1952 NFL season

The 1952 NFL season was the 33rd regular season of the National Football League. Prior to the season, New York Yanks owner Ted Collins sold his team back to the NFL. A few days later, a new team was then awarded to an ownership group in Dallas, Texas, after it purchased the assets of the Yanks.

However, the new Dallas Texans went 1–11, and was sold back to the league midway through the season. For the team's last five games, the league operated the Texans as a road team, using Hershey, Pennsylvania, as a home base. One of their final two "home" games were held at the Rubber Bowl in Akron, Ohio, the other one played at the opposing team's (Detroit) stadium. After the season ended, the league folded the Texans, the last time an NFL team failed. This left Dallas without a professional football franchise until the births of the Dallas Cowboys and the AFL version of the Dallas Texans in 1960.

The Detroit Lions defeated the Cleveland Browns in the NFL Championship Game.

This was the last NFL season prior to the introduction of regular season overtime in 1974 that there were no ties in the regular season.

1952 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 28 –
December 14, 1952
American Conf. ChampionsCleveland Browns
National Conf. ChampionsDetroit Lions (playoff)
Championship Game
ChampionsDetroit Lions

Major rule changes

  • Offensive players will not be called for illegal motion as long as they do not move forward prior to the snap.
  • The penalty for offensive pass interference is 15 yards from the previous spot, unless the result on a fourth down play is a touchback.
  • A player who commits a palpably (obviously) unfair act is ejected from the game.

Regular season highlights

  • In Week One (September 28), the Cleveland Browns hosted a rematch of their 1951 title game loss to the Rams, which had taken place in Los Angeles. That 24–17 loss was avenged with a 37–7 win for the Browns. The NFL's newest team, the Dallas Texans, played their first game, but a crowd of only 17,499 turned out to watch the visiting Giants. The Texans scored first, on a pass from George Taliaferro to Buddy Young, two of the few African-American players in the NFL at that time. The Giants scored the rest of the points in a 24–6 win.
  • Week Three (October 12) the Giants beat the Browns 17–9, and the 49ers shut out the Lions 28–0, as both stayed unbeaten on the road.
  • Week Four (October 19) saw the 49ers stay unbeaten with a 40–18 win over the Bears, while the Chicago Cardinals spoiled the Giants' home opener, 24–23.
  • San Francisco's streak finally ended on November 2 in Week Six when the Bears visited. The 49ers were leading, 17–10 in the 4th quarter, when Frankie Albert made an unnecessary gamble in a 4th and 4 on his own 31-yard line, trying to gain yardage on a fake punt. Chicago took over on downs and tied the game three plays later, and George Blanda's 48-yard field goal gave them a 20–17 win.[1]
  • In Week Seven (November 9), the 49ers lost in New York, 23–14, while Detroit beat Pittsburgh 31–6 and Cleveland beat the Cardinals 28–13. Both conference races were tied, with the Giants and Browns in the American, and the Lions joining the 49ers in the National, all with 5–2–0 records. In Dallas, only 10,000 turned out in a drizzle to watch the Texans fall to 0–7–0 in a 27–6 loss to the Rams.[2] It proved to be the Texans' last Cotton Bowl date, and the last pro football game played in the state of Texas until 1960. After losses of $250,000 and failed attempts to get refinancing, the team's 16 stockholders surrendered the franchise three days later, the league took over its operations, and the remaining games in Dallas were moved.[3]
  • In Week Eight (November 16) the Browns had a 22–0 lead over Pittsburgh and then withstood a four touchdown passing attack by Jim Finks in a 29–28 win. A safety, caused when Finks had been sacked in the end zone earlier, was the margin of victory. With the Giants' 17–3 loss to Green Bay, Cleveland took over first place in the American Conference. Meanwhile, Detroit and San Francisco both won to stay tied in the National.
  • Week Nine (November 23) saw a seven-way tie for the NFL's best record, with more than half of the teams at 6–3–0, and only three games left in the season. The 5–3 Rams beat the 6–2 49ers 35–9, and the 5–3 Eagles beat the 6–2 Browns 28–20. The 3–5 Bears upset the visiting 6–2 Lions, 24–23, after George Blanda passed to Ed Sprinkle with 8 seconds to play. In addition, the 5–3 Giants and the 5–3 Packers won their games against Washington (14–10) and Dallas (42–14) respectively.[4]
  • This oddity only lasted a few days. Week Ten began on Thanksgiving Day, as the Lions beat the Packers 48–24. The same day, November 27, the 0–9–0 Texans played the Bears in Akron, Ohio after Dallas and Chicago were both unavailable. The Texans blew an 18-point lead, but with 0:34 to play, Frank Tripucka scored and the NFL's orphaned team registered its first (and last) win, 27–23. About 3,000 Ohioans watched the game, compared to 14,800 who packed the stadium earlier that day to watch a high school game.[5] On November 30, the Rams and 49ers, both 6–3–0, met for the second straight week, this time in San Francisco, and the L.A. team won 34–21. The NFL's two other 6–3 teams, the Eagles and the Giants, both lost on the road. The Cards beat Philly 28–22. The 3–6 Steelers, however, handed the Giants their worst defeat ever, beginning with a 91-yard return of the opening kickoff by Lynn Chandnois and ending 63–7. With that, the Browns were alone in the American race, while the Lions and Rams were tied in the National.
  • The Browns, Lions and Rams won again in Week Eleven, as did Philadelphia, but the Giants were eliminated with a 27–17 loss to Washington.
  • In the final games of the regular season (December 14) in Week Twelve, Detroit won 41–6 in the last NFL game for the Dallas Texans, and the Rams beat Pittsburgh 28–14, tying both for the American title at 9–3–0, and forcing a playoff. In the National Conference, the 7–4 Eagles were hoping for the 8–3 Browns to lose, and Cleveland fell in New York, 37–34, despite a fourth quarter comeback attempt. Playing against the last place (2–8) Redskins, the Eagles had a 21–14 lead in the fourth quarter, but Eddie LeBaron crossed the goal line with 0:18 to play, for Washington's only home win in 1952, and handing the Browns the conference title.[6]

