1949 NFL season

The 1949 NFL season was the 30th regular season of the National Football League. Prior to the season, Boston Yanks owner Ted Collins asked the league to fold his team due to financial woes, and give him a new one in New York City. This new team would be called the New York Bulldogs. As a result, professional football would not return to Boston until the Patriots began play in 1960.

As the regular season came to a close, a merger agreement between the NFL and the All-America Football Conference was announced on December 9. Three AAFC teams joined the NFL in 1950, the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, and Baltimore Colts.[1][2]

The season ended on December 18 with the NFL Championship Game. In muddy conditions, the visiting Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Los Angeles Rams 14–0, as heavy rain in southern California kept the attendance under 23,000 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.[3] Both teams had potent offenses, but were severely limited by the poor field conditions. The management of the Eagles and Rams had favored a postponement for a week, but were overruled by commissioner Bert Bell.[4]

1949 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 22 – December 18, 1949
East ChampionsPhiladelphia Eagles
West ChampionsLos Angeles Rams
Championship Game
ChampionsPhiladelphia Eagles

Major rule changes

  • The free substitution rule (any or all of the players may be replaced by substitutes after any play) was re-adopted for one year. The rule was previously adopted in 1943 in response to the depleted rosters during World War II, but repealed in 1946.
  • Plastic helmets allowed again, after being outlawed in 1948.

Division races

In the Eastern Division, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh both had records of 4–1–0 when they met in Week Six. The Eagles won 38–7, and kept the lead for the remainder of the season. In the Western Division, the Rams got off to a 6–0–0 start while the Bears were 3–3–0 at midseason. Though the Bears won all of their remaining games, they never caught up to the Rams, who finished at 8–2–2.

Had the current (post-1972) system of counting ties as half a win and half a loss been in place in 1949, the Rams would have required a playoff with the Bears for the Western 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
Philadelphia Eagles 11 1 0 .917 364 134
Pittsburgh Steelers 6 5 1 .545 224 214
New York Giants 6 6 0 .500 287 298
Washington Redskins 4 7 1 .364 268 339
New York Bulldogs 1 10 1 .091 153 368
Western Division
Los Angeles Rams 8 2 2 .800 360 239
Chicago Bears 9 3 0 .750 332 218
Chicago Cardinals 6 5 1 .545 360 301
Detroit Lions 4 8 0 .333 237 259
Green Bay Packers 2 10 0 .167 114 329

NFL Championship Game

Philadelphia 14, Los Angeles 0 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, December 18, 1949.[3][4]

League leaders

Statistic Name Team Yards
Passing Johnny Lujack Chicago Bears 2658
Rushing Steve Van Buren Philadelphia 1146
Receiving Bob Mann Detroit 1014


The 1949 NFL Draft was held on December 21, 1948 at Philadelphia's Bellevue-Stratford Hotel. With the first pick, the Philadelphia Eagles selected center Chuck Bednarik from the University of Pennsylvania.

Coaching changes


  1. ^ "Pro football leagues agree to merge;". Milwaukee Journal. December 10, 1949. p. 8.
  2. ^ "Four-year pro grid war ends! NFL, AAC merge". Milwaukee Sentinel. December 10, 1949. p. 4, part 2.
  3. ^ a b "Philadelphia Eagles take NFL championship with 14-0 win in rain, mud". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. December 19, 1949. p. 9.
  4. ^ a b "Eagles winners in muddy battle". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Associated Press. December 19, 1949. p. 17.
  • 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)
1949 All-Pro Team

The 1949 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 1949 NFL season. Teams were selected by, among others, the Associated Press (AP), the United Press (UP), and the New York Daily News.

Bob Mann (American football)

Robert Mann (April 8, 1924 – October 21, 2006) was an American football end. A native of New Bern, North Carolina, Mann played college football at Hampton Institute in 1942 and 1943 and at the University of Michigan in 1944, 1946 and 1947. He broke the Big Ten Conference record for receiving yardage in 1946 and again in 1947. Mann later played professional football in the National Football League (NFL) for the Detroit Lions (1948–1949) and Green Bay Packers (1950–1954). He was the first African American player for both teams.

Mann led the NFL in receiving yardage (1,014 yards) and yards per reception (15.4) in 1949. Mann was asked to take a pay cut after the 1949 season and became a "holdout" when the Lions opened practice in July 1950. He was traded to the New York Yankees in August 1950 and released three weeks later. Mann charged that he had been "railroaded" out of professional football for refusing to take a pay cut. He signed with the Green Bay Packers near the end of the 1950 NFL season and was the Packers' leading receiver in 1951. He remained with the Packers through the 1954 season. He was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1988.

After his football career, Mann became a lawyer and practiced law in Detroit.

Bob Smith (defensive back, born 1925)

James Robert "Bob" Smith (August 20, 1925 – March 1, 2002) was an American football defensive back, halfback and punter. He played in the National Football League (NFL) for the Detroit Lions from 1949 to 1954. He played for NFL championship teams in Detroit in 1952 and 1953 and was selected as a first-team All Pro after the 1952 season. He also played in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) for the Buffalo Bills (1948), Brooklyn Dodgers (1948), and Chicago Hornets (1949). Smith played college football for the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (1943, 1945), the Iowa Pre-Flight Seahawks (1944), and the Iowa Hawkeyes (1946–1947).

Charley Ewart

Charles Ewart (October 10, 1915 — April 30, 1990) was the head coach for the New York Bulldogs in the 1949 NFL season. Before the Bulldogs, Ewart was a backfield coach for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1946 and promoted to general manager for the Eagles in 1948. Outside of the National Football League, Ewart was a FBI agent during World War II and the vice president of American Bakeries Company.

Dick Hoerner

Lester Junior "Dick" Hoerner (July 25, 1922 – December 11, 2010) was an American football player. He played fullback for the University of Iowa in 1942 and 1946 and for the Los Angeles Rams from 1947 to 1951. He helped lead the Rams to three consecutive National Football League championship games from 1949 to 1951, played for the 1951 Los Angeles Rams team that won the 1951 NFL Championship Game, and was selected to play in the inaugural 1951 Pro Bowl. He was the Rams' all-time leading rusher at the end of his playing career with the team. He concluded his professional football career as a member of the Dallas Texans in 1952.

Jack Kirby (American football)

Jack Kirby was a player in the National Football League.

Ralph Olsen

Ralph Kenneth Olsen {April 10, 1924 – November 28, 1994) was an American football player coach. He played professional as defensive end in the National Football League (NFL). Olsen was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 32nd round of the 1947 NFL Draft and played with the team during the 1949 NFL season. He served as the head football coach at the Montana State School of Mines—now known as Montana Tech of the University of Montana from 1952 to 1956.

Roger Harding

Roger Paul Harding (June 11, 1923 – January 8, 2009) was a center in the National Football League.

1949 NFL season
Early era
Modern era

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