1933 NFL Championship Game

The 1933 National Football League Championship Game was the first scheduled championship game of the National Football League (NFL) since its founding in 1920. It was played on December 17 at Wrigley Field in Chicago,[1][2] and the attendance was estimated at 25,000.[3][4]

The game was between the champions of the league's newly created divisions: the Chicago Bears (10–2–1) of the Western Division and the New York Giants (11–3) of the Eastern Division. Chicago gained the home field due to a better winning percentage in the regular season;[5] after this year the home field alternated, with the Eastern Division champion hosting in even-numbered years and the Western in odd.

Chicago scored the winning touchdown with less than two minutes to go in the fourth quarter, capping a 23–21 victory.[3][6][7] It was the Bears' second consecutive championship and third under founder and head coach George Halas.

1933 NFL Championship Game
New York Giants Chicago Bears
21 23
1234 Total
NYG 0777 21
CHI 33107 23
DateDecember 17, 1933
StadiumWrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois
RefereeTommy Hughitt
Wrigley Field is located in the United States
Wrigley Field
Wrigley Field
Location in the United States


Before the 1933 season, new Boston Redskins owner George Preston Marshall suggested to the NFL's owners that the league make some rule changes to increase the excitement of the game, including allowing passing from anywhere behind the line of scrimmage, and returning the goal posts to the goal line (which was changed in 1973). Marshall then made another proposal a couple of months later: splitting the ten-team league into two divisions of five teams each, and having the winners of each division play each other in a championship game.

Although the owners were hesitant at first, and some believed that this brash new owner thought their game needed overhauling, the logic of his arguments won out, and they were implemented.[8]

Before the season, the Giants acquired University of Michigan All-American quarterback Harry Newman, and versatile free agent halfback Ken Strong.[9] The Giants finished the regular season 11–3, first in the new "Eastern Division", and Newman, center Mel Hein, and Red Badgro were named first team All-NFL. Newman led the NFL in passes completed (53), passing yards (973), touchdown passes (11), and longest pass completion (78 yards), with his passing yards total setting an NFL record.[10][11]

The Bears went 10–2–1 and won the NFL's new Western Division, led by running backs Red Grange and Bronko Nagurski, and quarterbacked by Keith Molesworth. Nagurski and Grange combined for 810 yards rushing, and the game was the teams' third meeting of the season, with the Bears winning the teams' first regular-season match-up 14–10, and the Giants their second 3–0.[12]

Attendance for the game was 25,000, and before kickoff Newman informed officials he would be running several new trick plays in the game so they would not be confused when they saw them.[10][13]

Game summary

The Giants called their first trick play, which was similar to another that was invented much later, early in the first quarter. A shift allowed Mel Hein, the team's center, to be an eligible receiver, but instead of passing the ball to him, after the snap, Newman handed it back to him and, pretending he still had it, dropped back as though he was going to pass. Hein, with the ball hidden under his jersey, ran from the Bears 45-yard line to their 15. Hein may have been able to gain more yards, but when he saw the open field in front of him he sprinted toward the goal line instead of waiting for his blockers like he was supposed to.[14] The Giants were unable to score on this drive, as Chicago's defense tightened and they missed a field goal. Jack Manders kicked a field goal late in the first quarter, and another in the middle of the second quarter to give the Bears a 6–0 lead.[15]

New York responded with a drive in which a 30 yard run ball to Newman who then passed it back to Strong for a touchdown. Strong kicked the extra point making the game 21–16 Giants. Chicago drove to the New York 36-yard line on the ensuing drive, and Nagurski again attempted a jump pass. This time the Giants were ready for the play but were fooled when the receiver, Bill Hewitt, who they were prepared to tackle, lateraled the ball to Karr, who ran 31 yards for the touchdown with under two minutes remaining.[16] Their successful extra point attempt gave them a 23–21 lead.[13][16]

The Giants drove to their own 40-yard line on the game's final drive, but running back Dale Burnett missed a wide open Hein on another trick play. Burnett threw a wobbly pass to Hein who was standing uncovered on the Bears 30-yard line. On the game's final play Grange tackled Badgro before he could complete the lateral portion of the hook and ladder play New York was attempting. Grange diagnosed the play correctly, and wrapped up Badgro's arms rather than his legs so he could not pitch the ball to Burnett.[16]

The Bears repeated as champions with the victory, and the win marked George Halas' second title as head coach.[17]


In a story the following day, the Associated Press described it as "probably the most spectacular game of the year" and "a brilliant display of offensive power".[18]

The First Fifty Years, a 1969 book that chronicles the first half-century of the NFL, listed the 1933 NFL Championship game as the first of "Ten [Games] That Mattered."[19] The National Football League's first championship game was as good as it should have been," says the book. "There are great occasions and great games, but they rarely get together. In 1933, they did...[.] They were two good teams playing on a meterological [sic] accident, a good field in Chicago in December. About 25,000 came out, the largest crowd since Red Grange first came up, and the game they saw was worth the price." The book concludes that "the game had already shown the fast-moving, high-scoring excitement in pro football's future."



