The first 199 Green Bay Packers regular, preseason and postseason contests would never be bigger than the 200th, the 2010 NFC Championship Game. Barring realignment of the NFL, neither will any future matchup.
Under a mid-afternoon sun glistening off the Chicago skyline and seasonal 20 degree temperatures, the two oldest rivals in the National Football League decided a title. They had split the previous two meetings - a 20-17 Chicago victory in September and a 10-3 Packers triumph that gave Green Bay a wild card berth.
In a 2011 calendar year for Aaron Rodgers that was arguably the finest for any quarterback in the history of pro football, this was one of the few non-banner days as a passer. Rodgers completed 17 of 30 passes for 244 yards, but delivered two interceptions.
However, two plays that Rodgers did not make with his arm were critical in the Packers' victory. He ran in the first score of the game, in the first quarter. Then, on one of Rodgers' picks which was snagged by Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher, Rodgers made arguably the biggest defensive play of the 2010 season. Urlacher was on his way to a pick-six that would have tied the game when Rodgers tripped Urlacher up. The Packers' defense then put up a three-and-out and forced Chicago to punt, preserving Green Bay's lead.
What Urlacher failed to do - finish off a pick-six - B.J. Raji then did.
The 300-plus-pound defensive tackle, nicknamed "The Freezer," put third string quarterback Caleb Hanie on proverbial ice with an interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter that all but clinched Green Bay's reservation in Super Bowl XLV.
Hanie, however, put on a comeback bid with a touchdown throw to Earl Bennett and, after the last of eight consecutive Packers drives that went scoreless, Chicago got the ball back with 2:53 left and 71 yards to go to tie the game.
Chicago got with 12 yards and an extra point of a tie game. On 4th and 5 from the Green Bay 29 with 47 seconds left, Sam Shields intercepted Hanie's last throw of the day, and the Packers were finally Super Bowl bound.
Later in the locker room, cornerback Charles Woodson issued a challenge after discovering that President Barack Obama, a Bears fan, would have attended the Super Bowl if his team had won.
"The President doesn't want to come watch us in the Super Bowl?" he asked, knowing the Super Bowl champion traditionally visits the White House after the victory.
"We'll go see him!"