The 1945 National Football League Championship Game was the 13th National Football League (NFL) championship game. The Cleveland Rams defeated the Washington Redskins, 15–14, at Cleveland Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, on December 16.
|1945 NFL Championship Game|
The Rams try to stay warm on the sideline at Cleveland Stadium during the 1945 NFL Championship Game.
|Date||December 16, 1945|
|Stadium||Cleveland Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio|
|Radio in the United States|
In the first quarter, the Redskins had the ball at their own 5-yard line. Dropping back into the end zone, quarterback Sammy Baugh threw, but the ball hit the goal post (which at the time were on the goal line instead of at the back of the end zone) and bounced back to the ground in the end zone. Under the rules at the time, this was ruled as a safety and thus gave the Rams a 2–0 lead.
In the second quarter, Baugh suffered bruised ribs and was replaced by Frank Filchock. Filchock threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Steve Bagarus to give the Redskins a 7–2 lead. But the Rams scored just before halftime when rookie quarterback Bob Waterfield threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Jim Benton. Waterfield's ensuing extra point was partially blocked, with the ball teetering on the crossbar, but it dropped over to give Cleveland a 9–7 lead.
In the third quarter, the Rams increased their lead when Jim Gillette scored on a 44-yard touchdown reception, but this time the extra point was missed. The Redskins then came back to cut their deficit to 15–14 with Bob Seymour's 8-yard touchdown catch from Filchock. In the fourth quarter, Washington kicker Joe Aguirre missed two field goals attempts, of 46 and 31 yards, that could have won the game.
But it was the safety that proved to be the margin of victory. Redskins owner George Preston Marshall was so upset with the outcome that he became a major force in passing the following major rule change after the season: A forward pass that strikes the goal posts is automatically ruled incomplete. This rule, which eventually became known as the "Baugh/Marshall Rule", remained in effect until 1974 when the moving of the goalposts back to the end line made it impossible to hit the goal posts with a legal forward pass, and thus made the rule dead letter.
Total revenue generated by the championship game totaled $164,542, which included $15,081 for radio broadcast rights, a new record. Of this total, $95,261 was allotted to the players, resulting of winners' shares of about $1,409 per player for the victorious Rams and $902 per player for the losing Redskins.
|CLE – Safety, Baugh's pass from end zone hit goal post||CLE 2–0|
|WAS – Bagarus 38 pass from Filchock (Aguirre kick)||WAS 7–2|
|CLE – Benton 37 pass from Waterfield (Waterfield kick)||CLE 9–7|
|CLE – Gillette 44 pass from Waterfield (kick failed)||CLE 15–7|
|WAS – Seymour 8 pass from Filchock (Aguirre kick)||CLE 15–14|
|no scoring||CLE 15–14|
First downs: Rams 14, Redskins 8
Yards rushing: Rams 44 carries for 180 yards, Redskins 34 carries for 35 yards
Passing: Rams 11-for-27 for 192 yards (2 TDs), Redskins 9-for-20 for 179 yards (2 TDs)
Return yardage: Rams 131, Redskins 155
Fumbles-Lost: Rams 1-1, Redskins 1-0
Penalties: Rams 6 for 60 yards, Redskins 4 for 29 yards
The 1946 Los Angeles Rams season was the team's ninth year with the National Football League and the first season in Los Angeles. The team moved to Los Angeles from Cleveland immediately after winning the 1945 NFL Championship Game.
The 1946 team is best remembered for its inclusion of two African-American players, halfback Kenny Washington and end Woody Strode — the first in the NFL since the 1933 season. The team finished with a record of 6-4-1, good for second place in the NFL's Western Conference.1946 NFL Championship Game
The 1946 National Football League Championship Game was the 14th annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL), played December 15 at the Polo Grounds in New York City, with a record-breaking attendance of 58,346.
The game matched the New York Giants (7–3–1), champions of the Eastern Division, against the Western Division champion Chicago Bears (8–2–1). The Giants had won the regular season game 14–0 at the Polo Grounds seven weeks earlier on October 27, but the Bears were seven to ten point favorites.
This was the fifth and final NFL Championship game played at the Polo Grounds and the fourth of six meetings between the Bears and Giants in the title game.
