Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has played some of the best games of his Hall of Fame career against the Chicago Bears. Last year, after running for a touchdown at Soldier Field in another Packers win, Rodgers yelled, “I still own you!” to Bears fans in the end zone who were giving him a one finger salute. It only seemed fitting that Rodgers helped lead the Packers to a 28-19 comeback win in Chicago to help the Packers pass the Bears as the all-time winningest franchise in NFL history.
“You definitely draw a lot of confidence and good memories off of this matchup,” Rodgers said after the game. “We’ve had a tremendous amount of success during my time against them. I’ve enjoyed playing here, lot of great memories here over the years. It’s been a special rivalry that I’ve been able to be a part of.”
The numbers don’t lie. Rodgers and the Packers have dominated the Bears since AR-12 took over as the starter in Green Bay in 2008. His record as a starter against the Bears is now 24-5 in the regular season with a victory in the 2010 NFC Championship Game added in.
During the 29 regular season meetings, Rodgers is now 24-5 against the Bears. He’s completed 67.3 percent of his passes for 6,965 yards, thrown 64 touchdown passes and just 10 interceptions. His quarterback rating is 109.0. He’s won eight straight starts against the Bears and 13 of his last 14.
As he left the field after the win on Sunday, Rodgers saluted the fans at Soldier Field, paying homage to them and showing them the respect of a worthy opponent, albeit an opponent he has beaten on a regular basis.
“Definitely didn’t want to be walking in here losing to the Bears,” Rodgers said. “It’s been a nice eight straight for us… A win against the Bears is always a little more special. There were other things involved: the all-time win total was cool, another fourth-quarter comeback. I told the guys in the locker room we’ve played good enough to beat anybody in the league and at times played poor enough to lose to just about anybody. Our highs have been pretty solid.”
But Rodgers also said something after the game that showed he was still unsure of whether he’d be back in Green Bay in 2023. When asked about the future of the offense and the outstanding play of rookie wide receiver Christian Watson in recent weeks, Rodgers replied, “I left Cal and I could have come back with Desean Jackson at receiver and Marshawn Lynch in the backfield,” Rodgers said. “I don’t regret it because things have turned out pretty well. But that would have been interesting playing with those two guys; played with Marshawn for a year.”
“But I say that because the way Christian’s developed, definitely you’ve got to feel good for the organization with his development. It’s a rapid, wild development, and it’s hard to think about another player who goes from being kind of a here and there, minimal production to go-to type player, home run player. I mean, he had two, what, 60-plus-yard touchdowns it seems like – last week catch and run on a short one and end-around. Pretty special.”
But Rodgers concluded with the following: “So, it’ll all factor into it, but there’s got to be mutual desire on both sides.”
You can say a lot of things about Rodgers but one thing you can’t say is that he’s stupid. He can read the room. He knows he’s 39 years old and that he is near the end of his NFL career. He may choose to retire this offseason, although that would mean he was walking away from $59 million of guaranteed money.
He also knows the Packers may be facing a rebuild in the near future due to salary cap restraints and that many of his best friends on the team like Randall Cobb, Mason Crosby, Marcedes Lewis and David Bakhtiari, may not be back in 2023. If some of all of them are not back with the team, returning to play with Watson may be intriguing but is it enough to make him think the Packers have a realistic chance of contending again next year?
He also knows that the Packers may want to look at Jordan Love who will be in the last year of his rookie deal next season and has started to show signs of the potential that made GM Brian Gutekunst draft him in the first round back in 2020.
For now, Rodgers is concentrating on the next game. The Packers still have a slight chance of making the playoffs this season and until that chance is extinguished, Rodgers will give his all to try to make that happen. The Packers face the Rams in two weeks.
But the future remains an unknown. So as Aaron Rodgers headed off the field and into the tunnel after another win over the Bears, he savored the moment, saluted the opposing fans he respects and wondered if he’ll get a chance to win a ninth straight game against the Bears in a Packers uniform next season. Only time will tell.
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