1932 NFL season

The 1932 NFL season was the 13th regular season of the National Football League. The Boston Braves (the current Washington Redskins) joined the NFL before the season, whereas the loss of the Providence Steam Roller, Cleveland Indians and Frankford Yellow Jackets dropped league membership to eight teams, the lowest in NFL history; the league also had eight teams in 1943 due to World War II.

Although the Green Bay Packers finished the season with 10 wins, the league title was determined at the time by winning percentage with ties excluded, so the Portsmouth Spartans and the Chicago Bears finished the season tied for first place (6–1). Since both games between the teams ended in ties, the NFL arranged for the first ever playoff game to determine the NFL champion.

Extremely cold weather forced the game to be moved from Wrigley Field to the indoor Chicago Stadium. The makeshift football field in the stadium was only 80 yards long with undersized endzones, forcing officials to move the goal posts to the goal line due to a lack of space to put them at the back of the end zone, as was standard in college and professional football. This change was favored by players and fans, and the goal posts were moved to the goal line as one of several rule changes the league made in 1933, with the rule lasting until 1973.

The Bears won the playoff game 9–0, which was scoreless until the fourth quarter, and as the game counted in the final standings, the Spartans finished in third place. The Spartans became the Detroit Lions in 1934.

1932 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 18 – December 11, 1932
Because the Portsmouth Spartans and the Chicago Bears finished the season tied for first place, a playoff game was held to determine the NFL champion.
ChampionsChicago Bears

Teams and head coaches

The league decreased to eight teams in 1932.

First season in NFL * Last active season ^
Team Head coach
Boston Braves * Lud Wray
Brooklyn Dodgers Benny Friedman
Chicago Bears Ralph Jones
Chicago Cardinals Jack Chevigny
Green Bay Packers Curly Lambeau
New York Giants Steve Owen
Portsmouth Spartans George Clark
Staten Island Stapletons ^ Hal Hanson

Championship race

Following the 1932 season, the NFL would be split into two divisions (later two conferences), with the champions of each meeting in a championship game.

This was the result of the end of the 1932 season, where there was a tie for first in the standings at the end of the regular season: as tied games did not count until 1972, the Spartans record of 6–1–4 and the Bears record of 6–1–6 were taken to be six wins, one loss, giving both an .857 win percentage.

Had pure win-loss differential or the current (post-1972) system of counting ties as half a win, half a loss been in place in 1932, the Packers' record of 10–3–1 (.750, +7) would have won them a fourth consecutive championship, ahead of the Spartans' 6–1–4 (.727, +5) and the Bears' 6–1–6 (.692, +5).

The Green Bay Packers were unbeaten (8–0–1) after nine games, and after the Thanksgiving weekend, their 10–1–1 record (.909) was still well ahead of Portsmouth at 5–1–4 (.833) and Chicago at 4–1–6 (.800).

In Week Twelve (December 4), the Spartans handed the Packers a 19–0 defeat, while the Bears beat the Giants 6–0. Portsmouth, at 6–1–4 (.857), took the lead, while the Packers (10–2–1) and the Bears (5–1–6) were tied for second (.833).

In Week Thirteen, the Bears hosted the Packers; a Green Bay win would have the Packers finish second with an 11–2–1 record (.846) and hand Portsmouth their first ever title. The Bears beat the Packers 9–0, meaning they finished 6–1–6, and tied for first in the standings with Portsmouth.

Though it was described as a "playoff", the Bears 9–0 win over Portsmouth on December 18 counted in the regular season standings. As such, the Bears finished at 7–1–6 (.875) and won the 1932 title, with the Packers runners-up, and the Spartans, at 6–2–4 (.750), finished third.


NFL standings
Chicago Bears 1 7 1 6 .875 160 44 W3
Green Bay Packers 10 3 1 .769 152 63 L2
Portsmouth Spartans 1 6 2 4 .750 116 71 L1
Boston Braves 4 4 2 .500 55 79 W2
New York Giants 4 6 2 .400 93 113 L1
Brooklyn Dodgers 3 9 0 .250 63 131 L4
Chicago Cardinals 2 6 2 .250 72 114 L5
Staten Island Stapletons 2 7 3 .222 93 113 L1

Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.

1 The Bears and Spartans records include the result of the 1932 NFL Playoff Game. Thus, the Spartans are ranked third with a lower winning percentage than the Packers.


