Fan Memories from the Storied Packers vs Bears Rivalry

Read some memorable stories from Packers fans before the 200th matchup in the Packers vs Bears rivalry. 

I wanted to do something a little different for this piece given the gravity of this week’s matchup. The Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears are playing the 200th matchup between the two division rivals this Sunday at Lambeau Field. It’s the oldest, best rivalry in football, and I thought I’d let you as Packers fans tell the story this week. 

I put the idea out on Twitter first, simply “tell me a favorite memory you have about the rivalry,” and was amazed by how many responses I got. While most of our favorite memories referenced the same games or same moments, our reactions in those moments were different, and that’s what makes this rivalry so special. 

As you may expect, the Week 1 comeback against the Bears last season was a big hit. Josh Simms shared a story about watching the game with his 2-year-old son. During a rough first half, his son said “I’m sorry our team isn’t winning, daddy.” Then after Rodgers came back into the game, his son said “I’m happy our team is winning!”

Zach Kruse, writer for The Packers Wire, wrote that he would never forget the build-up from fans inside Lambeau when Randall Cobb scored his game-winning touchdown. “When he broke into the clear, the place just exploded,” wrote Kruse. “It was an incredible moment to experience live."

Paul Cook from Twitter made the Week 1 2018 game his first trip to Lambeau, and he was not disappointed. He said after Cobb scored the winning touchdown, he found himself jumping and hugging the person next to him. After the game he just stood there, unable to understand what just happened on the field. 

Fellow Cheesehead TV writer Sarah Kelliher wrote that she had waited a long time to see Aaron Rodgers play. The first chance she had, she tore her ACL in high school. The second opportunity was the Saints game in 2017, the week after Rodgers broke his collarbone. The game she finally got to watch Rodgers play in? The Week 1 comeback. 

Other fans, like Jeff Nelson, took us all the way back to 1971. That year, Jeff attended his first game at Lambeau with seats behind the Packers bench on the 50-yard line. He wrote that he could remember Ken Bowman coming to the sidelines with blood coming down his face after Dick Butkus hit him in the helmet with his forearm. 

Twitter user Nathan Schultz was literally born into the rivalry, when his mom started going into labor during the 1979 season opener. Thought the Packers lost that game 6-3, Schultz jokes that he’s been a die-hard from the start. 

Kevin Gibson remembers the 1980 Chester Marcol game as a 14-year-old boy, so excited by the game-winning touchdown that he wiped out his bike celebrating on the way to his friend’s house. 

John Linsmeier was a college student in 1980 working at a mental health center in Wausau, WI. He remembers a certain Packers vs Bears game was just entering overtime when he had to leave for a staff meeting. John writes, “meeting just started when a fellow aide knocked on the door and handed me a note - field goal blocked, recovered and scored by Chester Marcol. Pack win!”

CHTV writer Jason Perone brought up The Reversal in 1989. He writes, “Bears 13 Packers 7 with time winding down Majkowski to Sharpe initially ruled illegal pass, reversed, Packers win 14-13. 1st time Packers beat Bears in my fandom. I cried. And I rode my bike around the neighborhood screaming for a solid hour.”

Twitter user jsrand wrote about their first trip to Lambeau in 1995. They left New York when it was 59 degrees and arrived in Green Bay with it 22 degrees and snowing. Favre threw five touchdowns that game on a bad ankle. And then jsrand was lucky enough to sneak onto the field afterwards. If you’re reading this, I think we need more context on that on-field sneak in the comments…

CHTV contributor Tim Backes found magic in the entire 1996 season. “[It] was a dream come true for a young kid like me who was already super passionate about football,” he writes. “The early season game at Soldier Field is one I still think about occasionally. Absolute blowout. Don Beebe returns the opening kick for a touchdown, Favre goes absolutely nuts on the day. Huge bomb to Antonio Freeman where he dives over a defender and somehow makes the catch. Also pulls in a Hail Mary at one point. Final was something like 37-6. There have been more important/bigger games but as a kid that was so satisfying.”

Jackson Kesy also shared memories from that specific game, saying, “Packers @ Bears. Week 6 in 1996. Favre 50-yard bomb to Freeman right before the half. My dad gets up and yells, ‘we are going to the f**king Super Bowl.’ And they did.”

One of my favorite submissions came from Tom Applegarth who attended his first football game in 1997, a Packers vs Bears game in Chicago. “Fanny packs were the giveaway that day. Wannstedt went for 2 instead of kicking at the gun to tie it. They were stuffed. Bears fans absolutely launched those fanny packs at the team as they left the field.”