  • Referee: Tommy Hughitt
  • Umpire: Bobby Cahn
  • Head Linesman: Dan Tehan
  • Field Judge: Robert Karch [6]

The NFL had only four game officials in 1933; the back judge was added in 1947, the line judge in 1965, and the side judge in 1978.

Players' shares

The gate receipts for the game were about $21,100. Each player on the winning Bears team received about $210, while Giants players made around $140 each.[21][22]


How should I know? I was only playing.

— Harry Newman, when a linesmen asked him who won the game right after it ended.[23]


  1. ^ a b Smith, Wilfrid (December 17, 1933). "Pick U.S. champion today: Bears vs. Giants". Chicago Tribune. p. 1, part 2.
  2. ^ a b Dunkley, Charles (December 17, 1933). "Bears meet Giants for pro crown today". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. p. 5B.
  3. ^ a b Kuechle, Oliver E. (December 18, 1933). "Bears beat Giants in sensational, ripsnorting game, 23 to 21". Milwaukee Journal. p. 6, part 2.
  4. ^ Kirksey, George (December 17, 1933). "Bears win pro title in thrill-packed game". Pittsburgh Press. United Press. p. 28.
  5. ^ a b "Bears and Giants meet Sunday for pro crown". Milwaukee Journal. December 17, 1933. p. 2, sports.
  6. ^ a b Smith, Wilfrid (December 18, 1933). "Bears whip Giants, 23-21; world champions". Chicago Tribune. p. 23.
  7. ^ "Bears win pro grid league title". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. (Chicago Tribune). December 18, 1933. p. 14.
  8. ^ Gottehrer. pg. 101–2
  9. ^ Gottehrer. pg. 102–3
  10. ^ a b Gottehrer. pg. 107
  11. ^ Harry Newman Archived 2014-01-16 at the Wayback Machine, football-reference.com, accessed December 6, 2010.
  12. ^ 1933 Chicago Bears, football-reference.com, accessed December 6, 2010.
  13. ^ a b c 1933 NFL Championship Game, profootballhof.com, accessed December 6, 2010.
  14. ^ Gottehrer. pgs. 107–8
    * Pervin. pg. 9
  15. ^ Gottehrer. pg. 108
  16. ^ a b c Gottehrer. pg. 109
  17. ^ Chicago Bears, football-reference.com, accessed December 5, 2010.
  18. ^ Associated Press. Bears Cop Pro Gridiron Title by 23–21 score, The Miami News, December 18, 1933, accessed December 5, 2010.
  19. ^ The First Fifty Years: A Celebration of the National Football League in its Fiftieth Season, Simon and Schuster, Inc., Copyright 1969, ASIN B0018NJUO00, p.160
  20. ^ Gottehrer. pgs. 107–9
  21. ^ Smith, Wilfrid (December 19, 1933). "Bear players receive $210 for title". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 19.
  22. ^ "First playoff winners got $210.34 each". Chicago Tribune. December 21, 1963. p. 1, section 2.
  23. ^ Gottehrer. pg. 110
  • Gottehrer, Barry. The Giants of New York, the history of professional football's most fabulous dynasty. New York, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1963 OCLC 1356301
  • Pervin, Lawrence A. Football's New York Giants: A History. McFarland 2009 ISBN 0-7864-4268-9

Coordinates: 41°56′53″N 87°39′22″W / 41.948°N 87.656°W

1933 Chicago Cardinals season

The 1933 Chicago Cardinals season was their 14th in the National Football League. The team failed to improve on their previous year's record of 2–6–2, with only one victory and the worst record in the ten-team league. They failed to qualify for the first scheduled playoff, the 1933 NFL Championship Game.

This was the first season of ownership for attorney Charles Bidwill, who bought the team from Dr. David J. Jones for $50,000.

1933 New York Giants season

The 1933 New York Giants season was the franchise's 9th season in the National Football League.

1933 in sports

1933 in sports describes the year's events in world sport.