Playoff Game
December 18, 1932 – Chicago Stadium
Chicago Bears9
Portsmouth Spartans0

League leaders

Statistic Name Team Yards
Passing Arnie Herber Green Bay 639
Rushing Cliff Battles Boston 576
Receiving Ray Flaherty New York 350


  • NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 1-932994-36-X)
  • NFL History 1931–1940 (Last accessed December 4, 2005)
  • Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (ISBN 0-06-270174-6)
1932 All-Pro Team

The 1932 All-Pro Team consisted of American football players chosen by various selectors for the All-Pro team of the National Football League (NFL) for the 1932 NFL season. Teams were selected by, among others, seven of the eight NFL coaches for the Associated Press (AP), the United Press, and Collyer's Eye (CE).Five players were selected for the first team by all three selectors: Portsmouth Spartans quarterback Dutch Clark; Chicago Bears fullback Bronko Nagurski; New York Giants end Ray Flaherty; Green Bay Packers tackle Cal Hubbard; and Chicago Bears guard Zuck Carlson.

Joe Lillard

Joseph Johnny Lillard Jr. (June 15, 1905 – September 18, 1978) was an American football, baseball, and basketball player. From 1932 to 1933, he was a running back for the National Football League's (NFL) Chicago Cardinals. Lillard was the last African-American, along with Ray Kemp, to play in the NFL until 1946, when Kenny Washington and Woody Strode joined the Los Angeles Rams. Lillard received the nickname "The Midnight Express" by the media. In 1933, he was responsible for almost half of the Cardinals' points.

An orphan from an early age, Lillard attended Mason City High School before moving to the University of Oregon. He played twice for the university's football team in 1931 before he was ruled ineligible by the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC) for playing semi-professional baseball. The following year, he signed with the Cardinals, but played less frequently toward the end of the season. Lillard was a leading contributor for the Cardinals in 1933, receiving praise from the Chicago Defender. His performances during the season included a game against the Chicago Bears that featured a punt return for a touchdown. However, he was ejected from two games that season for fighting, into which he was often baited by white opponents.

With the advent of an unofficial color line that excluded black players, Lillard did not play in the NFL after 1933. He remained active in football, playing for minor league and semi-professional teams, including the New York Brown Bombers, with whom he spent three seasons. Lillard was also a pitcher in Negro league baseball for five seasons from 1932 to 1944, and a guard in basketball for the future Harlem Globetrotters. After his athletic career, he became an appliance store employee and died in 1978.

Ken Wendt

Kenneth "Ken" R. Wendt (January 29, 1910 – January 19, 1982) was an American football player, jurist, and politician.

Wendt was a guard for the Chicago Cardinals of the National Football League in 1932. He then served in the Illinois General Assembly and as a judge in Cook County, Illinois.

List of NFL champions (1920–1969)

The National Football League champions, prior to the merger between the National Football League (NFL) and American Football League (AFL) in 1970, were determined by two different systems. The National Football League was established on September 17, 1920, as the American Professional Football Association (APFA). The APFA changed its name in 1922 to the National Football League, which it has retained ever since.From 1921 to 1931, the APFA/NFL determined its champion by overall win–loss record, with no playoff games; ties were not counted in the winning percentage total. The APFA did not keep records of the 1920 season; they declared the Akron Pros, who finished the season with an 8–0–3 (8 wins, 0 losses, 3 ties) record, as the league's first champions, by a vote of the owners, with the Buffalo-All Americans and Decatur Staleys also claiming the title. According to modern-tie breaking rules, the Buffalo All-Americans tied Akron for the championship. The Canton Bulldogs won two straight championships from 1922 to 1923, and the Green Bay Packers won three in a row from 1929 to 1931.There also has been controversy over the championshipships of the 1921 APFA season and the 1925 NFL season, with the Buffalo All-Americans laying claim to another championship in an incident known as the "Staley Swindle" and the Pottsville Maroons being stripped of their championship in 1925 for playing an exhibition game against college football powerhouse Notre Dame's famed Four Horsemen, leading to a last minute field goal victory for the Maroons, stunning the crowd and nation, and also put the NFL ahead of college football for the first time ever. These three disputed championships contributed to the beginning of the NFL's rich history.

