Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

The Most Important Game Played in Chicago

The hype surrounding next Sunday's NFC Championship Game between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers is building to a frenzy. It's only Tuesday and the newspapers, sports radio and blogs have been buzzing about this game. Only two short days after the Bears advanced to vie for a spot in Super Bowl XLV, the masses have been asking one question.

Is this Sunday's game the biggest, most important game ever played in Chicago?

When I first heard the question, I said no. Game 2 of the 2005 World Series between the Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros was the first game that came to mind. Despite still needing to win two more games in Houston to complete the sweep, this city reached a fever pitch. When I think of that game, I will always remember Paul Konerko's grand slam in the seventh inning to give the White Sox a lead they would not relinquish. Still, Chicago has two baseball teams. Our city is divided. Sadly, I realize the Chicago Cubs won't even factor into this list.

Then I thought of the Chicago Bulls of the 1990s. They won the 1992, 1996 and 1997 NBA Championship at home. The first in the old Chicago Stadium and the others at United Center. Even though Michael Jordan played here, the Bulls probably did not have as a big a following as the Bears.

In recent years, the Chicago Blackhawks have returned to glory. Out of their four Stanley Cup championships, only the 1934 and 1938 titles were won at Chicago Stadium. Those highlights are in black and white, so that was too long ago.

Finally, I thought about the Bears. What about the NFC Championship Game in January 1986? They won that game to advance to Super Bowl XX. That was the team's first time they advanced to a league championship game since the advent of the Super Bowl era. Or made the 1963 NFL Championship Game played at Wrigley Field?

So, win or lose, is this the biggest game played in Chicago?

I think if the Bears win this game it will take on a bigger importance overall in the sport minds of Chicagoans, but if defeated I think its importance will diminish with time.
stheinz   Tuesday, January 18, 2011
this is the biggest game played in chicago in my lifetime. no way does the pack get to the superbowl through soldier field. it's inconceivable.
Dave Rock   Tuesday, January 18, 2011
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