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.
|1939 NFL Championship Game|
|Date||December 10, 1939|
|Stadium||Dairy Bowl (State Fair Park), West Allis, Wisconsin|
|GB – Milt Gantenbein 7 pass from Arnie Herber (Paul Engebretsen kick)||GB 7–0|
|GB – Engebretsen 29 yard field goal||GB 10–0|
|GB – Joe Laws 31 yard pass from Cecil Isbell (Engebretsen kick)||GB 17–0|
|GB – Ernie Smith 42 yard field goal||GB 20–0|
|GB – Ed Jankowski 1 yard run (Smith kick)||GB 27–0|
|Yards gained rushing (net)||56||131|
|Forward passes attempted||26||10|
|Forward passes completed||9||7|
|Yards by forward passing||98||99|
|Yards lost, attempted forward passes||12||8|
|Yards gained, run back of intercepted passes||27||39|
|Punting average (from scrimmage)||32||38|
|Total yards all kicks returned||98||35|
|Opponents fumbles recovered||0||0|
|Yards lost by penalties||20||50|
The Packers moved the game from Green Bay to the larger metropolitan area of Milwaukee in hopes of increasing attendance; 32,279 paid to watch. The gross gate receipts of $83,510.35 set a new record.
The title game tickets went on sale at noon on Monday, six days before the game, in both Green Bay and Milwaukee and were nearly sold out in the first 24 hours. Face value prices ranged from $1.10 to $4.40 per seat.
The gate was distributed as follows:
The Green Bay Packers played several games a year in Milwaukee for 62 seasons, from 1933 through 1994. The team played at Borchert Field in 1933, State Fair Park (in West Allis) from 1934 through 1951, Marquette Stadium in 1952, and then moved to County Stadium when it opened in 1953.
The 1939 game was the only NFL championship game played in the Milwaukee area; under head coach Vince Lombardi, the 1961, 1965, and 1967 title games were played in Green Bay at Lambeau Field ("City Stadium" in 1961). A tiebreaker playoff game was also played in Green Bay in 1965 against the Baltimore Colts to determine the Western Conference champion. In 1967, the NFL expanded to 16 teams in four divisions and all the winners went to the playoffs. In the first round, Green Bay (9–4–1) hosted the Los Angeles Rams (11–1–2) in Milwaukee at County Stadium. Under Lombardi, the Packers won all five playoff games in Wisconsin.
In 1940 and 1941, the Dairy Bowl at State Fair Park also served as the home of the Milwaukee Chiefs of the third American Football League. The 50-yard line sat where the start-finish line is currently located. The city's own entry in the NFL, the Milwaukee Badgers, lasted just five seasons, from 1922 to 1926, and played at Athletic Park, renamed Borchert Field in 1928.
The 1939 New York Giants season was the franchise's 15th season in the National Football League.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.1940 NFL Championship Game
The 1940 National Football League Championship Game, sometimes referred to as 73–0, was the eighth title game of the National Football League (NFL), played at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. on December 8, with a sellout capacity attendance of 36,034.The Chicago Bears (8–3) of the Western Division met the Washington Redskins (9–2), champions of the Eastern Division. Neither team had played in the title game since 1937, when the Redskins won a close game at Chicago's Wrigley Field. For this game in Washington, the Bears entered as slight favorites.The Bears scored eleven touchdowns and won 73–0, the most one-sided victory in NFL history. The game was broadcast on radio by Mutual Broadcasting System, the first NFL title game broadcast nationwide.Dick Weisgerber
Richard Arthur "Dick" Weisgerber (February 19, 1915 – June 1, 1984) was a player in the National Football League. He played four seasons with the Green Bay Packers.Born in Kearny, New Jersey, Weisgerber was raised in Newark and played high school football at Saint Benedict's Prep School, earning grades sufficient to be admitted to Oregon's Willamette College (now known as Willamette University).Willamette coach Spec Keene used Weisgerber as a defensive back, fullback and kicker, leading the nation in extras points as a freshman in 1934. With 13 touchdowns (including two touchdowns scored in the final game of the season on Thanksgiving day against Whitman College), 14 extra points and two field goals, Weisgerber scored a total of 98 points in his 10 games played during the 1936 collegiate football season for Willamette, the second-most of any player in the nation behind Norman Schoen of Baldwin Wallace University, who scored 117 points—primarily on 19 touchdowns—in an eight game schedule on a team that led the nation with 330 points scored.Weisgerber joined the Packers for the 1938 season and played on the team that won the 1939 NFL Championship Game against the New York Giants, avenging a loss in the previous year's title game. In his four seasons