Let the battle for the NFC North between the Packers and Bears begin

This article could start out about how the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears take part in the NFL’s oldest rivalry, blah blah blah, but let’s not get too cliche.

For the most part, today’s players could care less about the league’s historic rivalries. As long as a pay-check is being deposited into their bank accounts, playing resumes as usual.

With that said, the Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall steered away from the norm by trash-talking the Packers and essentially making it known that this game is an important one.

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Chicago Bears Season Circling the Drain After Loss to Packers

It’s safe to say the Monsters of the Midway are toiling because their 2011 season is certainly in the toilet.

The Chicago Bears didn’t get the Green Bay Packers A-game, or even their B+game, but they still got beat pretty bad. As my colleague in America’s Dairyland points out, it was an ugly penalty and turnover filled slopfest.

The turf at Soldier Field is among the worst in all of sports, but it was so bad yesterday that it necessitated a stoppage in play. The surface is a fine metaphor for the style of the game, and the Bears 2011 season prospects- all of them resemble excrement.

Also resembling excrement is the statistics surrounding the Bears running game and Matt Forte.

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Northwestern-Wisconsin Moved up to Accommodate Bears-Packers

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Northwestern and Wisconsin, in conjunction with the Big Ten Conference, have announced that the tipoff for Sunday’s college basketball game at Welsh-Ryan Arena has been moved up to 11:30 a.m. The matchup is being televised by Big Ten Network.

The change has been made to accommodate fans and to avoid conflict with the NFL  NFC Championship Game between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. That game, which is being played at Soldier Field in Chicago, is set to kick off at 2:05 p.m.

In a situation like this, where two teams from the same exact markets are meeting each other in two different sports, how can you not?

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Aaron Rodgers’ Fun-Filled Media Conference Call

Aaron Rodgers' Exit

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers had an extremely productive 2008, throwing for over 4,000 yards and 29 TDs against just 13 INTs, for a passer rating of 93.8. It was a stellar season, and with a full year of starting under his belt, not to mention the fact he no longer has to deal with the distraction of any Diva ex-Packer QBs, and the media circus following the situation- logic dictates that he should settle even more into his starting role, and put up even bigger numbers in 2009. On Wednesday, he was on conference call with the Chicago media in preparation for the Bears-Packers game Sunday night.

We all know that athletes are well-coached by their respective PR departments in what to say (by that I mean don’t say anything substantive or remotely negative), but it was still very entertaining to hear the Chi sports media try and get Rodgers to utter something provocative  about the game. And equally funny to hear Rodgers shoot them down every single time.

Perhaps the best was when a reporter told Rodgers about how there’s been negative press about the NFC North in recent years: “There has?” Rodgers responded, and then asked what Rodgers thought about the NFC North more recent and better publicity.

“Yeah, I could care less what the media thinks about the NFC North.”

There were also questions about comparing him to other NFC North quarterbacks, his team to other division teams, comparing team rivalries as well as player rivalries and they all yielded gems such as these:

“I’m not going to get into the game-plan much.”

“I don’t know. Or have an answer for you.”

“I don’t really get into that either, I don’t deal with that kind of pressure- that media stuff that sells papers and people blog about”

“I’m not even going to touch that.”aaron_rodgers

“That’s not a fun question, I’m not even going to touch that one.”

“I don’t really get into the whole comparison stuff.”

But it wasn’t all extended versions of “no comment.” Rodgers did give his opinion on the Bears defense:

“They’re a veteran defense…Brian {Urlacher} is the general out there, he’s checking blitzes and checking things at the line of scrimmage and checking out of blitzes and being the coach he is. And that allows their defense to get themselves in good situations and fly to the ball and make plays.”

And on what we should think about the Pack’s impressive showing on offense this preseason:

“We take it pretty seriously here, and we’re excited about the things we’ve done, we realize none of those stats carry over, but the momentum and the good feelings we have and we’ll take that with us. Along with the confidence we’ve built from it.”