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Chalk Talk

Is Bears-Cardinals NFL's oldest rivalry?

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Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

I always hear that the Bears and Packers have the NFL's oldest rivalry. But didn't the Bears start playing against the Cardinals first?

Ross F.
Willowbrook, Illinois

Yes, they did. The Bears and Cardinals, who are the NFL's only two charter franchises still in existence, split two games in 1920 in the league's first season. The Bears didn't play the Packers for the first time until 1921. I guess you could make the argument that the Bears and Cardinals no longer have a "rivalry" like they did when both were located in Chicago and therefore the Bears and Packers have the oldest rivalry but not the oldest series. By the way, the Cardinals were originally known as the Racine Cardinals, named for the Chicago street and not the Wisconsin city. The Bears were known as the Decatur Staleys in 1920 and the Chicago Staleys in 1921 before becoming the Chicago Bears in 1922.

I'm concerned that the Bears didn't get any quarterback hits or sacks and that the secondary wasn't able to block Green Bay's passes. What can the Bears do to improve in those areas?

Bryan

Well, you're definitely on the same page as Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who identified those two aspects of the game as areas the defense must improve heading into Sunday's home game against the Cardinals. Said Fangio: "[The Packers] were just a little bit better than us at the 50-50 balls in the air and they blocked us better in the pass rush." Fangio said the key to improving the pass rush is to win more one-on-one battles up front and when it comes to breaking up passes he said: "Getting in good position is the first part of that equation. The rest is finding the ball and getting your hand on the ball."

Did Roger LeClerc briefly hold the NFL record for the longest FG (56 yards) only to have it broken the next week by Tom Dempsey?

Thornton S.

No, Roger LeClerc did not hold the record. But there are a couple of Bears connections to your question. When Tom Dempsey set the NFL mark for the longest field goal with a 63-yarder in 1970, he broke the record that had been established by the Baltimore Colts' Bert Rechichar with a 56-yarder in a 1953 win over the Bears. Rechichar's kick broke the unofficial record of 55 yards set by Paddy Driscoll of the Chicago Cardinals on a drop kick in 1924. Driscoll later played for the Bears from 1926-29 and served as the team's head coach in 1956-57.

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