Tied after three quarters, Chicago won 24–14 for their seventh NFL title, their fifth victory in eight NFL championship game appearances. The attendance record stood for another nine years, until the 1955 title game in Los Angeles.Bob Waterfield
Robert Stanton Waterfield (July 26, 1920 – March 25, 1983) was an American football player and coach and motion picture actor and producer. He played quarterback for the UCLA Bruins and Cleveland/Los Angeles Rams and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965. His No. 7 jersey was retired by the Los Angeles Rams in 1952.
Born in Elmira, New York, Waterfield moved to Los Angeles as an infant. He played college football for the UCLA Bruins in 1941, 1942, and 1944. In 1942, he led UCLA to a Pacific Coast Conference championship and was selected as the quarterback on the All-Pacific Coast team.
From 1945 to 1952, he played quarterback for the Cleveland/Los Angeles Rams in the National Football League (NFL). He led the Rams to NFL championships in 1945 and 1951 and was selected as the NFL's most valuable player in 1945. He was the first-team All-Pro quarterback in 1945, 1946, and 1949. Known as one of the best passers, punters, and place-kickers in the NFL, he set NFL career place-kicking records with 315 extra points and 60 field goals, as well as a single-season record with 54 extra points in 1950, and a single-game record with five field goals in a game.
Waterfield was married to movie actress Jane Russell from 1943 to 1968. During the 1950s, Waterfield also worked in the motion picture business, initially as an actor and later as a producer. He remained involved in football as an assistant coach during the 1950s and served as the head coach of the Rams from 1960 to 1962.Chile Walsh
Charles Francis "Chile" Walsh (February 4, 1903 – September 4, 1971) was an American football player, coach, and executive. He played college football at the University of Notre Dame from 1925 to 1927 and served as the head football coach at Saint Louis University from 1930 to 1933, compiling record of 22–9–2. Walsh was a head coach in the National Football League for the St. Louis Gunners in 1934, tallying a mark of 1–2. He was also an assistant coach for the Cleveland Rams in 1942 and was named the team's head coach in 1943, however the team suspended operations that season due to manning shortages brought on by World War II.
In 1944, Walsh became the team's general manager and named Aldo Donelli as head coach. However, by 1945 Donelli had joined the military, and Walsh replaced him with his older brother, Adam, as the team's new head coach. The Rams won the NFL Championship in 1945. Just before the 1945 NFL Championship Game against the Washington Redskins, Walsh paid $7,200 for 9,000 bales of hay to prevent the field at Cleveland Stadium from freezing over. A year later the team relocated to Los Angeles, California. Walsh signed Kenny Washington, one of the first African-Americans to play in the National Football League after World War II.Cleveland Stadium
Cleveland Stadium, commonly known as Municipal Stadium or Lakefront Stadium, was a multi-purpose stadium located in Cleveland, Ohio. It was one of the early multi-purpose stadiums, built to accommodate both baseball and football. The stadium opened in 1931 and is best known as the long-time home of the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball, from 1932 to 1993, and the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL), from 1946 to 1995, in addition to hosting other teams, sports, and being a regular concert venue. The stadium was a four-time host of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, one of the host venues of the 1948 and 1954 World Series, and the site of the original Dawg Pound, Red Right 88, and The Drive.
Through most of its tenure as a baseball facility, the stadium was the largest in Major League Baseball by seating capacity, seating over 78,000 initially and over 74,000 in its final years. It was superseded only by the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum from 1958 to 1961, while it was the temporary home of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and by Mile High Stadium in 1993, the temporary home of the expansion Colorado Rockies. For football, the stadium seated approximately 80,000 people, ranking as one of the larger seating capacities in the NFL.
Former Browns owner Art Modell took over control of the stadium from the city in the 1970s and while his organization made improvements to the facility, it continued to decline. The Indians played their final game at the stadium in October 1993 and moved to Jacobs Field the following season. Although plans were announced to renovate the stadium for use by the Browns, in 1995 Modell announced his intentions to move the team to Baltimore citing the state of Cleveland Stadium as a major factor. The Browns played their final game at the stadium in December 1995. As part of an agreement between Modell, the city of Cleveland, and the NFL, the Browns were officially deactivated for three seasons and the city was required to construct a new stadium on the Cleveland Stadium site. Cleveland Stadium was demolished in 1996 to make way for FirstEnergy Stadium, which opened in 1999. Much of the debris from the demolition was placed in Lake Erie to create an artificial reef.Don Greenwood (American football)
Donald Adams Greenwood (February 18, 1921 – March 21, 1983) was a professional American football fullback and halfback who played three seasons for the Cleveland Rams and Cleveland Browns in the National Football League (NFL) and All-America Football Conference (AAFC).