Wendi Hansen also had fond memories of the late-90s Packers, writing, “the one and only Packers game I saw at Lambeau was when I was 12. We played the Bears on a 60-degree day in December AND it was Reggie White’s last home game as a Packer. Such an incredible moment to share with my Dad.”

Other stories proved the dedication of sports fans everywhere. For example, Kevin Breuer recalls watching the NFC Championship Game from military training at Fort Knox. He wasn’t supposed to have his phone, and had no charger, so he kept his phone off until kickoff to conserve battery then “watched” the game using the ESPN game tracker, cheering from the back of a Humvee. What a story, Kevin! 

Another dedicated fan, Twitter user DaFunkShow, opted to turn his house into an icebox to replicate the NFC Championship game conditions. He writes, “Got in full winter gear in the living room and left all the doors and windows open in our college house in Madison to simulate Soldier Field conditions. Got it down to the 40s.”

CHTV Co-Founder Aaron Nagler wrote that his two favorite memories both occurred at Soldier Field. The first game was the monsoon Halloween night game, where he was a soaked, drunk college kid and watched Favre and Edgar Bennett run all over the Bears. His second favorite memory came during the NFC Championship Game when he had to run out of Aux Press when B.J. Raji took his interception to the house. As fellow Co-Founder Corey Behnke later added, that was their first credentialed game, too.

Some simply acknowledged funny moments within the rivalry, like Jason Didierm, who wrote, “My one and only time was at Lambeau early December. A 5-year-old girl was dragging a stuffed bear by a noose through the snow and slush-covered parking lot.” 

Kate Herrick tells a story of her husband, a devout Packers fan, getting a new job. When her husband got back from work after a vacation, they had hired an employee for him without consulting him. Turns out that new team member was a Halas. Ouch. 

Brave Chicago resident Zac Bellman told his own story from the 2013 NFC North showdown. “After Rodgers to Cobb for the NFC North, I drove from my Chicago suburb to a nearby Ditka’s restaurant, screamed ‘Go Pack Go!’ and promptly exited the establishment.” 

Another one of my favorite stories came from Tyler. He wrote, “I wanted to impress a girl I JUST started dating, so I got us tickets to the Packers/Bears Thanksgiving game Favre/Starr attended to retire #4. Got tickets for an all you can eat/drink tailgate tent to pregame. We met 2 middle aged sisters we talked to the entire pregame. Maybe it was the booze talking, but while Arika went to grab herself another brat or something, I went on to this couple about how amazing this girl is,and even though this sounds crazy, I’m pretty sure I’m gonna marry this one. Our wedding is next month in St. Thomas.” Congratulations from the CHTV crew, Tyler! 

Speaking of CHTV, Jersey Al was in attendance for Mike McCarthy’s first game as head coach in 2006. While the Packers lost 26-0, it didn’t matter to Al because it was his first ever game at Lambeau. 

Sometimes, Packers wins (or losses) help us forget about other painful sports memories, like for Tex Western of Acme Packing Co, who was out in LA for the Rose Bowl between Wisconsin and TCU. He watched the Week 17 game of 2010 at a Packers bar with a friend in Woodland Hills before flying home. He noted that it helped ease the pain of a Badger loss. 

Matub from Pack-A-Day also found support in a Packers bar. He wrote about moving to Colorado in September of 2013. In December, right at Christmas, he was 1,200 miles from friends and family, and his wife (then girlfriend) traveled home for Christmas, so he was all alone. In October, he had discovered a bar called Tony’s, which was a hole-in-the-wall downtown bar officially listed on Packers Everywhere. He decided in December that he needed to go back to Tony’s for the game, even though it would be locally televised. 

Tony’s turned out to be a bar run by a Vikings fan, with silent partners who were Bears fans, so Matub noted there was just about as much blue and orange as there was green and gold. He writes, “It was an all-day event before the game, so a couple, two, three, adult pops had been consumed by everyone present.” Of course, it was a back-and-forth game with the Bears taking an eight-point lead into the fourth quarter, but we all know what happened next. 

“I’ve never heard such a small place make such a loud noise,” wrote Matub. “My hand still hurts from all the high fives. I hugged more people in five minutes than I think I have during the rest of my life. That was the day I finally learned I didn’t have to be homesick anymore, because I had friends and family waiting to greet me every Sunday.”