Conference races

Week National American
1 Tie (Bears, S.F) 1–0–0 4 teams (Cle, NYG, Phi, Was) 1–0–0
2 San Francisco 49ers 2–0–0 Tie (Cle, NYG) 2–0–0
3 San Francisco 49ers 3–0–0 New York Giants 3–0–0
4 San Francisco 49ers 4–0–0 3 teams (Cards, Cle., NYG) 3–1–0
5 San Francisco 49ers 5–0–0 Cleveland Browns 4–1–0
6 San Francisco 49ers 5–1–0 Cleveland Browns 4–2–0
7 Tie (Lions, 49ers) 5–2–0 Tie (Browns, Giants) 5–2–0
8 Tie (Lions, 49ers) 6–2–0 Cleveland Browns 6–2–0
9 4 teams (Det., GB, LA, SF) 6–3–0 3 teams (Cle., NYG, Phi) 6–3–0
10 Tie (Det., LA) 7–3–0 Cleveland Browns 7–3–0
11 Tie (Det., LA) 8–3–0 Cleveland Browns 8–3–0
12 Tie (Det., LA) 9–3–0 Cleveland Browns 8–4–0

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

American Conference
Cleveland Browns 8 4 0 .667 310 213
New York Giants 7 5 0 .583 234 231
Philadelphia Eagles 7 5 0 .583 252 271
Pittsburgh Steelers 5 7 0 .417 300 273
Chicago Cardinals 4 8 0 .333 172 221
Washington Redskins 4 8 0 .333 240 287
National Conference
Detroit Lions 9 3 0 .750 344 192
Los Angeles Rams 9 3 0 .750 349 234
San Francisco 49ers 7 5 0 .583 285 221
Green Bay Packers 6 6 0 .500 295 312
Chicago Bears 5 7 0 .417 245 326
Dallas Texans 1 11 0 .083 182 427


