1937 NFL season

The 1937 NFL season was the 18th regular season of the National Football League. The Cleveland Rams joined the league as an expansion team. Meanwhile, the Redskins relocated from Boston to Washington, D.C.

The season ended when the Redskins, led by rookie quarterback Sammy Baugh, defeated the Chicago Bears in the NFL Championship Game.

1937 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 5 – December 12, 1937
East ChampionsWashington Redskins
West ChampionsChicago Bears
Championship Game
ChampionsWashington Redskins

Major rule changes

  • All players are required to wear numerals on their jerseys whose color must be in sharp contrast with the jersey color. The numbers on the front must be at least 6 inches (150 mm) while the ones on the back must be at least 8 inches (200 mm).
  • If a kickoff goes out of bounds, the ball is put in play either on the opponent's 35-yard line or 10 yards from the spot where it crossed the sideline.
  • The penalty for an illegal forward pass that is thrown beyond the line of scrimmage is a loss of down and five yards from the spot of the foul.

Division races

Midway through the NFL's 11-game season, the Bears were unbeaten (5–0) in the Western Division, while the Giants were leaders in the Eastern (4–1), and they played to a 3–3 tie. The Giants and Bears continued to stay in the lead in their divisions, and the Bears clinched a spot in the title game with its 13–0 win over Detroit. On December 5, the final game of the season had Washington (7–3 and .700) traveling to New York (6–2–2 and .750). A win or a tie would have given the Giants the Eastern title; the Redskins triumphed, 49–14, and got the division crown and the trip to face Chicago in the 1937 championship game.

Final standings

W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT= Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against Note: The NFL did not officially count tie games in the standings until 1972

Eastern Division
Washington Redskins 8 3 0 .727 195 120
New York Giants 6 3 2 .667 128 109
Pittsburgh Pirates 4 7 0 .364 122 145
Brooklyn Dodgers 3 7 1 .300 82 174
Philadelphia Eagles 2 8 1 .200 86 177
Western Division
Chicago Bears 9 1 1 .900 201 100
Green Bay Packers 7 4 0 .636 220 122
Detroit Lions 7 4 0 .636 180 105
Chicago Cardinals 5 5 1 .500 135 165
Cleveland Rams 1 10 0 .091 75 207

NFL Championship Game

Washington 28, Chi. Bears 21, at Wrigley Field, Chicago, December 12, 1937

League leaders

Statistic Name Team Yards
Passing Sammy Baugh Washington 1127
Rushing Cliff Battles Washington 874
Receiving Gaynell Tinsley Chicago Cardinals 675


The 1937 NFL Draft was held on December 12, 1936 at New York City's Hotel Lincoln. With the first pick, the Philadelphia Eagles selected runningback Sam Francis from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Coaching changes


  • 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)

See also

1937 All-Pro Team

The 1937 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 1937 NFL season. Teams were selected by, among others, the NFL coaches (NFL), the International News Service (INS), the United Press (UP), Collyer's Eye (CE), and the New York Daily News (NYDN).Four players were selected for the first team by all five selectors: Detroit Lions quarterback Dutch Clark; Green Bay Packers fullback Clarke Hinkle; Washington Redskins tackle Turk Edwards; and Chicago Bears guard George Musso. Three others were named to the first team by four selectors: Washington Redskins Sammy Baugh (NFL, INS, UP, NYDN; selected as a halfback); Chicago Cardinals end Gaynell Tinsley (NFL, UP, CE, NYDN); and Chicago Bears tackle Joe Stydahar (NFL, UP, CE, NYDN). Three more were selected by three selectors: Washington Redskins halfback Cliff Battles (NFL, INS, NYDN); Green Bay Packers end Don Hutson (INS, CE, NYDN); and New York Giants center Mel Hein (NFL, INS, NYDN).

1937 American Football League season

The 1937 American Football League season is the second season of the second edition of the AFL. After the folding of the Syracuse/Rochester Braves in the 1936 season and the departure of the Cleveland Rams for the National Football League, the league added the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Bulldogs, the latter being the first professional football team to play its home games on the American West Coast.The season got off to a rocky start, with the Pittsburgh Americans folding after playing only three games. After a 1936 move from Brooklyn, the Rochester Tigers limped through with a paucity of fan support. The defending champion Boston Shamrocks and 1936 contender New York Yankees were hit hard by the raiding of their rosters by the NFL, a counterpoint to the latter's method of building its squad; as a result, both wound up with losing records (Boston's 2-5-0 and New York's 2-3-1). Cincinnati's Bengals almost matched the Yankees in their futility, finishing with a 2-3-2 record.Only two teams in the AFL finished with a .500 or better record in 1937: the Rochester Tigers and the team that was rejected when the NFL admitted the Rams, the Los Angeles Bulldogs The West Coast newcomers dominated the league, finishing 18-0-0, the first perfect season (no losses, no ties) by a professional football team while winning its league championship (the 1948 Cleveland Browns and the 1972 Miami Dolphins would later match the feat).