with the Packers, Weisgerber played 27 games (seven of them as a starter) and had a career record of 34 rushing yards on 11 carries, a single reception for 27 yards, four interceptions and made both of the extra points he attempted.During the 1941 season, Weisgerber return to Willamette, where he became an assistant coach to Spec Keene. The team finished the season with an 8-2 record, including five wins against the teams in the Northwestern Conference, where Willamette outscored their opponents by a 218-7 margin. At the conclusion of the season the team sailed to Hawaii, where they lost to the Hawaii team by a score of 20-6 in a game played on December 6 in front of a crowd of 24,000 spectators. While waiting in front of their hotel the next morning waiting to do some sightseeing, the team found themselves in the middle of the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor. They spent the subsequent 10 days after the attack laying barbed wire and were given rifles to guard against a Japanese invasion, before being first able to leave the island on December 19 to return to the mainland.He played for the Packers in the 1942 season and then enlisted in the military, where a service-related injury prevented him from resuming his football career when he returned to civilian life after World War II.Weisgerber died at the age of 69 on June 1, 1984, in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.Fielding H. Yost
Fielding Harris Yost (; April 30, 1871 – August 20, 1946) was an American football player, coach and college athletics administrator. He served as the head football coach at: Ohio Wesleyan University, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the University of Kansas, Stanford University, San Jose State University, and the University of Michigan, compiling a college football career record of 198–35–12. During his 25 seasons as the head football coach at Ann Arbor, Yost's Michigan Wolverines won six national championships, captured ten Big Ten Conference titles, and amassed a record of 165–29–10.
From 1901 to 1905, his "Point-a-Minute" squads had a record of 55–1–1, outscoring their opponents by a margin of 2,821 to 42. The 1901 team beat Stanford, 49–0, in the 1902 Rose Bowl, the first college football bowl game. Under Yost, Michigan won four straight national championships from 1901 to 1904 and two more in 1918 and 1923.
In 1921, Yost became Michigan's athletic director and served in that capacity until 1940. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1951. Yost was also a successful business person, lawyer, and author; but he is best known as a leading figure in pioneering the development of college football into a national phenomenon.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.Milwaukee Badgers
The Milwaukee Badgers were a professional American football team, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that played in the National Football League from 1922 to 1926. The team played its home games at Athletic Park, later known as Borchert Field, on Milwaukee's north side. The team was notable for having a large number of African-American players for the time.After the team folded following the 1926 season (largely due to being left broke because of a $500 fine by the NFL for using four high-school players in a 1925 game against the Chicago Cardinals, a game arranged after the Badgers had disbanded for the season), many of its members played for the independent semi-pro Milwaukee Eagles. A few of the players from this team went on to play for the NFL's Pittsburgh Pirates in 1933. This has led some to mistakenly believe that either the Badgers or Eagles became the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Milwaukee market is now claimed by the Green Bay Packers, who played three or four regular season games there from 1933–94, including the 1939 NFL Championship Game and the 1967 NFL Championship Game. The Packers still reserve two games a season for their old Milwaukee season ticket holders, and have their flagship radio station there as well.Wisconsin State Fair Park
The Wisconsin State Fair Park is a fairgrounds and exhibition center in West Allis, Wisconsin, a suburb west of Milwaukee. It has been the location of the Wisconsin State Fair since 1892. It also hosts other venues such as the Milwaukee Mile, the oldest continuously operating motor speedway in the world, and the Pettit National Ice Center, a U.S. Olympic training facility which is independently owned.
Green Bay Packers 1939 NFL champions
|Division championships (18)|
|Conference championships (9)|
|League championships (13†)|
|Current league affiliations|
Championship seasons in bold
|Division championships (16)|
|Conference championships (11)|
|League championships (8)|
|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.