Greenwood played college football at the University of Missouri and the University of Illinois, where he starred as a halfback, punter and quarterback. His first year in professional football was with the NFL's Rams in 1945, when the team won the NFL championship. The Rams moved to Los Angeles after that year, however, and Greenwood elected to stay in Cleveland, where a new team called the Cleveland Browns was under formation in the AAFC. He played two seasons for the Browns, during both of which the team won the league championship. Greenwood was plagued by injuries in 1946, and in 1947 he suffered a debilitating cheekbone fracture that ended his professional career. After retiring, he worked as a high school coach in Ohio and briefly as an assistant at Yale University. He then became the head football coach at Toledo University in Toledo, Ohio, but resigned from that position in 1951, saying the school had not done enough to counteract unnecessary violence in the game.Eagles–Redskins rivalry
The Eagles–Redskins rivalry is a rivalry between the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins of the National Football League. The rivalry began in 1934, during the time the Redskins played in Boston. The Redskins lead in all-time series 86–78–6. The Redskins have won five NFL championships including three Super Bowls, while the Eagles have won four NFL championships including one Super Bowl. Both teams were members of the NFL's Eastern Conference prior to the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, and the NFC East division since 1970. The teams have met twice annually since 1936.
The rivalry is one of the most heated rivalries in the NFL, and has featured some memorable moments in NFL history. The rivalry is most notable for the "Body Bag Game", where the Eagles knocked out eight Redskins players in a game in 1990.
The Redskins lead in all-time series 86–78–6. The Redskins have won five NFL championships including three Super Bowls, while the Eagles have won four NFL championships including one Super Bowl. The teams have met once in the Playoffs, in which the Redskins defeated the Eagles 20–6 in the 1990 NFC Wild Card round.
The rivalry can be attributed to the close proximity of Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.. It is mirrored by the National Hockey League rivalry between the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers.Fred Gehrke
Clarence Fred Gehrke (April 24, 1918 – February 9, 2002) was an American football player and executive. He played in the National Football League (NFL) for the Cleveland / Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Cardinals from 1940 through 1950. To boost team morale, Gehrke designed and painted the Los Angeles Rams logo in 1948, which was the first painted on the helmets of an NFL team. He later served as the general manager of the Denver Broncos from 1977 through 1981. He is the great-grandfather of Milwaukee Brewers left fielder, and 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich.Giants–Redskins rivalry
The Giants–Redskins rivalry is a rivalry between the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins of the National Football League. The rivalry began in 1932 with the founding of the Washington Redskins, and is the oldest rivalry in the NFC East Division. While often dismissed, particularly in recent times, this rivalry has seen periods of great competition. In particular the Giants and Redskins competed fiercely for conference and division titles in the late 1930s and early 1940s and 1980s. Perhaps most fans today recall the 1980s as the most hotly contested period between these teams, as the Redskins under Joe Gibbs and the Giants under Bill Parcells competed for division titles and Super Bowls. During this span the two teams combined to win 7 NFC East Divisional Titles, 5 Super Bowls and even duked it out in the 1986 NFC Championship Game with the Giants winning 17–0. This rivalry is storied and while it tends to be dismissed due to the Redskins' recent struggles, Wellington Mara, long time owner of the Giants, always said that he believed the Redskins were the Giants' truest rival.Despite flagging in recent years, in 2012 the rivalry intensified significantly, both on the field and off it: when, in March of that year, a special NFL commission headed by Giants owner John Mara imposed a $36 million salary cap penalty on the Redskins (and a smaller one on the Dallas Cowboys) for the organization's approach to structuring contracts in the 2010 NFL season, when there was no cap – which he publicly claimed was, if anything, too lenient, and should have cost them draft picks as well – the Redskins organization, particularly owner Daniel Snyder, were convinced that, by so disciplining divisional rivals, Mara had abused his league-wide office to advance his own teams' interests (the draft sanctions Mara sought were regarded as especially malicious, as such a punishment would have likely voided the pick-laden trade with the St. Louis Rams – completed three days before the cap penalties were announced – to acquire the #2 position, used to draft Robert Griffin III); in the week leading up to a crucial Week 13 Monday Night Football showdown eventually won by Washington, copies of Mara's quote, along with statistics implying that NFL referees were biased in the Giants' favor, were posted throughout the teams' facilities, and a smiling Snyder, within earshot of numerous media personnel, told a team employee that "I hate those motherfuckers" in the victorious locker room after the game.History of the Cleveland Rams