The 1932 NFL season resulted in a tie for first place between the Chicago Bears and Portsmouth Spartans, and could not be resolved by the typical win–loss system. To settle the tie, a playoff game was played; Chicago won the game and the championship. The following year, the NFL split into two divisions, and the winner of each division would play in the NFL Championship Game. In 1967, the NFL and the rival AFL agreed to merge, effective following the 1969 season; as part of this deal, the NFL champion from 1966 to 1969 would play the AFL champion in an AFL–NFL World Championship Game in each of the four seasons before the completed merger. The NFL Championship Game was ended after the 1969 season, succeeded by the NFC Championship Game. The champions of that game play the champions of the AFC Championship Game in the Super Bowl to determine the NFL champion.The Green Bay Packers won the most NFL championships before the merger, winning eleven of the fifty championships. The Packers were also the only team to win three straight championships, an achievement they accomplished twice: from 1929–31 and from 1965–67. The Chicago Bears won a total of eight titles, and the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, and New York Giants each won four. The Bears recorded the largest victory in a championship game, defeating the Washington Redskins 73–0 in the 1940 NFL Championship Game; six other title games ended in a shutout as well. The Philadelphia Eagles recorded two consecutive shutouts in 1948 and 1949. New York City hosted the most championship games (eight), while the highest-attended title game was the 1955 NFL Championship Game, where 85,693 fans showed up in Los Angeles to watch the Browns beat the Rams 38–14.

List of National Football League head coaches by playoff record

At the end of the 1932 NFL season, the Portsmouth Spartans and the Chicago Bears tied for first place (6-1); under the rules at the time, standings were based on winning percentage, with ties excluded from the calculation. The Spartans and Bears had tied each other twice during the regular season, making the league's only tiebreaker useless. So the league had to make a rule change to allow another game. For the first time, the league played what amounted to a replay game to determine the NFL champion. Coach Ralph Jones led the Bears to a 9-0 victory over Coach Potsy Clark. The game is recorded as a regular season game for the teams' statistics. Three seasons later Coach Clark would lead his team to their first title, when they were the Detroit Lions.

Because it proved so popular, the 1932 NFL "Playoff Game", as it is unofficially called, started a new era for the National Football League. Beginning in the 1933 NFL season, the league was divided into divisions, and the winner of each division would meet in a playoff game to determine the champion.

The first NFL official playoff game was the 1933 NFL Championship Game between the Chicago Bears and New York Giants where Coach George "Papa Bear" Halas beat Hall of Fame Coach Steve Owen. After the 2017 season there have been a total of 549 NFL playoff games including games from the AFL, but not the AAFC. The following list shows the career postseason records for each coach that has recorded a win in the NFL playoffs from 1933 through the 2017–18 NFL playoff games.

Staten Island

Staten Island () is one of the five boroughs of New York City, in the U.S. state of New York. Located in the southwest portion of the city, the borough is separated from New Jersey by the Arthur Kill and the Kill Van Kull and from the rest of New York by New York Bay. With an estimated population of 479,458 in 2017, Staten Island is the least populated of the boroughs but is the third-largest in land area at 58.5 sq mi (152 km2). The borough also contains the southern-most point in the state, South Point.

The borough is coextensive with Richmond County and until 1975 was referred to as the Borough of Richmond. Staten Island has sometimes been called "the forgotten borough" by inhabitants who feel neglected by the city government.The North Shore—especially the neighborhoods of St. George, Tompkinsville, Clifton and Stapleton—is the most urban part of the island; it contains the designated St. George Historic District and the St. Paul's Avenue-Stapleton Heights Historic District, which feature large Victorian houses. The East Shore is home to the 2.5-mile (4 km) F.D.R. Boardwalk, the fourth-longest boardwalk in the world. The South Shore, site of the 17th-century Dutch and French Huguenot settlement, developed rapidly beginning in the 1960s and 1970s and is now mostly suburban in character. The West Shore is the least populated and most industrial part of the island.

Motor traffic can reach the borough from Brooklyn via the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and from New Jersey via the Outerbridge Crossing, Goethals Bridge and Bayonne Bridge. Staten Island has Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) bus lines and an MTA rapid transit line, the Staten Island Railway, which runs from the ferry terminal at St. George to Tottenville. Staten Island is the only borough that is not connected to the New York City Subway system. The free Staten Island Ferry connects the borough across New York Harbor to Manhattan and is a popular tourist attraction, providing views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Lower Manhattan.

Staten Island had the Fresh Kills Landfill, which was the world's largest landfill before closing in 2001, although it was temporarily reopened that year to receive debris from the September 11 attacks. The landfill is being redeveloped as Freshkills Park, an area devoted to restoring habitat; the park will become New York City's second largest public park when completed.

1932 NFL season
Early era
Modern era

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