Mark your calendars, Packers fans.
Justin Jones has thrown down the gauntlet. The Chicago Bears defensive tackle was asked during his Tuesday media availability about the departure of Aaron Rodgers from Green Bay. He used the forum as a platform to rip into Packers fans.
“I wish he played one more year with Green Bay honestly,” Jones said of Rodgers. “We went up there, we played a pretty good game. But they got away from us at the end obviously; they won.
“But their fans are really s****y. I wanted to go back up there, I want to play them, I want to beat them. I wanted him to be there so he could see it.”
Note that Jones wasn’t asked about Packers fans. He injected his candid thoughts on them unprompted. When asked to clarify what makes Packers fans “s****y,” Jones was happy to continue.
“Just the way they’re just freaking obnoxious,” Jones said. “Just yelling and all that other stuff about things that don’t even matter. … What are we even talking about here?
“Half of them don’t even know football. It’s so weird to me. … I want to go out there, and I want to beat the hell out of them on their field. I want to hear the boos then. That’s what I look forward to.”
Those are fighting words in Green Bay, where football acumen is a prized personal trait. Packers fans aren’t likely to let this one slide. They’re also unlikely to concur with his assessment that the Bears “played a pretty good game” on their last visit to Green Bay. The Packers opened a 24-3 halftime lead en route to a 27-10 Week 2 win last season, Jones’ first with the Bears. The game “got away” from the Bears long before the final whistle.
Perhaps Jones was thinking of the Week 13 rematch in Chicago, which saw the Bears open a 19-10 lead before allowing 18 unanswered fourth-quarter points in a 28-19 Green Bay win in Rodgers’ last visit to Solider Field as Packers quarterback. Either way, the Bears lost, a fact that’s not going to escape Packers fans.
Jones made his comments on the precipice of a new power structure in the NFC North, that’s expected to be wide open this season in the post-Rodgers era. No longer is Green Bay expected to run rampant in a division it’s won in eight of the last 12 seasons.
The Bears get their first shot at the Packers in Week 1 in Chicago, a game that could set the tone for the division race. Bears quarterback Justin Fields will look to continue his ascension from 2022 as Jordan Love gets his first full-time shot as Rodgers’ successor. But Packers fans won’t have their chance to respond to Jones en masse that Sunday.
For that, they’ll have to wait until Week 18, when the Bears make their visit to Green Bay. There, fans won’t be likely to forgive or forget Jones’ words, especially if postseason stakes are on the line in the regular-season finale.