See: 1952 NFL playoffs

Home team in capitals

National Conference Playoff Game

  • DETROIT 31, Los Angeles 21

NFL Championship Game

  • Detroit 17, CLEVELAND 7

League leaders

Statistic Name Team Yards
Passing Otto Graham Cleveland 2816
Rushing Dan Towler Los Angeles 894
Receiving Billy Howton Green Bay 1231


The 1952 NFL Draft was held on January 17, 1952 at Philadelphia's Hotel Statler. With the first pick, the Los Angeles Rams selected quarterback Bill Wade from the University of Georgia.

Coaching changes




  1. ^ "Bears Upend 49ers on Blanda's Long Boot After Albert's 4th-Quarter Gamble Fails," San Mateo Times, Nov 3, 1952, p18
  2. ^ "Outlook Good for Dead Heat In Pro Grid Loop Divisions," Corpus Christi Times, Nov 10, 1952, p19
  3. ^ "Dallas Texans Go Broke; Team Goes Back to League," The Lowell (Mass.) Sun, Nov 13, 1952, p29
  4. ^ "Seven Teams Tied For Pro Grid Leads," Oakland Tribune, Nov 24, 1952, p25
  5. ^ "Detroit Upends Packers; Dallas Posts First Win," The Athens (O.) Messenger, Nov 28, 1952, p8
  6. ^ "Eagles Deserted By 'Lady Luck'", Charleston Daily Mail, Dec 15, 1952, p16
  • NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 1-932994-36-X)
  • NFL History 1951–1960 (Last accessed December 4, 2005)
  • Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (ISBN 0-06-270174-6)
1952 All-Pro Team

The 1952 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 1952 NFL season. Teams were selected by, among others, the Associated Press (AP), the United Press (UP), and the New York Daily News.

Bob Momsen

Robert Edward "Bob" Momsen (May 28, 1929 - May 25, 2010) was an American football player. He was a first-team All-American at Ohio State in 1950.

Bud Grant

Harry Peter "Bud" Grant Jr. (born May 20, 1927) is a former head coach and player of American football, Canadian football, and a former basketball player in the NBA. Grant served as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League (NFL) for eighteen seasons; he was the team's second (1967–83) and fourth (1985) head coach. Before coaching the Vikings, he was the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League (CFL) for ten seasons, winning the Grey Cup four times. Grant is the most successful coach in Vikings history, and the third most successful professional football coach overall (behind Don Shula and George Halas), with a combined 290 wins in the NFL and CFL. Grant was elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994. He was the first coach in the history of professional football to guide teams to the Grey Cup and the Super Bowl.

Grant attended the University of Minnesota and was a three-sport athlete, in football, basketball, and baseball. After college, he played for the Minneapolis Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL, and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL.

On October 23, 2014, a statue of Grant was unveiled in front of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' new stadium, Investors Group Field.

Buddy Parker

Raymond "Buddy" Parker (December 16, 1913 – March 22, 1982) was a football player and coach in the National Football League who served as head coach for three teams: the Chicago Cardinals, the Detroit Lions and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Bulldog Turner

Clyde Douglas "Bulldog" Turner (March 10, 1919 – October 30, 1998) was an American football player and coach. He was elected, as a player, to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1960 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1966. He was also selected in 1969 to the NFL 1940s All-Decade Team.

Turner played college football as a center at Hardin–Simmons University from 1937 to 1939 and was selected as an All-American in 1939. After being selected by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 1940 NFL Draft, he played professional football for the Bears, principally as a center on offense and linebacker on defense, for 13 years from 1940 to 1952. He was selected as a first-team All-Pro eight times (1940–1944, 1946–1948) and was a member of Bears teams that won NFL championships in 1940, 1941, 1943, and 1946.

