We're Black and Blue All Over:
In 1956, Bears legend George Halas helped save the Packers in Green Bay. As Haugh recounts, Halas spoke forcefully at a rally to encourage local voters to approve public funding for reconstruction of their football field. Otherwise, in a preview of what current NFL business maneuvers would become, the Packers were likely to leave Green Bay forever.
Halas obviously wanted to beat the Packers twice per year but also didn't want them to leave and, as Haugh writes, had a "soft spot" for the franchise as well. He encouraged league leaders to reinstate the Packers after a 1922 scandal and also recommended Vince Lombardi as their new coach in 1958. (Update: As kevinjoho80 points out, it's also true that the Halas accepted a $1,500 loan from the Packers in 1932.)
There have been some shaky moments in the history of this rivalry, but if nothing else, Halas ensured it would live on.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Dan Pompei of the Tribune on Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris: "The Bears' defensive scheme is reliant on a three technique tackle who can penetrate and create pass rush opportunities for others. [Defensive coordinator Rod] Marinelli has been searching all season for a second player who can burst off the line and get upfield quickly to complement Julius Peppers. If Harris can be that man, confetti may be raining on the Bears in the coming weeks."
Will Mike Tice be rewarded for the job he has done with the Bears offensive line? Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times looks into it.
Jon Greenberg of ESPNChicago.com looks at the ticket situation for Sunday's game. The average sale price at StubHub had moved past $800 as of Tuesday afternoon.
Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel profiles Packers cornerback Tramon Williams.
Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports on Williams: "Is it possible to outplay a contract extension in less than two months?"
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been the best player in the 2010 playoffs, writes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com traces the Packers' success on the road under coach Mike McCarthy.
The Minnesota Vikings lost out on offensive coordinator candidate Josh McDaniels, who was hired by the St. Louis Rams as expected. The Vikings will now interview Atlanta Falcons assistant Bill Musgrave for the job.
The Vikings have been tight-lipped about the process, according to the Star Tribune.
Detroit Lions running back Kevin Smith is not looking to leave the team, writes Tim Twentyman of the Detroit News.
The Lions aren't that far away from emulating the Bears and Packers, writes Bob Wojnowski of the News.