The 1938 National Football League Championship Game was the sixth championship game played in the National Football League (NFL). It was played on December 11 at the Polo Grounds in New York City, with an attendance of 48,120, a record crowd for a title game.
The game matched the New York Giants (8–2–1), champions of the Eastern Division, against the Western Division champion Green Bay Packers (8–3–0). The Giants had won the regular season game with Green Bay 15–3 at the Polo Grounds three weeks earlier on November 20, but Green Bay was without hall of fame end Don Hutson; there was no clear favorite for the title game.
This was the Giants' fourth championship game appearance, their previous victory was in the famous "Sneakers game" of 1934 and they were runners-up in 1933 and 1935. It was the Packers' second trip, winning in 1936. New York also won the 1927 NFL title when the championship was awarded to the team with the best season record. Green Bay had similarly won three straight league titles in 1929, 1930, and 1931.
After trailing two points at halftime, Green Bay took the lead in the third quarter with a short field goal, but New York responded with a touchdown and held on through a scoreless fourth quarter to win, 23–17.
With the victory, the Giants became the first team to win two championship games since the league split into two divisions in 1933. The two teams met again in the title game the following year in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with different results.
|1938 NFL Championship Game|
|Date||December 11, 1938|
|Stadium||Polo Grounds, New York City|
Sunday, December 11, 1938
Kickoff: 2 p.m. EST
The 1938 Philadelphia Eagles season was the franchise's 6th season in the National Football League (NFL). The team improved on their previous output of 2–8–1, winning five games. The team failed to qualify for the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season.1939 NFL Championship Game
The 1939 National Football League Championship Game was the seventh league championship game of the National Football League (NFL), held on December 10 at Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis, Wisconsin, a suburb west of Milwaukee.
The New York Giants (9–1–1) were the defending champions and traveled west to Wisconsin to play the Western Division champion Green Bay Packers (9–2). The teams had met in the previous year's title game in New York City, which the Giants won by six points, but did not play each other in the 1939 regular season. For the title game in Wisconsin, the Packers were favored by ten points.The host Packers scored a touchdown in the first quarter and led 7–0 at halftime. They dominated in the second half to win 27–0 and secure their fifth title—two more than any other franchise. At the time, it was the highest attended sporting event in the Milwaukee area.The "Dairy Bowl" football stadium was dedicated at halftime with the breaking of a bottle of milk. On hand were Governor Julian Heil and Mayor Daniel Hoan of Milwaukee.1939 Philadelphia Eagles season
The 1939 Philadelphia Eagles season was the franchise's 7th season in the National Football League. The team failed to improve on their previous output of 5–6, winning only one game. The team failed to qualify for the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season. The October 22 game against Brooklyn was the first NFL game to be televised.Hank Soar
Albert Henry Soar (August 17, 1914 – December 24, 2001) was an American football running back and defensive back in the National Football League who went on to have a long career as an umpire in Major League Baseball. Soar played nine seasons for the New York Giants (1937–1944, 1946), and caught the game-winning touchdown pass in the 1938 NFL Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers at the Polo Grounds.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 (*).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.
New York Giants 1938 NFL champions
|Division championships (16)|
|Conference championships (11)|
|League championships (8)|
|Current league affiliations|
Championship seasons in bold
|Division championships (18)|
|Conference championships (9)|
|League championships (13†)|
|Current league affiliations|
Championship seasons in bold
National Football League Championship Games (1933–present)
|NFL Championship Game|
|AFL Championship Game|
|AFL-NFL World Championship Games |
1 – From 1966 to 1969, the first four Super Bowls were "World Championship" games played between two independent professional football leagues, AFL and NFL, and when the league merged in 1970 the Super Bowl became the NFL Championship Game.
2 – Dates in the list denote the season, not the calendar year in which the championship game was played. For instance, Super Bowl XLI was played in 2007, but was the championship for the 2006 season.