The Bulldogs had an average 14,000 attendance for its 1937 home games, comparable to the draws of the Rams, Shamrocks, and Yankees the previous year, but Cleveland's absence and decline of the other two 1936 contenders (both on the field and in the stands) proved devastating to the AFL. Of the six AFL teams, only Los Angeles made a profit. With the league owners having lost their optimism, the second American Football League came to an end. The Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Bulldogs continued their existence as independent teams while the other AFL franchises ceased to exist.

1937 Philadelphia Eagles season

The 1937 Philadelphia Eagles season was their fifth in the league. The team improved on their previous output of 1–11, winning two games. The team failed to qualify for the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.

Cliff Battles

Clifford Franklin Battles (May 1, 1910 – April 28, 1981) was an American football halfback in the National Football League (NFL). Battles was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968.

Herb Banet

Herbert Charles "Herb" Banet (October 17, 1913 – March 12, 2003) was a former American football player in the National Football League and high school basketball coach, teacher, and guidance counselor.

History of the National Football League in Los Angeles

Professional American football, especially its established top level, the National Football League (NFL), has had a long and complicated history in Los Angeles, which is the center of the second-largest media market in the United States. Los Angeles was the first city on the West Coast of the United States to host an NFL team of its own, when the former Cleveland Rams relocated to Los Angeles in 1946 and played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum ("The Coliseum") from 1946 until 1979. The Rams, after moving to suburban Anaheim, California in 1980, were joined in the Los Angeles metropolitan area by the Los Angeles Raiders when that team moved into the Coliseum in 1982. A combination of a split fan base and earthquake damage to the Coliseum prompted both teams to leave Los Angeles simultaneously prior to the 1995 season. The Raiders returned to their original home of Oakland, California, while the Rams began a 21-year tenure in St. Louis, Missouri.

The two-decade span in which Los Angeles lacked an NFL team was brought on in part by the obsolescence of Los Angeles's existing stadiums, the unwillingness of the league to add expansion teams after 2002 (when the Houston Texans were founded) or relocate any other teams, and an inability to agree on a plan to build a new stadium, despite several proposals that received full regulatory approval but never landed a team willing to relocate under the developers' terms. The threat of a relocation to Los Angeles was, in that span, used as an effective bargaining chip for teams in other, smaller markets; a team could pressure their home city into contributing more toward constructing or renovating a stadium by raising the specter of leaving for Los Angeles if their demands were not met. The league's absence from Los Angeles ended in early 2016, when the Rams received league approval to return to the area beginning at the start of the 2016 season. Currently, Los Angeles is the home of the NFL's Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, the last of whom announced their intent to return to Los Angeles from its previous home in San Diego in January 2017. The two teams will share Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park when the stadium opens in Inglewood in 2020.

In addition to the NFL, Los Angeles has been represented by almost every other high-level professional football league: the PCPFL's Los Angeles Bulldogs, the AAFC's Los Angeles Dons, the original 1960s AFL's Los Angeles Chargers (which are the same team that is currently in the NFL), the CFL's Orange County Ramblers, the WFL's Southern California Sun, the USFL's Los Angeles Express, the Arena Football League's Anaheim Piranhas, Los Angeles Cobras, Los Angeles Avengers and LA KISS, and the XFL's Los Angeles Xtreme.

List of Washington Redskins starting quarterbacks

These quarterbacks have started at least one game for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League, and its predecessors the Boston Braves (1932) and Boston Redskins (1933–1936). The Washington Redskins franchise was founded in Boston, Massachusetts as the Boston Braves, named after the local baseball franchise. The name was changed the following year to the Redskins. For the 1937 NFL season, the franchise moved to Washington, D.C., where it remains based.Of the 50 Redskins starting quarterbacks, two have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Sammy Baugh and Sonny Jurgensen.

Milt Gantenbein

Milton Edward Gantenbein (May 31, 1910 – December 18, 1988) was an American football player who played on three championship teams, as an end and as a defensive end for the Green Bay Packers from 1931 to 1940.

