1938 NFL season

The 1938 NFL season was the 19th regular season of the National Football League. The season ended when the New York Giants defeated the Green Bay Packers in the NFL Championship Game.

1938 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 9 – December 11, 1938
East ChampionsNew York Giants
West ChampionsGreen Bay Packers
Championship Game
ChampionsNew York Giants

Major rule changes

  • A new 15-yard penalty for roughing the passer is enacted.
  • If a kickoff goes out of bounds, the receiving team may opt to take possession of the ball at their own 45-yard line.
  • The penalty for a second forward pass during a play is changed from 5 yards and a loss of down to just 5 yards.[1]

Division races

In Week Seven, the Bears lost at home to the Rams, 23–21, while the Packers beat the Pirates (the future Steelers) 20–0, giving Green Bay the lead for the first time. The Packers won their next three games to clinch the Western Division.

In the Eastern Division, the Redskins led until Week Ten, when they fell to the Bears, 31–7; the Giants' 28–0 win over the Rams gave New York the division lead on November 13. The division title still came down to the last day of the regular season, December 4, when 57,461 turned out at the Polo Grounds in New York to watch the 7–2–1 Giants host the 6–2–2 Redskins. A Washington win would have made them 7–2–2 and New York 7–3–1, with the Skins as division champs. New York needed only to win or tie, and did the former, five touchdowns en route to a 36–0 victory.

Four neutral-site games were held: two at Civic Stadium in Buffalo, New York, one in Erie, Pennsylvania, and one in Charleston, West Virginia. The Buffalo games marked the league's first return to Buffalo since the folding of the Bisons in 1929.

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
New York Giants 8 2 1 .800 194 79
Washington Redskins 6 3 2 .667 148 154
Brooklyn Dodgers 4 4 3 .500 131 161
Philadelphia Eagles 5 6 0 .455 154 164
Pittsburgh Pirates 2 9 0 .182 79 169
Western Division
Green Bay Packers 8 3 0 .727 223 118
Detroit Lions 7 4 0 .636 119 108
Chicago Bears 6 5 0 .545 194 148
Cleveland Rams 4 7 0 .364 131 215
Chicago Cardinals 2 9 0 .182 111 168

NFL Championship Game

The New York Giants defeated the Green Bay Packers by a score of 23–17 at the Polo Grounds in New York City on December 11, 1938, to become the champion.

All-Star game

After being crowned champion the Giants faced a team of "Pro All-Stars", an all-star team consisting mostly of NFL players but also including three players from the Los Angeles Bulldogs, in an exhibition game at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles on January 15, 1939. The game, which the Giants won 13–10, was the first of five annual NFL all-star games held under the format (but the only one to include non-NFL players) prior to the creation of the Pro Bowl in 1951.[2]


Joe F. Carr Trophy (Most Valuable Player)   Mel Hein, Center, N.Y. Giants

League leaders

Statistic Name Team Yards
Passing Ace Parker Brooklyn 865
Rushing Whizzer White Pittsburgh 567
Receiving Don Hutson Green Bay 548


The 1938 NFL Draft was held on December 12, 1937 at Chicago's Hotel Sherman. With the first pick, the Cleveland Rams selected fullback Corbett Davis from Indiana University Bloomington.


Eastern Division

Western Division

See also


  1. ^ "NFL Championship Games – 1938: Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants". goldenrankings.com. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  2. ^ Crawford, Fred R. (1990). "The First Pro Bowl Game" (PDF). The Coffin Corner. 12 (4). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 31, 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2012.


  • 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)
1938 All-Pro Team

The 1938 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 1938 NFL season. Teams were selected by, among others, the National Professional Football Writers Association (PFW), the United Press (UP), the International News Service (INS), Collyer's Eye (CE), and the New York Daily News (NYDN).Players displayed in bold were consensus first-team selections. Four players were selected for the first team by all five selectors: New York Giants halfback Ed Danowski; Green Bay Packers fullback Clarke Hinkle; New York Giants tackle Ed Widseth; and Chicago Bears guard Dan Fortmann. Another two were selected for the first team by four selectors: Brooklyn Dodgers quarterback Ace Parker (PFW, UP, INS, NYDN); Pittsburgh Pirates halfback Byron White (PFW, UP, INS, CE); and Green Bay Packers end Don Hutson (PFW, UP, INS, NYDN). Five players were selected for the first team by three selectors: Chicago Cardinals end Gaynell Tinsley (PFW, INS, CE); Philadelphia Eagles end Bill Hewitt (UP, CE, NYDN); Chicago Bears tackle Joe Stydahar (UP, INS, NYDN); Green Bay Packers guard Russ Letlow (PFW, INS, CE); and New York Giants center Mel Hein (UP, INS, NYDN).

Bob Snyder (American football)

Robert A. Snyder (February 6, 1913 – January 4, 2001) was an American football player and coach who spent more than three decades in the sport, including his most prominent position as head coach of the National Football League's Los Angeles Rams.

Fred Borak

Fred Borak (May 30, 1913 – June 7, 2009) is a former defensive end in the National Football League. He was a member of the Green Bay Packers during the 1938 NFL season.

Lee Mulleneaux

Cecil Lee Mulleneaux (April 1, 1908 – November 14, 1985) was a player in the National Football League. He played his first season with the New York Giants. During the 1933 NFL season he played with the Cincinnati Reds before splitting the following season between the Reds and the St. Louis Gunners. For the next two seasons he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates. After a season away from the NFL, he split the 1938 NFL season between the Chicago Cardinals and the Green Bay Packers.

Leo Katalinas

Leo John Katalinas (February 5, 1914 – July 1977) was a player in the National Football League.

List of Miami Hurricanes in the NFL

The University of Miami's football program has set multiple records in producing players who go on to play in the National Football League (NFL), leading some to deem the University "NFL U".

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.

Raymond Burnett

Raymond Burnett (January 29, 1914 – July 19, 1996) was a professional American football player and coach.

A native of New Hope, Arkansas, Burnett was a standout football player for four years in basketball and football at Atkins High School from 1928 to 1931. Nicknamed "Rabbit", he starred at halfback at Arkansas Tech University and the Arkansas State Teachers College (now University of Central Arkansas), before playing the 1938 NFL season for the Chicago Cardinals.

Burnett then started his coaching career at Atkins High School in 1939, where he coached for two seasons before having his career interrupted by World War II. In 1944 he returned to coaching, taking over head coaching duties at tradition-rich Little Rock Central High School. After an unbeaten 14-0 season in 1946 his team was named mythical national high school champion.

In 1948, Burnett left Little Rock High for his alma mater Arkansas Tech, where he served as head coach for six seasons. He compiled a 30–24–3 overall record, including leading Tech to back-to-back AIC titles in 1948 and 1949. However, after some less successful seasons Burnett left Arkansas Tech to coach at North Little Rock High School from 1954 to 1956. He was inducted to the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1974.

Red Chesbro

Marcel Marcus "Red" Chesbro (August 22, 1914 – April 11, 1970) was an American football player. A native of New York, Chesbro attended Colgate University. He played college football for the Colgate Red Raiders football team and was selected by Liberty magazine as a first-team tackle on the 1936 College Football All-America Team. He also played professional football as a guard for the Cleveland Rams during the 1938 NFL season. He later became an executive with Eastner Rock Products Co. of Oriskany Falls, New York.

Roy Schoemann

Leroy Herbert Schoemann (August 30, 1914 – May 10, 1972) was a center in the National Football League. He played with the Green Bay Packers during the 1938 NFL season.

1938 NFL season
Early era
Modern era

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