After his playing career was over, Turner held assistant coaching positions with Baylor University (1953) and the Chicago Bears (1954–1957). He was the head coach of the New York Titans of the American Football League (AFL) during the 1962 AFL season.

Casimir Witucki

Casimir "Slug" Leo Witucki (May 26, 1928 – April 19, 2015) was an American football guard in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins. He played college football at Indiana University and was drafted in the 21st round of the 1950 NFL Draft.

Cowboys–Steelers rivalry

The Cowboys–Steelers rivalry is a rivalry in the NFL. The Cowboys currently lead the all-time series 17–15. As the two teams met in the Super Bowl 3 times and play in different conferences (In which the Dallas Cowboys are in the NFC East and the Pittsburgh Steelers are in the AFC North), they only meet once every 4 regular seasons and occasionally in the preseason.

Fred Benners

Frederick Hagamann Benners (born June 22, 1930) is a former American football player. He played the 1952 NFL season for the New York Giants. Benners also played at Southern Methodist University and is considered one of the greatest Mustang players of all time.

A native of Dallas, Texas, Benners attended Highland Park High School in the Dallas suburb of University Park. In 1947 he took the Scots to the Texas state final, which his team lost 22-13 to Brackenridge High School of San Antonio. Benners then attended Sewanee, and later Southern Methodist in Dallas, where he was part in one of the greatest upsets in college football history. On October 13, 1951, SMU beat University of Notre Dame 27-20 in a rare nationally televised game, powered by Benners' historic performance, as he hit on 22 passes in 44 attempts for 326 yards and four touchdowns. “No one could have been more adroit in picking the spot for a super-duper performance,” wrote the New York Times.Already picked in the 1951 NFL Draft by the New York Giants at 97th overall, Benners played his rookie season in 1952. He then, however, left the NFL, pursuing a career as lawyer in Dallas.

George Schmidt

George Schmidt (October 28, 1927 – August 29, 1995) was an American football defensive end in the National Football League. He played professionally for the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Cardinals.

Hal Faverty

Hal Faverty is a former player in the National Football League.

Joe Skibinski

Joseph John "Joe" Skibinski (December 23, 1928 – August 18, 2015) was an American football guard who played in the National Football League. He was drafted in the fifteenth round of the 1951 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns and later played with the team during the 1952 NFL season. After two years away from the NFL, he played with the Green Bay Packers for two seasons.He was voted 2nd Team All-Big Ten following the 1951 season.

Lindy Pearson

Lindy Pearson was a player in the National Football League, with the Detroit Lions for two seasons before splitting the 1952 NFL season between the Lions and the Green Bay Packers.

National Football League franchise moves and mergers

Throughout the years, a number of teams in the National Football League (NFL) have either moved or merged.

In the early years, the NFL was not stable and teams moved frequently to survive, or were folded only to be resurrected in a different city with the same players and owners. The Great Depression era saw the movement of most surviving small-town NFL teams to the large cities to ensure survival. Franchise mergers were popular during World War II in response to the scarcity of players. Few of these relocations and mergers were accompanied with widespread controversy.

Franchise moves became far more controversial in the late 20th century when a vastly more popular NFL, free from financial instability, allowed many franchises to abandon long-held strongholds for perceived financially greener pastures. Despite a Pete Rozelle promise to Congress not to relocate franchises in return for a law exempting the league from certain aspects of antitrust laws, making possible the AFL–NFL merger, several franchises have relocated in the years since the merger and the passage of the law (Public Law 89-800) which sanctioned it.

While owners invariably cited financial difficulties as the primary factor in such moves, many fans bitterly disputed these contentions, especially in Baltimore, St. Louis, and Cleveland, each of which eventually received teams some years after their original franchises left. However, Los Angeles, the second-largest media market in the United States, did not have an NFL team from 1995 to 2015. The league had started actively promoting a return to Los Angeles no later than 2006, and in January 2016, the NFL gave the St. Louis Rams approval to move back to Los Angeles. A year later, the San Diego Chargers also relocated to the city, while the Oakland Raiders are scheduled to relocate to Las Vegas in 2019 or 2020.

