Dottley was part of great Bears-Packers rivalry

Published 12:04 pm Thursday, January 20, 2011

When the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers meet in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on Sunday, one Vicksburg resident will have a personal stake in the proceedings.

That would be former Ole Miss great Kayo Dottley, who played for the Chicago Bears from 1951 to 1953 and played against the Packers during the reign of legendary coach George Halas.

The two teams have met 181 times, and Dottley wrote his name into the annals of the rivalry in six of those. For those keeping score at home, the Bears were 4-1-1 against their Wisconsin rivals during Dottley’s three-year tenure in Chicago. He scored his first regular-season touchdown against the Packers and had three more in his career against the Packers. His best game against the Packers was in the season opener in 1952, when he broke loose on a 44-yard run and caught a 25-yard pass in a 24-14 win.

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“They were a good rival,” Dottley said. “They were the only game we bused to because we were so close. They were one of the two teams we couldn’t lose to, and the other was the Cardinals (who were in Chicago at the time). If we lost to either, it was hell week afterwards.”

Standing out in Dottley’s memory was the night before one of those games, when he was bedridden with an illness and felt like he wouldn’t be able to hit the field. Dottley called Halas to tell him that he was sick and probably unable to play. Halas wouldn’t hear of it.

“He sent over several doctors, who hooked me up with all kinds of drips,” Dottley said. “The next day, I rushed for over 100 yards and Coach Halas said that he wouldn’t mind if I’d get sick next week, too.”

Sunday’s NFC title bout will be the first time since 1941 that the two teams have met in the playoffs. It’ll be a hard-hitting, testy football game, but in Dottley’s day, the Green Bay fans ramped it up a notch.

“I remember they played at old (Milwaukee) County stadium and it held about 40,000 or so,” Dottley said. “The bleachers were right against the end zone and if you scored, they threw everything in the world at you. Bottles. Cans. You learned to get your butt back to the sideline. You’d get back to the bench and you’d have to hold your coat over your head because they were still throwing things.”

In those days after the games, there was none of the phalanx of security who today prevent fans from entering the field.

“After games, the fans would come out on the field and were chasing us,” Dottley said. “After a game, our team would run off the field as fast as we could. We didn’t stop for nothing.”

As for Sunday, Dottley is hopeful that his former team can come out on top and win the NFC Championship trophy, which is named after his former coach. He has tickets to the Super Bowl in Arlington at Cowboys Stadium and hopes that he’ll see his old team in it.

The key, against the Packers, will be the Chicago pass rush, Dottley said. Considering how Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers sliced, diced and fileted Atlanta’s secondary for 366 yards and three touchdowns, the Bears will have to bring the heat early and often.

“I think if they can get a pass rush and hold onto the ball enough, it should be a good, close ball game,” Dottley said. “If not, we might get our butts beat. The Bears aren’t a big scoring team. The Packers are putting points up like a machine. If we don’t blitz a lot, we don’t have a chance.”

Steve Wilson is sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. You can follow him on Twitter at vpsportseditor. He can be reached at 601-636-4545, ext. 142 or at