams in the NFL. Or at least the teams with the most championships. But who's better? Well our fantasy editor, Alex Gelhar, is from Wisconsin (poor kid). So, allow me and Alex to try and hash out this very question, position by position.

Quarterback: Jim McMahon vs. Don Majkowski

Adam Rank: All right. Here's the thing with Bears-Packers ... Let's start with the QB. Jim McMahon is the best Bears QB of my lifetime. Brought the only Super Bowl win. Also won a Super Bowl with the Packers.

Alex Gelhar: In fairness, since this is such a landslide if I choose one of Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre or Bart Starr, I'll throw you a bone and instead pick the "Majik Man," Don Majkowski. I think we can both agree I still win here.

Running back: Thomas Jones vs. Jim Taylor

Rank: How dare you. If you want to play that game, well then we can just go ahead and keep Walter Payton (GOAT), Gale Sayers and Matt Forte on the bench to beat the Packers in this category. Hell, Neal Anderson would've been one of the best running backs for you in generations. And that's not to defame Neal. But to still win this category in a landslide, I'm going with Thomas Jones. And you should thank the Bears for taking Cedric Benson in 2005 WHEN WE STILL NEEDED A QUARTERBACK AND A SIGNAL CALLER FROM CAL WAS SLIDING DOWN THE BOARD. Not upset, though.

Gelhar: I think you're forgetting about Hall of Famer Jim Taylor, sir, who scored 66 rushing touchdowns from 1960 to '64 alone -- yep, that's more than Forte has scored in his entire career. Oh, by the way, Taylor won two championships in that span and four total, but I digress. "Sweetness" is the king here, and the lineage of Bears backs is undeniable.

Wide receiver: Walter Payton vs. Don Hutson

Rank: I'm sure you're going to think the receiver battle is one-sided affair. And it is. The Bears' all-time leading receiver is Walter Payton with 492 receptions. But here's the thing ... Ah, forget it. We're a running team.

Gelhar: I'm glad we see eye-to-eye here. While millennials and casual fans might think Jordy Nelson is the Packers' best WR, or maybe Donald Driver with that million-dollar smile, the real GOAT cheese is, as you know, Don Hutson. From 1935 through 1945, Hutson scored 99 receiving TDs. The next-closest player during that span had 33.

Tight end: Mike Ditka vs. Paul Coffman

Rank: Well, the Bears haven't had many wide receivers, but we dominate at the tight end position, starting with "Iron" Mike Ditka. Not only a prolific tight end, but also, as you might know, he led the Bears to their lone Super Bowl win as head coach. And it should be noted: That '85 bunch is the most dominant team in NFL history.

Gelhar: Old-school Lombardi acolytes might prefer to see Ron Kramer here, thanks to his impact on the iconic "Packers sweep" plays, but I have to give the nod to Coffman. He was an underrated part of those '80s Packers teams, catching 39 touchdown passes and attending three Pro Bowls. While these guys were great, it pains me to admit they can't hold a candle up to Ditka.

Offensive line: Kyle Long vs. Forrest Gregg

Rank: You don't need to sell me on the WR. But on the offensive line, the Bears have been great. You don't enjoy the great lineage of RBs -- Sayers to Payton to Forte to Howard -- without having some road graders up front. This team has thrived as a unit, but without superstars.

Gelhar: Agreed on the strength of the Bears' line units, but the Packers' linemen from the Lombardi era were actual legends AND they comprised a ferocious unit. Jerry Kramer better finally make it into the Hall this year to join his buddy Forrest Gregg, who gets the nod from me here.

Defensive line: Richard Dent vs. Reggie White

Rank: Defensive line, though. The Bears have had some amazing ones. Richard Dent, a former Super Bowl MVP and Hall of Famer. Dan Hampton, a Hall of Famer. And what about Steve "Mongo" McMichael, who was a member of the famed "Four Horsemen" with Ric Flair. Woooo!

Gelhar: I can't really go toe-to-toe with a "Nature Boy" association, but the Packers were host to "The Minister of Defense," Reggie White, a Hall of famer, and Willie Davis, a Hall of Famer and member of the 1960s All-Decade Team. And as a kicker, they did have Gilbert "The Gravedigger" Brown, who kind of sounds like a pro wrestler. Perhaps we call this one a wash?

Linebacker: Mike Singletary vs. Ray Nitschke

Rank: And not only is the Bears' defensive front legendary -- think about the great linebackers who have roamed the gridiron for the "Monsters of the Midway." Bill George, Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher are among the greats. And then you had guys like Otis Wilson, Wilber Marshall and Lance Briggs. Oh, man. The Bears might boast the best linebackers of all time. (I'm being modest, they do.)

Gelhar: While Ray Nitschke is the most iconic linebacker to ever roam the hallowed grounds of Lambeau Field, guys like Dave Robinson, John Anderson, A.J. Hawk, and Clay Matthews all merit discussion. Still, this group pales in comparison to the Bears' bunch, sadly. That's quite the linebacking lineage.

Secondary: Mike Brown vs. Herb Adderley

Rank: Secondary is tricky. I'm always going to be partial to Mike Brown because of his ability to get into the end zone. But there is also Gary Fencik. Oh, and Doug Plank -- the dude the 46 defense was named after!

Gelhar: That's all well and good, but Green Bay was home to Willie Wood and Herb Adderley, a pair of ball-hawking defensive backs who both made the Hall of Fame. Leroy Butler is one of the most underrated players of the '90s (and the creator of the Lambeau Leap!), and finally, Charles Woodson resurrected his career and won DPOY with the Pack.

Special teams: Devin Hester vs. Desmond Howard

Rank: All right, all right. Let's talk special teams. Kevin Butler was great. But Devin Hester is the undisputed GOAT kick returner. His opening-kickoff TD against the Colts in Super Bowl XLI should have made him the eventual MVP. But ... Rex Grossman. Hester wasn't a one-year wonder, either. He was a force every season!

Gelhar: As much as I'd love to rub Desmond Howard's ACTUAL Super Bowl MVP in your face, I have to concede and give this one to Hester. His longevity was unparalleled and he played a large part in "THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE" becoming a part of sports history.

Coach: George Halas vs. Vince Lombardi

Rank: Thank you. I know your guy has a trophy named after him. But George Halas won a championship in four separate decades, was one of the founders of the NFL and kind of helped save the Packers, too. I know where the fans will probably fall. But I do want Halas to get his credit.

Gelhar: Whose name is on the trophy, Rank? Lombardi lost just one game in the postseason and is the only NFL coach to win three straight championships (1965, '66 and '67). Halas was great, but in this case, the cheese stands alone.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Gamepass_vert_web_r

See all the Action

Replay every game all season.