1945 NFL season

The 1945 NFL season was the 26th regular season of the National Football League. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Cardinals resumed their traditional operations.

The Brooklyn Tigers and the Boston Yanks merged for this one season. The combined team, known simply as The Yanks, played four games at Boston's Fenway Park and one game at New York's Yankee Stadium. After Brooklyn Tigers owner Dan Topping announced his intentions to join the new All-America Football Conference, his NFL team was immediately revoked after the season and all of its players were assigned to the Boston Yanks.

The season ended when the Cleveland Rams defeated the Washington Redskins in the NFL Championship Game in Cleveland.

1945 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 23 – December 9, 1945
East ChampionsWashington Redskins
West ChampionsCleveland Rams
Championship Game
ChampionsCleveland Rams

Major rule changes

  • The inbounds lines or hashmarks were moved closer to the center of the field, from 15 yards to 20 yards from the sidelines (from 70 feet apart to 40 feet apart). This remained the standard until 1972, when the hashmarks were moved in to the width of the goalposts, 18½ feet apart.[1]
  • The player who extends his arms under the center must receive the snap or the offensive team will be penalized for a false start.
  • When a snap is muffed by the receiving player and then touches the ground, it is legally a fumble.
  • During an extra point attempt, the ball is spotted at the 2-yard line, but the offense may opt to have it be placed further from the goal line.
  • After a kicked punt crosses the line of scrimmage, the kicking team may recover the ball if it touches a member of the receiving team before they control the ball themselves.

Division races

In the Eastern Division, the Yanks were still unbeaten (2–0–1) as of Week Four; at their only Yankee Stadium game (October 14), they had a 13–10 lead until the Giants tied them 13–13. In Week Five, the Yanks' 38–14 loss to Green Bay, put them at 2–1–1, tied with 2–1–0 Washington, while in the Western race, the Rams reached 4–0–0 after a 41–21 win over the Bears. In Week Six, halfway through the ten-game season, Boston and Washington both won, putting them even at 3–1–1 and 3–1–0. The Rams' 28–14 loss to the Eagles, along with wins by the Lions and Packers, tied all teams at 4–1–0 in the west. In Week Seven, the a blocked extra point attempt gave Detroit a 10–9 win at Boston, keeping the Lions tied with the Rams (5–1–0) for the Western lead, while taking the 3–2–1 Yanks to a game behind the 4–1–0 Redskins. In Week Nine, the Rams took the lead in the Western after a 35–21 win over the Cards, while the Lions lost 35–14 to the Giants.

In Week Ten, the 7–1 Rams and the 6–2 Lions met in Detroit's Thanksgiving Day game. For the Lions it was a must-win game, but they lost 28–21; at 8–1–0, the Rams clinched the division. Days later, the 5–2 Eagles hosted the 6–1 Redskins, and the Eagles' 16–0 win tied the teams at 6–2–0 in the Eastern race. The next week, however, the Eagles lost to the Giants 28–21, while the Redskins beat the Steelers 24–0. Washington's 17–0 win over the Giants the next week clinched its division.

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
Team W L T PCT PF PA
Washington Redskins 8 2 0 .800 209 121
Philadelphia Eagles 7 3 0 .700 272 133
New York Giants 3 6 1 .333 179 198
Boston Yanks 3 6 1 .333 123 211
Pittsburgh Steelers 2 8 0 .200 79 220
Western Division
Team W L T PCT PF PA
Cleveland Rams 9 1 0 .900 244 136
Detroit Lions 7 3 0 .700 195 194
Green Bay Packers 6 4 0 .600 258 173
Chicago Bears 3 7 0 .300 192 235
Chicago Cardinals 1 9 0 .100 98 228

NFL Championship Game

Cleveland 15, Washington 14, at Cleveland Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, on December 16

Awards

Joe F. Carr Trophy (Most Valuable Player)   Bob Waterfield, Quarterback, Cleveland

League leaders

Statistic Name Team Yards
Passing Sid Luckman Chicago Bears 1727
Rushing Steve Van Buren Philadelphia 832
Receiving Jim Benton Cleveland 1067

Draft

The 1945 NFL Draft was held on April 8, 1945 at New York City's Commodore Hotel. With the first pick, the Chicago Cardinals selected halfback Charley Trippi from the University of Georgia.

Coaching changes

References

  1. ^ "Owners give offense big seven-yard boost". Rome News-Tribune. Georgia. Associated Press. March 24, 1972. p. 6A.
  • NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 1-932994-36-X)
  • NFL History 1941–1950 (Last accessed December 4, 2005)
  • Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (ISBN 0-06-270174-6)
1945 All-Pro Team

The 1945 All-Pro Team consisted of American football players who were chosen by various selectors for the All-Pro team for the 1945 football season. Teams were selected by, among others, the Associated Press (AP), the United Press (UP), the International News Service (INS), Pro Football Illustrated, and the New York Daily News (NYDN).