The professional American football team now known as the Los Angeles Rams was established in Cleveland as the Cleveland Rams, and played there from 1936 to 1945. The Rams competed in the second American Football League (AFL) for the 1936 season and the National Football League (NFL) from 1937–1945, winning the NFL championship in 1945, before moving to Los Angeles in 1946 to become the only NFL champion ever to play the following season in another city. The move of the team to Los Angeles helped to jump-start the reintegration of pro football by African-American players and opened up the West Coast to professional sports. After being based in Los Angeles for 49 years, the Rams franchise moved again after the 1994 NFL season to St. Louis. In 2016, the team moved back to Los Angeles after 21 seasons in St. Louis.History of the Washington Redskins
The Washington Redskins have played over 1,000 games. In those games, the club has won five professional American football championships including two NFL Championships and three Super Bowls. The franchise has also captured 15 NFL divisional titles and five NFC championships.The Redskins won the 1937 and 1942 Championship games, as well as Super Bowl XVII, XXII, and XXVI. They also played in and lost the 1936, 1940, 1943, and 1945 Championship games, as well as Super Bowl VII and XVIII. They have made 24 postseason appearances, and have an overall postseason record of 23 wins and 19 losses. Only five teams have appeared in more Super Bowls than the Redskins: the New England Patriots (eleven), Dallas Cowboys (eight), Pittsburgh Steelers (eight), Denver Broncos (eight), and the San Francisco 49ers (six); the Redskins’ five appearances are tied with the Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, and Green Bay Packers.All of the Redskins’ league titles were attained during two ten-year spans. From 1936 to 1945, the Redskins went to the NFL Championship six times, winning two of them. The second period lasted between 1982 and 1991 where the Redskins appeared in the postseason seven times, captured four Conference titles, and won three Super Bowls out of four appearances in that time frame.The Redskins have also experienced failure in their history. The most notable period of failure was from 1946 to 1970, during which the Redskins did not have a single postseason appearance. During this period, the Redskins went without a single winning season between 1956 and 1968. In 1961, the franchise posted their worst regular season record with a 1–12–1 showing.According to Forbes Magazine, as of 2015, the Redskins are the third most valuable franchise in the NFL, valued at approximately $2.85 billion, having been surpassed only by the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots. As of 2016 they are also the world’s eighth most valuable sports team. In 2014, they generated an estimated of $439 million in revenue and reportedly netted $125 million. They have also broken the NFL’s mark for single-season attendance six years in a row from 1999 to 2005.Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams are a professional American football team based in Los Angeles, California, and compete in the National Football League's NFC West division. The franchise won three NFL championships, and is the only one to win championships representing three different cities (Cleveland in 1945, Los Angeles in 1951, and St. Louis in 1999). The Rams play their home games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The franchise began in 1936 as the Cleveland Rams in Cleveland, Ohio. The club was owned by Homer Marshman and featured players such as William "Bud" Cooper, Harry "The Horse" Mattos, Stan Pincura, and Mike Sebastian. Damon "Buzz" Wetzel joined as general manager.The franchise moved to Los Angeles in 1946 following the 1945 NFL Championship Game victory, making way for Paul Brown's Cleveland Browns of the All-America Football Conference and becoming the only NFL championship team to play the following season in another city. The club played their home games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before moving into a reconstructed Anaheim Stadium in Orange County, California, in 1980.
The Rams left California and moved to St. Louis, Missouri, following the 1994 NFL season. Five seasons after relocating, the team won Super Bowl XXXIV in a 23–16 victory over the Tennessee Titans. They then appeared in Super Bowl XXXVI, where they lost 20–17 to the New England Patriots. The Rams played in St. Louis until the end of the 2015 NFL season, when they filed notice with the NFL of their intent to relocate back to Los Angeles. The move was agreed at an owners' meeting in January 2016, and the Rams returned to the city for the 2016 NFL season.