Within the United States, the San Diego–Tijuana market is currently the largest metropolitan area (and only one with over 3 million residents) without an NFL franchise. The only other city to be seriously considered in the country in recent times was San Antonio, Texas, which the Raiders seriously considered as a relocation candidate in 2014 before choosing Las Vegas instead. Speculation on future relocation has mainly been centered around two larger cities outside the United States: Toronto, Canada (q.v. National Football League in Toronto) and London, England, United Kingdom (q.v. Potential London NFL franchise), the latter of which would be the first attempt by one of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada to place a team outside North America.

Additionally, with the increasing suburbanization of the U.S., the building of new stadiums and other team facilities in the suburbs instead of the central city became popular from the 1970s on, though at the turn of the 21st century a reverse shift back to the central city became somewhat evident.

Pat Cannamela

Patterson N. "Pat" Cannamela (April 27, 1929 – January 28, 1973) was an American football player. A native of New London, Connecticut, Cannamela moved west and enrolled in Ventura College in 1948 and played football there during the 1948 and 1949 season. He won a scholarship to the University of Southern California in 1950 and played at the offensive guard and linebacker positions for the USC Trojans football team during the 1950 and 1951 seasons. He was selected by the Football Writers Association of America, the International News Service, and the Newspaper Enterprise Association as a first-team player on their 1951 College Football All-America Teams. He was drafted by the Dallas Texans in the 11th round of the 1952 NFL Draft and played for the Texans as a linebacker during the 1952 NFL season. In 1973, Cannamela was shot and killed during a robbery at the Zody's Discount Store on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, where he was working as an appliance salesman. He was posthumously inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007.

Red Strader

Norman Parker "Red" Strader (December 21, 1902 – May 26, 1956) was an American football player and coach who served in both capacities at the collegiate and professional levels. In the college ranks, he spent two years as head coach at Saint Mary's College of California, and later held the same position with the New York Yankees of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC), and the New York Yanks and San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL).

Stan Williams (American football)

Stanley Neil "Stan" Williams (born December 5, 1929) was an American football player. He was a first-team All-American end at Baylor University in 1951 and played for the Dallas Texans in 1952.

Williams was born in Putnam, Texas, and lived in Cisco, Texas. His father, Roy Lee Williams, was a farmer in Cisco. After attending Cisco High School, Williams enrolled at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He played college football at the end position for the Baylor Bears football team from 1949 to 1951. He caught 65 passes for 1,029 yards and 11 touchdowns in his career at Baylor. He was selected by the Football Writers Association of America as a first-team offensive player on its 1951 College Football All-America Teams.Williams was drafted by the Dallas Texans in the eighth round (86th overall pick) of the 1952 NFL Draft and played for the Texans as an end and defensive back during the 1952 NFL season. In 12 NFL games, he caught nine passes for 123 yards and intercepted five additional passes for 84 yards. He also recovered five fumbles for 42 yards and a touchdown. Williams later moved north to play for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League. Williams played five seasons in Regina tallying 124 receptions for 2.055 yards and 11 touchdowns, as well as making 15 interceptions. He was added to Saskatchewan's Plaza of Honor in 1966.Williams was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

Tom Johnson (American football)

Thomas Johnson (born January 19, 1931) is a former American football player. He played at the defensive and offensive tackle positions for the University of Michigan from 1948 to 1951. He was selected as the most valuable defensive tackle in the Big Ten Conference in 1950 and as a first-team All-American at the same position in 1951. He was drafted in the 6th round of the 1952 NFL Draft and became the second African-American to play for the Green Bay Packers in the National Football League.

Wayne Millner

Wayne Vernal Millner (January 31, 1913 – November 19, 1976) was an American college and professional football player who was known for his clutch play as an offensive and defensive end for both the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and for the National Football League's Washington Redskins.

1952 NFL season
Early era
Modern era

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