Last week, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs opined that the Ravens-Steelers Divisional Playoff matchup would be “Armageddon,” and he wasn’t making reference to Steve Buscemi asteroid movies.
But with all due respect to Mr. Suggs, Ravens-Steelers is the Falkland Islands War compared to what is about to go down on the plains of Abraham (Lincoln) next Sunday afternoon. For the second time in the 90-year history of their rivalry, the Bears and Packers are meeting in the playoffs, and if Sunday’s chatter is any indication, the entire Illinois-Wisconsin border should be on fire by Thursday morning. Towns like Kenosha, Antioch and Orangeville may simply cease to exist as fans replicate the actions of the Bushwhackers and Jayhawkers along the 1850s Kansas-Missouri border. I will honestly be stunned if at least one fatality does not come out of this week because of some drunken Bears-Packers argument turned violent. You only think I’m kidding.
I am legitimately concerned for people trapped behind enemy lines like my Cousin Charlie, a Bears fan deep in the heart of Dairyland. If the Bears are to win on Sunday, what is to stop a drunken mob of torch-bearing Packer fans from burning down his home? My guess is he will have to erect some sort of thing outside to ward them off, much like garlic for vampires or lamb’s blood for Angry Old Testament God killing your first-born child. I suggest a treadmill.
I’m even concerned for Packers fans who live in the middle of Chicago like my buddy Erik, but hey, I’m sure he can fend for himself.
While the last week made it plenty apparent that players on each of the AFC Divisional opponents held a healthy disdain for one another, the hype for those games simply cannot hold a candle to Bears-Packers. This goes deeper than players hating each other. From barnstorming teams with leather helmets to the birth of the AFL to explosion of the game on television and into the modern era, this matchup is the one constant. It is the glue of the National Football League. I suppose in all of sports there are a few rivalries that compare, like the Red Sox and Yankees in baseball and Alabama and Auburn in college football, but as far as the NFL goes this is as good as it gets. I’m not even sure you can truly know what hatred is until you’ve heard a Packer fan unload their inferiority complex in an anti-Bear rant. (Watch them take the intentional bait in 3…2…)
Personally, I just hope the world makes it to Sunday. A Bears-Packers NFC Championship has always been on my list of signs that the apocalypse is near, in part because of the likelihood that it could trigger some incident that will send the entire universe into a state of chaos. (The second sign is my wedding). Surely it’s no coincidence that the last time these two met in the playoffs was the week after Pearl Harbor. The world’s infrastructure was not built to withstand a game of this magnitude.
Just ask a fan of whoever loses come Sunday night. If society still exists, of course.
P.S. — Don Majikowski still sucks.