Finally, I’ll share a story that was forwarded to me in an email from Patrick Aloisio. It’s too good not to share, and perfectly encapsulates the Packers vs Bears rivalry. Patrick is from Chicago and was about 12 when he began working in a sports training gym. Around the 2006 season, he was talking with his trainer when the trainer asked what his plans were for the weekend. Patrick told him that his dad had gotten tickets to watch the Packers vs Bears game, and as Patrick writes:

"This was very late in the year where it was pretty cold and also during that mini stretch of Packers missing the playoffs. So I was fully prepared for a miserable game. But being able to see my favorite team and idol Brett Favre in person, I was still as happy and optimistic as ever.

Once, I told him about the game he started smack talking how the Bears were going to win… I gladly returned the favor and defended how Favre was gonna pass all over them. Randomly he says, “I bet you wouldn’t tell that to Brian Urlacher.” Obviously with no Urlacher in sight, I doubled down and said, “Of course I would. He sucks and so does the rest of the team. Favre is gonna pass all over them.”

My trainer proceeded to take out his phone and told me, “alright I’m gonna call him right now… Yeah, hey Brian, it’s XXXX. I have a kid here who says the Packers are gonna kill you. Here he is…” as he reached out and handed me the phone.

And as my trainer was doing all of this, it felt just like when you are a very little kid and your parents tell you if you don’t eat your vegetables, they are gonna call the police, and they start having a fake convo with the police. So I was actually very annoyed at him that he thought I would fall for such a stupid prank. 

I grabbed the phone and put it up to my ear expecting the dial tone or to hear nothing… But instead I heard in the most authentic angry Brian Urlacher voice ever, “What the **** did you say about us?!” And my heart dropped into my stomach. I was so not expecting to have a smacktalk battle with any professional athlete, let alone Brian Urlacher. I swallowed hard and said “uhhhh…. Well… that Brett Favre is gonna pass all over you guys this weekend…”

And before I even finished stammering out that sentence, he went off on a minute long tirade filled with swears and insults that my 12 year-old self had never even heard of before. Haha after getting chewed out and saying nothing for the whole time, I ended the call with “Ok” and handed the phone back to the trainer with my tail between my legs.

Funny enough as it turns out, my trainer was from New Mexico and went to high school with Urlacher and was one of his closest friends, which I had no clue ahead of time. But even though I might have lost that interaction, the joke was on him because the Packers kicked their ass that game just as I had told him."

I’m not sure there’s really a better way to end it than that, right? I’m sorry I couldn’t get to everyone’s stories, this thing is already crazy long, but thank you for sharing them and I encourage you to keep sharing your stories in the comments. 

It’s matchup 200 for the Packers and the Bears. Whether you’re watching from inside Lambeau Field, a Packers bar, your 40-degree home, or maybe even the back of a Humvee, one thing is clear: Go Pack Go and the Bears still suck. Thanks for sharing all the memories, cheers to more this Sunday. 

 

Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and podcasts for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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Comments (33)

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GBPDAN1's picture

December 13, 2019 at 01:48 pm

Huge game Sunday with a playoff feel. I hope our team is ready to fight. I was back in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan the last 2 weeks and wish I was still there to attend this game. Although, this 75 degree weather today in Sherman Oaks (CA) is feeling kinda good as the day I left it was -4 when I woke up in Escanaba...lol.

Also survived the 22inches of snow in 24 hours...that was actually fun! I had a 4 wheeler and my brothers have a lot of snowmobiles. Go Pack!

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Hematite's picture

December 13, 2019 at 06:13 pm

Good to hear that you were in the U.P.

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albert999's picture

December 13, 2019 at 02:00 pm

Rodgers has to play better. He can’t sit back and wait for receivers to get wide open and must get the ball out on time. LaFleur must hold him accountable when he doesn’t.

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ironman3169's picture

December 13, 2019 at 04:40 pm

Dude.....
There are wide open receivers ALL the time! 12 just doesn’t see or throw to them because he doesn’t want 7 yards, he wants 30+. It would be okay, but he has been badly under throwing MVS, and over throwing everyone else.

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albert999's picture

December 13, 2019 at 05:10 pm

Dude
Exactly

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albert999's picture

December 13, 2019 at 05:10 pm

Dude
Exactly

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Since'61's picture

December 13, 2019 at 05:02 pm

How would you propose for MLF to hold him accountable? Scream at him when he throws an incompletion, fine him for taking a sack, bench him or chuck him? Send to bed without his supper? Rodgers play has not cost us a game, just some points that only the Fantasy Football players would be upset about.

