The Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions have been long going rivals, who play out of the NFC North. The Bears and Lions meet twice a season, and Chicago and Detroit see some geographic proximity. It makes things interesting, along with two other competitive teams in the division with Green Bay and Minnesota rounding it out.
History of the Bears vs. Lions Rivalry
If you had to guess the longest running series in the NFL, who would you put your money on? If you picked the Bears and the Lions, you would be correct. This rivalry is the longest running series in the NFL, as both teams have met at least once a season since the Lions’ inception in 1930 and have remained in the same division since 1933. Separated only by a 280-mile stretch of Interstate 94, geography plays a major role in the hostility between these two Midwest favorites. Going far beyond the gridiron, basketball and hockey contribute to the competition of these cities as well. The Bulls vs. Pistons and Blackhawks vs. Red Wings are entertaining rivalries in and of themselves. However, this didn’t start as a Detroit vs. Chicago rivalry as the current day Detroit Lions used to be the Portsmouth, OH Spartans from 1930-1933.
Head to Head Analysis of Bears vs. Lions
In the 178 meetings over a nearly 90 year period, the Bears hold the advantage with a record of 99-74-5. In their first-ever meeting, the Portsmouth Spartans beat the Chicago Bears in a low scoring contest, which was not unusual for that period of time, with a tight score of 7-6. The Bears do own the largest margin of victory with a score of 49-0 in the Windy City on October 19, 1941. The closest game in terms of final score that these two played was in 1988 when the Bears narrowly beat the Lions by a score of 13-12. Each team has had their win streaks against the other, but the Bears lead in that category as well with an 11-game win streak from 1946-1951. The Lions own two 6-game wins streaks from 1968-1970 and 2013-2015. Currently, the Bears are on a two-game win streak against the Lions.
A Glance at Postseason Success in Bears vs. Lions
Surprisingly, these teams have only met one time in the postseason. This postseason meeting was the first of its kind as champions were determined by regular season standings, but these two ended in a tie for first place. It was very early on in the rivalry for the NFL title when the Bears shut out the Spartans and beat them 9-0. This game was known as the first “indoor football” game due to a blizzard causing them to play in indoor Chicago Stadium rather than at Wrigley Field. The Monsters of the Midway won 8 NFL Championships before the 1970 AFL-NFL merger in the years of ’21, ’32, ’33, ’40, ’41, ’43, ’46, and ’63. Their rival from Detroit has only won 4 NFL Championships in ’35, ’52, ’53, and ’57. The Bears have won one Super Bowl Championship in 1985 when they released their infamous “Super Bowl Shuffle”, and the Lions have failed to win any Super Bowl Championships. They are tied when it comes to Conference Championships at 4 a piece. Division championships are a whole different story as the Bears have won 21 as opposed to 8 for the Lions. Da Bears also have an advantage with 26 playoff appearances to the 17 the Lions have.
Bears vs. Lions Rivalry Outlook
As far as the outlook of this rivalry, the Bears seem to have an edge with a lot of young talent after a promising year. Both teams have young coaches who are under 45 and hold their own expectations on where to take the current talent. Some young players to watch on the offensive side of the ball for the Lions would be WR Kenny Golladay, RB Kerryon Johnson, and G Frank Ragnow. On the defensive side for the Lions, keep your eyes on MLB Jarrad Davis, CB/SS Quandre Diggs, and DE/DL Da’Shawn Hand. For the Chicago Bears, look out for the progress of the offense starting with young guys like QB Mitchell Trubisky and the RB duo of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. Watch out for the two defensive Eddies in the future: NT Eddie Goldman and FS Eddie Jackson. Staley Da Bear and Roary the Lion will have a lot to look forward to in the future of these historic franchises.