The former University of Wisconsin–Madison standout was a member of three National Football League (NFL) championship teams under head coach Curly Lambeau. In 1931, his rookie year, the sure-handed Gantenbein was the perfect complement to deep-threat Laverne Dilweg in Lambeau's pass-oriented offense and was a solid addition at defensive end. Green Bay's defense limited opponents to 87 points and had five shutouts, while the Packer offense compiled 291 points in fashioning a 12-2 record and winning a third league championship title in the 1931 NFL season. Gantenbein continued as a two-way starter for the next three seasons, playing in the shadow of Dilweg and John McNally.

In the 1936 NFL season, Don Hutson and Gantenbein were the main targets in the Packers' record-setting passing attack, with 34 and 15 catches respectively. The duo was also instrumental in Green Bay's 21-6 victory over the Boston Redskins in the 1936 NFL Championship Game . Gantenbein iced the game with an 8-yard touchdown reception from Arnie Herber in the third quarter.

Gantenbein was named a team captain for the 1937 squad, and he again was a stalwart in the defensive line and the team's second leading receiver with 12 catches for 237 yards (19.8 yard average) and two touchdowns. In the 1937 NFL season, Green Bay slipped to 7–4. In the 1938 NFL season, the team had an 8-3 record and made it to the 1938 NFL Championship Game, where the Packers lost 23–17 to the Giants in New York.

In the 1939 NFL season, the Green Bay Packers struggled at times but posted a 9–2 record to gain a rematch with the New York Giants for the league title in the 1939 NFL Championship Game. This time the game was played on Wisconsin soil, and Gantenbein opened the scoring with a 7-yard touchdown reception from Arnie Herber. It would be all the points the Packers needed on a cold and windy afternoon at Wisconsin State Fair Park in Milwaukee, as they crushed the Giants, 27–0.

He was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1972 and finished his career with three NFL championships, 77 receptions, 1,299 yards and eight touchdowns. Milt played in 103 regular-season games as a Packer.

With his playing days behind him, Gantenbein went on to coach football at Manhattan College in New York for several years.

Phil Handler

Philip Jacob Handler (July 21, 1908 – December 8, 1968) was an American football player and coach who spent his entire professional career in the city of Chicago. He had a seven-year, 53-game NFL playing career, during which he was named All-Pro four times. On three separate occasions, Handler served as head coach of the Chicago Cardinals, and later as an assistant coach for the Chicago Bears. He served as an assistant coach for the Cardinals when they won the 1947 NFL Championship; and with the Bears when they won the 1963 NFL Championship.

Ray Peterson (American football)

Ray Peterson (June 27, 1913 – June 14, 1999) was a player in the National Football League. He played with the Green Bay Packers during the 1937 NFL season.

Rock Reed

Joseph Thomas "Rock" Reed (August 7, 1912 – July 13, 2007) was an American football player who played as a halfback in the National Football League (NFL) for the Chicago Cardinals. He attended Louisiana State University, where he played college football for the LSU Tigers football team. He scored one touchdown in his professional career: a 45-yard lateral play against the Detroit Lions in Week 10 of the 1937 NFL season.

Tuffy Leemans

Alphonse Emil "Tuffy" Leemans (November 12, 1912 – January 19, 1979) was an American football fullback and halfback who played on both offense and defense. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978 and was named in 1969 to the NFL 1930s All-Decade Team.

A native of Superior, Wisconsin, Leemans played college football for Oregon's freshman team in 1932 and for George Washington from 1933 to 1935. He was drafted by the New York Giants in the second round of the 1936 NFL Draft and played eight years for the Giants from 1936 to 1943. He led the National Football League as a rookie with 830 rushing yards and was selected as a first-team All-Pro in 1936 and 1939. He was also selected to play in the Pro Bowl in 1938 and 1941 and helped lead the Giants to the 1938 NFL Championship and the 1939 and 1941 NFL Championship Games.

After his playing career ended, Leemans worked briefly as a backfield coach for the Giants and at George Washington. He also operated a laundry and dry cleaning business and a duckpins bowling alley.

Zud Schammel

Francis William "Zud" Schammel (August 26, 1910 – January 1973) was an American football player, born in Waterloo, Iowa. He played as a guard in the National Football League (NFL) with the Green Bay Packers during the 1937 NFL season.

1937 NFL season
Early era
Modern era

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