It's easy to say, hold him accountable but the team is 10-3 so what is MLF supposed to do and why?
Thanks, Since '61

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albert999's picture

December 13, 2019 at 05:17 pm

Talk to him as his boss as he is not as HOF quarterback and show him what he can do better and make sure he does it.
Why? So he can improve and play better as expected for millions and millions of dollars
If you think Rodgers play will get us past great teams to go to the big show you should go to bed without your supper which I’m sure your use to.

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jlc1's picture

December 14, 2019 at 01:48 pm

Albert999 how about scooping up Jenkins to play QB since our current one is so rotten?

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 13, 2019 at 08:13 pm

I thought you were supposed to talk about a Bear experience through her column. Do you want to remake the Farve to Urlacher interception sometime around 2005?? Why doesn't Rodgers toss in the short zones? Sometimes the guy is breaking while a DE is bearing down or inside pressure through Lindsley/Turner. Need to get their feet and hips pointed in the rightt direction.. Rodgers would never throw into that coverage like Farve did. Cover two with fast ILBs gives your zone deep protection and let's the middle people move around. I like LaFleur's offense viewing the film. The guys are breaking open but a step too late,sorry. I took my Yellow Labrador, Oskar to a Pack vs Bear game in the 2002 season. He made great fetches of the tennis ball. Very fast dog. He hit every tailgate party on the way back on retrieve. Farve had a great game.

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albert999's picture

December 13, 2019 at 02:02 pm

Giants cut Janoris Jenkins
What about scooping him up?

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Leatherhead's picture

December 13, 2019 at 02:24 pm

I think we should dance with the girl we came with.

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Since'61's picture

December 13, 2019 at 05:05 pm

Jenkins would be lucky to make the Packers practice squad. He is a terrible corner and a problem in the locker room. I don't think that we want players from a 2-11 team who have bad attitudes. Thanks, Since '61

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albert999's picture

December 13, 2019 at 05:20 pm

U have all the answers don’t you

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 13, 2019 at 08:17 pm

Jenkins has talent. He has four picks in limited duty. Three games for 1.7 M, why not? He's better than Tramon with man to man. If he keeps his head on straight , he could make some more cash. His 2020, is not guranteed, unlike Perry's bonus.

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Lare's picture

December 13, 2019 at 02:34 pm

I lived through the 70s & 80s and have seen several Packers games live in both Milwaukee & Green Bay. But with all the great plays, games & Super Bowls the one play that sticks in my mind against the Bears was in 1986 when Charles Martin body-slammed Jim McMahon to the ground several seconds after the play was over. The play injured McMahon's shoulder which led to the Bears losing in their first-round game of the playoffs that year.

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Spock's picture

December 13, 2019 at 11:32 pm

I hated that play. It was the only time I felt embarrassed to be a Packers fan. Forest Gregg had his guys wearing "hit lists" on their sleeves and Martin's actions way, way, way after the whistle to injure McMahon -who was IMHO a jerk- forced me to feel bad about him getting injured. It was a terrible time to be a GB fan. :(

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Lphill's picture

December 13, 2019 at 02:35 pm

My first time to Lambeau was Bears Packers a gift from my wife for my 50th birthday and my sons 21 st , Sunday night game I think Packers won ,it was the game Urlacher unfortunately injured his wrist. Great memory.

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PackfanNY's picture

December 13, 2019 at 06:08 pm

I remember December 7, 1980. Bears beat the Packers 61-7. I was with my father on a train in NYC and he asked some guy if he knew the scores. This was before seeing every game and the internet The old man thought the guy lied. Sorry for bringing it up but the bitter defeats always stand out more. I hated them before that day and hated them even more from that date forward. The Fridge bulldozing George Cumby also comes to mind. Watching smug Ditka laughing at the sideline. This is what has made the Favre/Rodgers domination so glorious. I hope every single loss for them stings double.

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imnion's picture

December 13, 2019 at 06:23 pm

For me, it was probably the Majkowski reversal. Gosh. It seemed like it took the refs 10-15 minutes to decide that one. I was standing up in my living room the whole while. (Please Stand By...hohoho) Anyway, I think it was Dan Fouts as an announcer for that game and he kept saying he thought it was a good play. For some reason I thought the refs might have been listening to him.

The Raji Pick-6 was second.

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PackfanNY's picture

December 13, 2019 at 09:11 pm

Good pick. I remember that one as well. YouTube has a video of that game. Fun to watch. Stadium hadn’t been expanded and they waited so long to make the call. Crowd was standing and cheering the whole time. It was that holy cr— did you see that. I know for years the loser Bears ordered by Ditka kept an asterisk denoting “Instant replay” game. Of course, they ultimately got the call CORRECT as Majik was not past the line of scrimmage. Sore losers.

