It is as predictable as women crying after episodes of "The Bachelor," Vikings safety Madieu Williams missing a tackle, Snooki acting intoxicated on "Jersey Shore," and Patrick Reusse repudiating new-age baseball statistics: insufferable Packers and Bears fans.
And now we have a nightmare scenario: the two playing for the NFC championship next Sunday.
In my professional capacity, it is a home-run match up. I always want the best storyline. But in my personal life, my friends/co-workers/virtual friends don't understand that. Among Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Friendster, email, text, and hand-written messages, I give-up -- I'm saying uncle and begging for mercy. I get it: what do the Vikings and marijuana have in common? When you put them in a bowl, they get smoked.
How many times will we hear this week about the Packers-Bears being the oldest and/or best rivalry in the NFL? It really isn't the best -- give me Steelers-Ravens or Jets-Patriots -- but that won't stop anyone. How many times do you think we will see the famous Vince Lombardi, "What the hell is going on out here?" clip, with some TV outlet then dissolving into a video referencing the Bears-Packers game.
On Sunday night, national talk-radio host Mike North kept stressing that, "Chicago is championship city USA… The Blackhawks, the White Sox, the Bulls, and now the Bears, oh my!" This is the same guy who called for coach Lovie Smith's head after their 4-3 start.
I bet we experience every Packers reminding us that Green Bay is "Titletown, USA."
If I thought the onslaught of "Who Dat? The Saints Dat" chants were infuriating last year, this week will be worse. The backlash from those who follow the Bears and Packers will begin in earnest, so let me get some more of it out of the way: the Vikings are a long-shot to compete for a playoff spot next year, and the Packers, with the return of running back Ryan Grant, tight end Jermichael Finley, and others, will be just as good. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is a combination of Bart Starr and Brett Favre, well on his way to winning more Super Bowls than the Vikings ever will.
And the Bears? They finally have a championship-caliber quarterback, and the Vikings don't. Then even before the offseason arrives, both fan bases will argue that through free agency, the Vikings will lose more players than the Packers and Bears combined.
These same Bears fans will make no mention of Week 1, when Lions receiver Calvin Johnson scored a game-winning touchdown that was called back because of a foolish rule. In the first meeting with Green Bay, the Packers were flagged 18 times for 152 yards, and it still took a last-second field goal for Chicago to win. Quarterback Jay Cutler had to miss a game with a concussion, and Chicago had the woeful Panthers next. Worst of all, they got to play the under-.500 Seahawks in their first playoff game. Maybe Chicago has made some of its luck, but I'm sorry; they are not the second-best team in the NFC. But we'll hear how they are Super Bowl-bound for the next six days.
Green Bay is legitimately good, which is a green light for the numerous Packer-Backer Hubbard Broadcasting employees to remind me. Maybe my best hope could be for the Jets defense to contain in consecutive games Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, and Aaron Rodgers, four of the best signal-callers in the NFL.
Here are some recommended verbal comebacks -- even with intoxicated Packers fans, never attempt physical violence:
- Don't be afraid to go the, "Will Bears assistant Mike Tice sell his Super Bowl tickets?" route… although, that easily can be more of an indictment against a Vikings fan.
- What do you call a Packers or Bears fan holding a bottle of champagne after this year's Super Bowl? A waiter.
- Jan. 9, 2005, the one-and-only Green Bay-Minnesota playoff matchup: Vikings 31, Packers 17.
Or on second thought, can we just hit F5 on this weekend, or hope for next Sunday's game to be a blowout and then have the winner get annihilated in the Super Bowl? Even as fun as two straight weeks of Jenn Sterger/Ines Sainz jokes leading into the Super Bowl would be, those of us who are bothered by Packers and Bears fans should root for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the real most dominant franchise in league history.