The Rams appeared in Super Bowl LIII, where they lost to the New England Patriots 3–13 in a rematch of Super Bowl XXXVI.Professional sports in the Western United States
Professional sports have existed in the United States since the late 19th century. The NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL have millions of fans across the nation, and are an important part of American culture. Professional sports did not enter into the American West until the mid-twentieth century. However, the expansion of professional sports into the West has helped to increase the popularity of each of the professional leagues and has changed the landscape of professional sports in America.Records for safeties in football
In gridiron football, a safety is scored when the ball becomes dead behind the goal line of the team in possession of the ball (unless the ball arrived in the end zone due to impetus from the other team). Due to their uncommon nature, there are a number of records relating to safeties.Sports in Los Angeles
The Los Angeles metropolitan area is home to several professional and collegiate sports teams. The Greater Los Angeles Area has eleven major league professional teams: the Anaheim Ducks, the Los Angeles Angels, the Los Angeles Chargers, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles FC, LA Galaxy, the Los Angeles Kings, the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Sparks, and the Los Angeles Rams. USC Trojans football, UCLA Bruins men's basketball, USC Trojans baseball, USC Trojans track & field, and Cal State Fullerton Titans baseball are all historically premier organizations in college sports. Other major sports teams include UCLA Bruins Football, Pepperdine Waves baseball, and formerly the Los Angeles Raiders and Los Angeles Aztecs. Between them, these Los Angeles area sports teams have won a combined 105 Championship Titles. Los Angeles area colleges have produced upwards of 200 National Championship Teams, primarily from USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins of the Pac-12 Conference. The 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics were held in Los Angeles. In 2028 the city will host the Olympics for a third time.Walt Zirinsky
Walter John "Walt" Zirinsky (August 1, 1920 – November 30, 2001) was an American football halfback who was a member of the Cleveland Rams team that won the 1945 NFL Championship.Washington Redskins
The Washington Redskins are a professional American football team based in the Washington metropolitan area. The Redskins compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member of the National Football Conference (NFC) East division. The team plays its home games at FedExField in Landover, Maryland; its headquarters and training facility are at Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Virginia and the Redskins Complex in Richmond, Virginia, respectively.
The Redskins have played more than one thousand games since their founding 87 years ago in 1932, and are one of only five franchises in the NFL to record over six hundred regular season and postseason wins, reaching that mark in 2015. The Redskins have won five NFL Championships (the latter three in Super Bowls), and have captured fourteen divisional titles and six conference championships. The Redskins were the first NFL franchise with an official marching band, the Redskins Band, and the first with a fight song, "Hail to the Redskins".The team began play in Boston as the Braves in 1932, and became the "Redskins" the following year. In 1937, the team relocated to Washington, D.C., where they have been based since. The Redskins won the 1937 and 1942 NFL championship games, as well as Super Bowls XVII, XXII, and XXVI. They have been league runner-up six times, losing the 1936, 1940, 1943, and 1945 title games, and Super Bowls VII and XVIII. With 24 postseason appearances, the Redskins have an overall postseason record of 23–18. Their three Super Bowl wins are tied with the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos, behind the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots (six each), San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys (five each), and the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants (four each).All of the Redskins' league titles were attained during two 10-year spans. From 1936 to 1945, the Redskins went to the NFL Championship six times, winning two of them. The second period lasted between 1982 and 1991 where the Redskins appeared in the postseason seven times, captured four Conference titles, and won three Super Bowls out of four appearances. The Redskins have also experienced failure in their history. The most notable period of general failure was from 1946 to 1970, during which the Redskins posted only four winning seasons and did not have a single postseason appearance. During this period, the Redskins went without a single winning season during the years 1956–1968. In 1961, the franchise posted their worst regular season record with a 1–12–1 showing. Since their last Super Bowl victory following the end of the 1991 season, the Redskins have only won the NFC East three times, made five postseason appearances, and had nine seasons with a winning record.
According to Forbes, the Redskins are the fourth most valuable franchise in the NFL and the tenth most valuable overall in the world as of 2018, valued at approximately US$3.1 billion. They also set the NFL record for single-season attendance in 2007, and have the top ten single-season attendance totals in the NFL. Over the team's history, the name and logo have drawn controversy, with many criticizing it as offensive to Native Americans.
Cleveland Rams 1945 NFL champions
Head coach: Adam Walsh
Owner: Dan Reeves
|Wild card berths (8)|
|Division championships (17)|
|Conference championships (7)|
|League championships (3)|
|Current league affiliations|
|Former league affiliation|
Championship seasons in bold
|Division championships (14)|
|Conference championships (5)|
|League championships (5)|
|Hall of Fame players|
|Current league affiliations|
Championship seasons in bold
National Football League Championship Games (1933–present)