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Hematite's picture

December 13, 2019 at 06:27 pm

I attended my first Packers game at City Stadium in October 1956 against the Chicago Bears.
The Bears killed us but my Packers fandom only grew stronger from that day.
That was my 8th birthday present.
The gift that just keeps on giving.

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Tundraboy's picture

December 14, 2019 at 08:04 pm

Nice,nice story.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 13, 2019 at 08:06 pm

I remember the 100th meeting. We fumbled the kickoff but ended up winning. Maybe it was the 101st game.

I remember the 12-6 overtime win where Chester Marcol had his FG blocked right back to him and he ran around the left side for a short TD.

I remember a rookie named Sayers that shredded a defense that featured 5 HOFers.

I remember when Charles Martin tent-pegged McMahon in retaliation for Chicago’s dirty hits on our QB.

I remember slaughtering them in a Monday Night Typhoon.

I remember Cobb breaking their backs, twice.

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PackfanNY's picture

December 14, 2019 at 12:53 pm

I believe the monsoon game was Halloween Night. Absolutely destroyed them in a driving cold rain.

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Gort's picture

December 13, 2019 at 08:12 pm

My wife and I were at the Soldier Field game referenced by Tim Backes for my only Packers - Bears game. She was wearing a Bears shirt and I a Packers shirt with a cheesehead hat. The fans outside were lots of fun both before and after. We got lots of "cat calls" about mixed marriages. The Bears QB (Dave Krieg) threw a pass into the far endzone and all the Bears fans around us cheered the TD, but I was watching with binoculars and saw a great interception by Doug Evans. Beebe's KO return was coming out of halftime. Best part of the day for Bears fans was during halftime when a new postage stamp with George Halas was shown off for the fans. Thanks to pro-football-reference.com for some specific details for an old guy with fading memory.

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LeotisHarris's picture

December 13, 2019 at 08:18 pm

Really nice article, Maggie. I always enjoy reading your work. I like the way you opened this up to fans and brought it all together for us. Thank you!

My dad grew up in Chicago, and attended the Packers vs Bears game played at Wrigley Field one week after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. The Bears won that one. He served in the Army, then moved to Wisconsin and raised a family of Packers fans. Thanks, Dad!

The Majik TD pass stands out in my memory, as do the many Favre era butt-kickings after the insufferable drought and painful losses to Ditka's teams.

Living in Western Wisconsin makes games against the Vikings more stressful for me, but yes, the dislike (hatred?) for both those teams is in my DNA. Go Pack!

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Gort's picture

December 14, 2019 at 10:50 am

I grew up there listening to WIZM and their tag line "From the west coast of Wisconsin".

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

December 14, 2019 at 09:57 am

Matub, the best Packer bar in Denver has always been the Rocky Flats Tap out on Hwy93 north of Golden. Burned down a few years ago, but don’t know if they rebuilt.

One Bears memory for me was watching Majic beat them at Soldier Field on a brutally cold day in what must have been 1990. We didn’t want to leave the stadium afterwards...just partying with the Packer faithful.

About that same time I did a grad school consulting project for the Bears (still suck) out in Lake Forest. Walking in to meet with McCasky, you see their one super bowl trophy in the middle of the entry. Kinda cool, but all alone! Saw piles of VHS tapes I considered sabotaging. Went down to the locker room and saw all the players (Trace Armstrong looked so young...baby-faced). Felt like a total traitor afterwards and needed to take a shower.

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PackfanNY's picture

December 14, 2019 at 12:56 pm

Doug, maybe we could hook up their lone SB Trophy with the lonely Viking....oh yeah right...LOL

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

December 14, 2019 at 07:22 pm

How could anyone give this awesome idea a “thumbs down”? This could be big and go straight to the theaters. Brad Pitt plays me of course.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

December 14, 2019 at 07:23 pm

Don’t know how my response posted above, but...

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LeotisHarris's picture

December 14, 2019 at 06:03 pm

Doug, do you have enough content from that experience to write a memior? Very popular these days. I think you could embellish the experience, give it a behind enemy lines vibe, and make it a best seller.

Think about it. YouTube teaser trailer showing you as a shadowy figure....voiceover "from a man who cuts his own hair comes a tale of espionage...intrigue...danger...and football like you've never imagined...." ::::shot of you from behind, Packers Jacket, camera pans down to show a Bear's playbook in your hand::::..."from the editors of All the King's Men comes 'Is That Doug in Sandpoint?'...you'll never look at consulting the same way again."

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