1934 NFL Championship Game

The 1934 National Football League Championship Game, also known as the Sneakers Game, was the second scheduled National Football League (NFL) championship game. Played at the Polo Grounds in New York City on December 9, it was the first title game for the newly created Ed Thorp Memorial Trophy. With a remarkable fourth quarter, the New York Giants defeated the Chicago Bears 30–13.The defending champion Bears entered the game undefeated at 13–0, with an 18-game winning streak. The Giants (8–5) won consecutive division titles, but had lost their final regular season game at Philadelphia. The Bears were favored to repeat as champions.A freezing rain the night before the game froze the Polo Grounds field. After Giants end Ray Flaherty remarked to head coach Steve Owen that sneakers would provide better footing on the frozen playing surface, Owen sent his friend Abe Cohen, a tailor who assisted on the Giants sideline, to Manhattan College to get some sneakers. There, Brother Jasper, the athletic director (and the later namesake of the Manhattan Jaspers) emptied the lockers of the school's basketball team. Cohen arrived in the third quarter with nine pairs of basketball sneakers from the college.The Bears led 10–3 at the half when the Giants switched to the basketball sneakers. A Chicago field goal was the only score in the third quarter, extending the lead to ten points. Early in the fourth, Giants quarterback Ed Danowski threw a touchdown pass to Ike Frankian to close the score to 13–10. (The pass was initially intercepted at the Bears' 2-yard line, but Frankian then grabbed the ball out of the defender's hands.) On the next New York drive, running back Ken Strong scored on a 42-yard touchdown run. Later an 11-yard run by Strong was turned into another touchdown for the Giants, and they scored for a final time on Danowski's 9-yard run, a fourth unanswered touchdown. New York outscored the Bears 27–0 in the fourth quarter to win 30–13.Many of the participants have been interviewed since the game took place, most notably Bronko Nagurski of the Bears and Mel Hein of the Giants. Generally, players from both sides have attributed the Giants' second half dominance to their selection of footwear. As Nagurski put it, "We immediately said something was wrong, because they suddenly had good footing and we didn't...they just out-smarted us." A mini-documentary of the game, narrated by Pat Summerall, can be seen in the 1987 video "Giants Among Men." NFL Films named the game the #8 bad weather game of all time.

Chicago Bears statistics

This page details statistics about the Chicago Bears American football team.

December 17

December 17 is the 351st day of the year (352nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 14 days remaining until the end of the year.

Harry Newman

Harry Lawrence Newman (September 5, 1909 – May 2, 2000) was an All-Pro American football quarterback. He played for the University of Michigan Wolverines (1930–32), for whom in 1932 he was a unanimous first-team All-American, and the recipient of the Douglas Fairbanks Trophy as Outstanding College Player of the Year (predecessor of the Heisman Trophy), and the Helms Athletic Foundation Player of the Year Award, he was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He then played professionally for the New York Giants (1933–35), and the Brooklyn/Rochester Tigers (1936–37).

History of the New York Giants (1925–78)

The history of the New York Giants from 1925 to 1978 covers the American football franchise from the team's inception until the conclusion of their tumultuous 1978 season. Currently members of the NFL's National Football Conference, the Giants were founded in 1925 by original owner Tim Mara in the then five-year-old NFL. Mara gave control of the team over to his two sons—Wellington and Jack—early in their lives. During this period in their history the Giants acquired four NFL championships, but also suffered some down times, including consecutive non-playoff seasons from 1964 to 1978.

In just its third season, the team finished with the best record in the league at 11–1–1 and was awarded the NFL title. In a 14-year span from 1933 to 1946, New York qualified to play in the NFL championship game eight times, winning twice. They did not win another league title until 1956, aided by a number of future Pro Football Hall of Fame players such as running back Frank Gifford, linebacker Sam Huff, and offensive tackle Roosevelt Brown. The Giants 1956 Championship team not only comprised players who would eventually find their way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but it also had a Hall of Fame coaching staff. Head coach Jim Lee Howell's staff had Vince Lombardi coaching the offense and Tom Landry coaching the defense. From 1958 to 1963, New York played in the NFL championship game five out of those six years, but failed to win. The 1958 NFL Championship game, in which they lost 23–17 in overtime to the Baltimore Colts, is credited with increasing the popularity of the NFL in the United States.

From 1964 to 1978, the Giants registered just two winning seasons and were unable to advance to the playoffs. During this period the team also traded away quarterback Fran Tarkenton, who would later lead the Minnesota Vikings to three Super Bowls and end up in the Hall of Fame. This period was characterized by the front office's bad decisions in the college draft, several ill-advised trades, and the team's fans' growing disappointment. It was not until the 1980s that the Giants would develop a consistent playoff team.

Ken Strong

Elmer Kenneth Strong (April 21, 1906 – October 5, 1979) was an American football halfback and fullback who also played minor league baseball. Considered one of the greatest all-around players in the early decades of the game, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1957 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967 and was named to the NFL 1930s All-Decade Team.

A native of West Haven, Connecticut, Strong played college baseball and football for the NYU Violets. In football, he led the country in scoring with 162 points in 1928, gained over 3,000 yards from scrimmage, and was a consensus first-team selection on the 1928 College Football All-America Team.

