BBAO: Halas helped save the Packers

January, 19, 2011
1/19/11
7:40
AM ET
We're Black and Blue All Over:

As we discussed Sunday, in recent years the rivalry between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears has been intense but respectful. Why is that? David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune offers a theory.

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:

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