Oliver: Bears-Packers rivalry hits home twice each season

Joan Oliver
Joan Oliver

“A house divided against itself cannot stand,” Abraham Lincoln said in a famous speech.

Of course, he probably didn’t mean a household with opposing NFL rooting interests.

So far, the Oliver household has been standing about 23 years despite the fact that my husband roots for the wrong team. And when I say “wrong,” I mean the Green Bay Packers.

Yet, love is blind, and my Chicago Bears-loving heart has made this great allowance. Then again, this theory is severely tested each NFL season when our two teams meet for their twice-yearly divisional tilts. Sunday night was just the latest example.

The playbook goes something like this: Every year, I get my hopes up that maybe this time my beloved Monsters of the Midway will find a way to stop whatever ridiculously good quarterback Green Bay is using.

Early in our marriage, it was Brett Favre. Now it’s Aaron Rodgers. The faces might have changed, but the results are remarkably similar … and sad.

So imagine my great surprise and delight when my Bears – with a new coach, young quarterback and a new cast of characters – somehow managed to put up 17 points on the Pack in the first half of Sunday night’s game. There’s no doubt it made all of us Bears fans giddy with delight. Is this really happening?

I’ll admit to being a loud fan, whooping and screeching and clapping each and every time my team does something good. I’ve been known to scare the feline members of the family with this behavior. One would think Harriet would be used to it by now.

Anyway, the first half was loud. Tony managed to keep a fairly straight face, although perhaps there was a glint of smugness in his eyes. He’s seen this before.

Things looked even more promising when Rodgers went off to the locker room on a cart with an injury. Not that I’d want him hurt, but he’s a big reason why the Bears never seem to beat the Packers.

Then the second half started, and the Bears came out flat, settling for a field goal on an early drive. The Bears’ defense, which had been pressuring quarterbacks and forcing fumbles and generally looking awesome, stopped being effective. And Rodgers was back.

Needless to say, the Oliver household got quiet. Why? Because Tony is unfailingly quiet, even when his team is making a comeback. No gloating whatsoever when his team eventually not only came back, but won, 24-23. Crushing for me. Just another day at the office for his Packers. Had we been watching the game with his sister, there’s no doubt I would have heard more than my fair share of taunting. I’ve learned to try for what passes for a poker face when I’m around her. Never let her see me sweat. Good thing she wasn’t here.

Yet, my disappointment was palpable. No, Pack, no.

Tony and I have a deal that if the Bears win, I can gloat all I want. Maybe he agreed to this because he knew that this rarely would happen. Sadly, he’s been right.

For his part, he’s allowed to gloat for only a day or two. Dear man that he is, he rarely does. He just gets a smug little smile on his face every time the words “Green Bay Packers” are uttered.

Annoying for this Bears fan? Yes.

However, it’s a minor flaw in his otherwise stellar personality. And, if I’m honest, he has to put up with a lot more from his obnoxious, Bears-loving other half, particularly when she loses.

Good thing he loves me. Go Bears!

• Joan Oliver is a former Northwest Herald assistant news editor. She has been associated with the Northwest Herald since 1990. She can be reached at

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