The 2019 NFL season begins on Thursday night when the Chicago Bears host the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field.
Chicago and Green Bay are two of the most storied franchises and will renew their rivalry in the NFC North to kick off the new campaign. They’ve enjoyed a number of great battles over the years, and they kick off our look back at some of the craziest moments in rivalry matches.
Rodgers downs the Bears to win the NFC North
Few players in the NFL are more clutch than Aaron Rodgers. The Packers needed him at his best in this match. They were trailing in a winner-take-all clash for the NFC North title in the final week of the 2013 regular season.
On fourth down with Green Bay’s season on the line, he produced an all-time moment, escaping a seven-man blitz from the Bears’ defense. He connected with a 48-yard touchdown strike to Randall Cobb to send the Packers into the playoffs at the expense of their rivals.
Sanchez fumble epitomizes rivalry
The rivalry between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets has a lot of history. Bill Parcells reignited the feud between the teams in the 1990s when he moved from New England to the Jets, taking Hall-of-Fame running back Curtis Martin with him. However, it took a new turn when his planned successor Bill Belichick resigned to join the Patriots.
Belichick combined with Tom Brady to dominate the AFC East and the NFL, winning six Super Bowls. The Jets have been the jealous neighbors, watching their success. They have had a couple of moments of joy against their rivals, although those have been few and far between. Mark Sanchez epitomized the Jets’ standing in the duel in 2012 with the infamous ‘butt fumble’.
Tomlin on the sideline
The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens have enjoyed one of the fiercest rivalries in the NFL. They battle it out twice a year for dominion over the AFC North crown, with the players on the field taking a few bumps and bruises to say the least. One of the craziest moments in recent years, actually came on the sideline or on the field…
Jacoby Jones collected a kick-off and surged his way past Steelers tacklers before having to change direction slightly because of the presence of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin with his foot on the field. The deviation resulted in Jones being tackled rather than scoring a touchdown along with a hefty fine for Tomlin.
Jackson drops the ball
The NFC East is one of the competitive divisions in football. The Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles are always embroiled in a fight for top spot. Games between the teams are often tense affairs and can be decided by moments of brilliance or stupidity.
One such incident came in the 2008 regular season meeting between the Cowboys and the Eagles when DeSean Jackson caught a deep pass from Donovan McNabb. It should have been a simple catch and score, but the receiver began his celebrations too soon, dropping the ball before crossing the goalline. However, it didn’t cost his team too much as Dallas did not gather the fumble.
The Steelers were 7-6 down in the dying stages when Terry Bradshaw threw the ball downfield. Raiders’ defender Jack Tatum collided with the intended target John Fuqua, appearing to knock the ball to the ground. However, Steelers running back Franco Harris picked the ball millimetres off the deck and ran all the way for an incredible game-winning touchdown.