Abe Shires

Marshall Abraham "Abe" Shires (February 12, 1917 – July 23, 1993) was an American football player. He played college football for the Tennessee Volunteers football team and was selected by the Central Press Association as a third-team tackle on the 1940 College Football All-America Team. During Shires' three years at Tennessee (1938-1940), the Volunteers compiled a 31-2 record, won three SEC championships and two national championships, and participated in the Orange, Rose, and Sugar Bowls. He was drafted by the Cleveland Rams with the 14th pick in the 1941 NFL Draft. However, due to military service during World War II, Shires did not make his debut in the National Football League until the 1945 NFL season and as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. He was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 1995.

Al Lindow

Allen Lapham Lindow (July 9, 1919 – January 18, 1989) was a halfback in the National Football League. He was a member of the Chicago Cardinals during the 1945 NFL season.

Bob Morrow (American football)

Robert Edward Morrow (May 5, 1918 – July 9, 2003) was an American football player and coach. He played as a fullback in the National Football League (NFL). Morrow was drafted in the 12th round of the 1941 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears and played that season with the Chicago Cardinals. He played two more seasons with the team before spending a year away from the NFL. During the 1945 NFL season he was a member of the New York Giants. The following season, he played with the New York Yankees. Morrow served as the head football coach at his alma mater, Illinois Wesleyan University, from 1947 to 1950.

Bruiser Kinard

Frank Manning "Bruiser" Kinard Sr. (October 23, 1914 – September 7, 1985) was an American football tackle and coach and university athletic administrator. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a charter member in 1951 and into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971.

A native of Pelahatchie, Mississippi, he played college football for Ole Miss from 1935 to 1937. He was the first player from any Mississippi school to receive first-team All-American honors, receiving those honors in both 1936 and 1937.

Kinard was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers in the third round of the 1938 NFL Draft and played seven years in the National Football League (NFL) for the Dodgers/Tigers from 1938 to 1944. He was selected as a first-team All-Pro in six of his seven years in the NFL (1938, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, and 1944). After missing the 1945 NFL season due to wartime service in the United States Navy, he played two years in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) for the New York Yankees from 1946 to 1947 and was selected as a first-team All-AAFC player in 1946.

Kinard also served as an assistant coach for New York Yankees in 1947 and for the Ole Miss football program from 1948 to 1970, as Ole Miss' athletic director from 1971 to 1973, and as its assistant dean of student personnel from 1974 until 1978.

Charlie Mitchell (American football)

Charlie Mitchell was a defensive back in the National Football League. He was drafted in the twenty-eighth round of the 1944 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears and later played with the team during the 1945 NFL season. The following season, he played with the Green Bay Packers.

David Braden

David Braden (September 27, 1917 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin-August 2, 1980 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) was a member of the Chicago Cardinals of the National Football League during the 1945 NFL season. He attended St. John's Cathedral High School in Milwaukee before playing at the collegiate level with the Marquette Golden Avalanche.

Hal Robl

Hal Robl is a former linebacker in the National Football League, who played in two games for the Chicago Cardinals during the 1945 NFL season.

Junie Hovious

John Alexander "Junie" Hovious, Jr. (October 4, 1919 – May 7, 1998) was an American football player. He played college football for the Ole Miss Rebels football team from 1939 to 1941 and professional football for the New York Giants in 1945.

Hovious was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1919. He played college football for the Ole Miss Rebels football team from 1939 to 1941. He also lettered in baseball and basketball for Ole Miss. During his three years playing for Ole Miss, he totaled 1,017 rushing yards, scored seven touchdowns, and returned 84 career punts for 1,142 yards and two touchdowns, including a 96-yard punt return against Georgia in 1940. In 1940, he led all NCAA major college players with 498 punt return yards. He was selected as a second-team All-SEC player in 1939 and 1941, and a first-team player in 1940.He later played professional football in the National Football League, appearing in six games for the New York Giants during the 1945 NFL season. During his time with the Giants, he completed 22 of 46 passes for 373 yards and four touchdowns.After retiring as a player, Hovious served as an assistant football coach at Ole Miss from 1946 to 1974. He was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1967 and the Ole Miss Athletic Hall of Fame in 1987. He died in 1998 in Oxford, Mississippi.

Ken Snelling

Kenneth Edward Snelling (December 11, 1918 – September 17, 1994) was a fullback in the National Football League. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the seventh round of the 1943 NFL Draft and later played with the team during the 1945 NFL season.

Ray Busler

Raymond Albert Busler (January 16, 1914 – October 9, 1969) was a player in the National Football League. He first played two seasons with the Chicago Cardinals. After three years away from the NFL, he was a member of the team during the 1945 NFL season.

Steagles

The Steagles was the team created by the temporary merger of two National Football League (NFL) teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles, during the 1943 season. The teams were forced to merge because both had lost many players to military service during World War II. The league's official record book refers to the team as "Phil-Pitt Combine", but the unofficial "Steagles", despite never being registered by the NFL, has become the enduring moniker.

Vince Oliver

Vincent James Oliver (December 28, 1915 – August 28, 1985) was an American professional basketball and football player. He played in the National Basketball League for the Hammond Ciesar All-Americans in five games during the 1938–39 season. Oliver scored two total points. During the 1945 NFL season, Oliver was a back-up quarterback for the Chicago Cardinals. In three games, including one start, he threw four completions in ten attempts.

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.

1945 NFL season
Early era
(1920–1969)
Modern era
(1970–present)

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