It's Packers week! That means it's time for fans in Chicago and Green Bay to go bonkers over the oldest rivalry in NFL history. But what do the players know about this time-honored abhorrence? RedEye sat down with fourth-year cornerback D.J. Moore and rookie safety Jeremy Jones to see how quickly players learn about the importance of beating the Packers.
We'll start here [pointing to Jones]—what do you know about Bears-Packers?
Jeremy Jones: I just know it's the most heated rivalry in Bears history.
D.J. Moore: It's the oldest rivalry in NFL football. I think the record is pretty close. I think we're up, though. Do you remember the record they showed us?
DJM: It's pretty close. It's like 90-something to 80-something, a couple ties. It's pretty close. [Editor's note: Bears lead the series 91-85, with six ties.]
What was your first experience learning about Bears-Packers?
DJM: In the meeting room, pretty much. The first thing they threw up on the board was you gotta beat Green Bay. That's the first goal. And when you see "Beat Green Bay" and you see the Super Bowl under it, you know it's real important.
Wow. What was your first Bears-Packers game?
DJM: The year we went to the NFC championship game we played them here on Monday night, and we beat them 20-17. That was the first year I played them. I was on the team the year before that, but I didn't play.
OK, so what can you tell a new Bear like Jeremy about Bears-Packers?
DJM: [To Jones] It's a fun game to play. You'll see the coaches. Watch. They gonna be tight. After Monday gets here, they're going to be tight. Everybody will be tense. Just watch. [Jones laughs.] We ain't beat 'em in a little while now. We've got a losing streak going. So it's going to be tense.
[To Jones] But you know that it's important.
JJ: Oh yeah. They're not big Packers fans around here. They want us to beat 'em, flat out. Flat out beat 'em. No excuses.
Have you learned anything from the veterans like D.J. about how to handle Packers week?
JJ: Take it serious, just like every other game. But go out there with a chip on your shoulder and beat 'em.
DJM: To me it's just like any other game, but I think it's more important to the fans. [To Jones] That's all they want you to do. If you have a losing season but you beat the Packers twice, they kind of feel like, "Hey, this was a winning season!" [Jones laughs.]
Yeah, we did that in '07.
DJM: Yeah, so that's about it.
Jack M Silverstein is a RedEye special contributor. Say hey @readjack