Strong played professional football in the National Football League (NFL) for the Staten Island Stapletons (1929–1932) and New York Giants (1933–1935, 1939, 1944–1947), and in the second American Football League for the New York Yankees (1936–1937). He led the NFL in scoring in 1934 and was selected as a first-team All-Pro in 1930, 1931, 1933, and 1934. He also played minor league baseball from 1929 to 1931, but his baseball career was cut short by a wrist injury.

Link Lyman

William Roy "Link" Lyman (November 30, 1898 – December 28, 1972), also sometimes known as Roy Lyman, was an American football player and coach.

Lyman was born in Nebraska and raised in Kansas. He played college football for the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team in 1918, 1919, and 1921. He played professional football as a tackle in the National Football League (NFL) for the Canton/Cleveland Bulldogs (1922–1925), the Frankford Yellow Jackets (1925), and the Chicago Bears (1926–1928, 1930–1932, and 1933–1934). He won four NFL championships (1922, 1923, and 1924 with the Bulldogs and 1933 with the Bears) and was selected five times as a first-team All-Pro player (1923, 1924, 1925, 1930, and 1934).

Lyman was an assistant football coach at Nebraska from 1935 to 1941 and at Creighton University in 1942. He later had a career in the insurance business. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1964. He died in an automobile crash in 1972 while driving to Las Vegas.

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.

List of National Football League quarterback playoff records

For playoff quarterback touchdown record see List of National Football League playoffs career passing touchdowns leaders.

The first official National Football League (NFL) playoff game was the 1933 NFL Championship Game between the Chicago Bears and New York Giants. A "playoff" game was played in 1932 between the Chicago Bears and Portsmouth Spartans to break a regular season tie, but is recorded in the team record books as a regular season game. Since then there have been a total over 525 NFL playoff games including games from the AFL, but not the AAFC. The following list shows career postseason records for each starting quarterback in the NFL playoffs.

Wins or losses are credited to the quarterback who started the game for each team, even if he was injured or failed to complete the game.

Note: from 1933–1949 some offenses did not employ a quarterback in the modern sense of the position. Listed below are the "primary passers" for those games, the players that passed the ball most in those games. They may not have actually started the game at quarterback. This format allows Hall of Fame quarterbacks like Sid Luckman and Sammy Baugh to maintain credit for their team's playoff records since they were obviously the top passer for their team. The players involved in such games are marked with an asterisk (*).

Max Krause

Max Joseph Krause (April 5, 1909 – July 11, 1984) was an American football running back in the National Football League (NFL) for the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins.

NFL playoff records (team)

This is a list of playoff records set by various teams in various categories in the National Football League during the Super Bowl Era.

Red Badgro

Morris Hiram "Red" Badgro (December 1, 1902 – July 13, 1998) was an American football player and football coach who also played professional baseball. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981.

A native of Orillia, Washington, he attended the University of Southern California (USC) where he played baseball, basketball, and football. He then played nine seasons of professional football as an end for the New York Yankees (1927–1928), New York Giants (1930–1935), and Brooklyn Dodgers (1936). He was selected as a first-team All-Pro in 1931, 1933, and 1934. He scored the first touchdown in the first NFL Championship Game and was a member of the 1934 New York Giants team that won the second NFL Championship Game.

Badgro also played professional baseball as an outfielder for six years from 1928 to 1933, including two seasons in Major League Baseball for the St. Louis Browns (1929–1930). After his career as an athlete was over, Badgro served as a football coach for 14 years, including stints as the ends coach for Columbia (1939–1942) and Washington (1946–1953).

Game information
  • First quarter
  • Second quarter
  • Third quarter
    • CHI – FG Manders (15 yards), 9–7 CHI
    • NYG – Max Krause 1 yard run (Strong kick), 14–9 NYG
    • CHI – Bill Karr 8-yard pass from Bronko Nagurski (Manders kick), 16–14 CHI
  • Fourth quarter
    • NYG – Strong 8-yard pass from Newman (Strong kick), 21–16 NYG
    • CHI – Karr 31-yard lateral from Bill Hewitt after 3-yard pass from Nagurski to Hewitt (Carl Brumbaugh kick), 23–21 CHI
Chicago Bears 1933 NFL champions
Retired numbers
Key personnel
Division championships (21)
Conference championships (4)
League championships (9)
Current league affiliations
Seasons (100)
Key personnel
Division championships (16)
Conference championships (11)
League championships (8)
Current league affiliations
Seasons (93)
NFL Championship Game
AFL Championship Game
AFL-NFL World Championship Games[1]
Super Bowl[2]

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