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Friday, November 14, 2008
Rivalries redux

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

A few of you, maybe one or two here and there, might recall our ill-fated attempt to rank the top rivalry in the NFC North over the past few years.

I went with Green Bay-Minnesota. Chicago fans, shall we say, disagreed and nominated Bears-Packers.

(There were some ground rules about timeframe and a few other twists, but I'm over it. Really.)

I never asked Packers coach Mike McCarthy about it, but Friday -- with his team two days away from playing the Bears at Lambeau Field -- he made his sentiment abundantly clear. "Absolutely," was McCarthy's response when asked if the Bears are the Packers' biggest rival.

McCarthy had Packers assistant Jerry Fontenot, a former Bears center, speak to the team Friday afternoon after practice about the rivalry. Asked for his own thoughts, McCarthy recalled a conversation he had with NFL Films founder Steve Sabol several years ago:

"He was telling me about his interactions with Coach Lombardi and so forth, and he made a statement that really stuck with me. He said that when the Green Bay Packers are playing well and the Chicago Bears are playing well, things are great in the National Football League. And I think that says a lot about both organizations."

We live and learn.