1959 NFL Championship Game

The 1959 National Football League Championship Game was the 27th NFL championship game, played on December 27 at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland.[1][2][3]

It was a rematch of the 1958 championship game that went into overtime. The defending champion Baltimore Colts (9–3) again won the Western Conference, while the New York Giants (10–2) repeated as Eastern Conference champions. The Colts were favored to repeat as champions by 3½ points.[1][4][5]

This game also went down to the last quarter, but the Colts did not need any heroics in overtime. Trailing 9-7 at the start of the fourth quarter, Baltimore scored 24 straight points and won, 31–16.[2][3][6][7]

This was the only NFL championship game played in Baltimore.

1959 NFL Championship Game
New York Giants Baltimore Colts
16 31
1234 Total
NYG 3337 16
BAL 70024 31
DateDecember 27, 1959
StadiumMemorial Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland
FavoriteColts - 3½ points
RefereeRon Gibbs
TV in the United States
AnnouncersChuck Thompson, Chris Schenkel
Radio in the United States
AnnouncersVan Patrick
Baltimore  is located in the United States
Location in the United States

Scoring summary

Sunday, December 27, 1959
Kickoff: 2:05 p.m. EST[1][4]

  • First quarter
  • Second quarter
    • NYG   – FG Summerall 37, BAL 7–6
  • Third quarter
    • NYG   – FG Summerall 22, NYG 9–7
  • Fourth quarter
    • BAL – Unitas 4 yard run (Myhra kick), BAL 14–9
    • BAL – Jerry Richardson 12 yard pass from Unitas (Myhra kick), BAL 21–9
    • BAL – Johnny Sample 42 yard interception return (Myhra kick), BAL 28–9
    • BAL – FG Myhra 25, BAL 31–9
    • NYG   – Bob Schnelker 32 yard pass from Charlie Conerly (Summerall kick), BAL 31–16


The NFL had five game officials in 1959; the line judge was added in 1965 and the side judge in 1978.

Players' shares

The gross receipts for the game, including radio and television rights, were just over $666,000, slightly below the previous year. Each player on the winning Colts team received $4,674, while Giants players made $3,083 each.[6]


  1. ^ a b c "Pick Colts to retain pro crown". Milwaukee Sentinel. UPI. December 27, 1959. p. 1C.
  2. ^ a b Sell, Jack (December 28, 1959). "Colts destroy Giants for pro crown 31-16". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 20.
  3. ^ a b "Colts' 24 pt. rally sinks Giants". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. December 28, 1959. p. 2, part 2.
  4. ^ a b "Pro football epic will unfold today". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. December 27, 1959. p. 2, sports.
  5. ^ a b Strickler, George (December 27, 1959). "Colts, Giants battle for title today". Chicago Tribune. p. 1, part 2.
  6. ^ a b Bowen, George (December 28, 1959). "Baltimore explodes for 24 points in final period to rout New York, 31-16". Youngstown Vindicator. Ohio. Associated Press. p. 20.
  7. ^ a b Strickler, George (December 28, 1959). "Colts retain title; beat Giants, 31-16". Chicago Tribune. p. 1, part 2.

Coordinates: 39°19′48″N 76°36′05″W / 39.330°N 76.6015°W

1959 Baltimore Colts season

The 1959 Baltimore Colts season was the seventh season for the team in the National Football League. The defending champion Baltimore Colts finished the NFL's 40th season with a record of 9 wins and 3 losses and finished first in the Western Conference, and defeated the New York Giants, 31–16 in the NFL championship game, which was the rematch of the previous season's classic title game, for their second consecutive NFL title.

Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas had one of the great seasons by a passer in NFL history. Says Cold Hard Football Facts, "[Unitas's] 32 scoring strikes was an NFL record –- he was the first and only to top 30 [touchdowns] in the NFL's first 40 years –- and remains the standard for a 12-game season. He was in the midst of his record 47-game streak with a touchdown pass, and connected on at least one in every game of 1959."Cold Hard Football Facts also notes that the 1959 Colts were the only team in NFL history to lead the league in both offensive and defensive (i.e. opponents') passer rating for two consecutive seasons (1958–1959). Every other team to had ever led the league in both has won an NFL championship.

The Colts defeated the Green Bay Packers twice this season in Vince Lombardi's first year as head coach. Baltimore did not win the Western title again until 1964 and their next NFL title came in 1968.

1960 Dallas Cowboys season

The 1960 Dallas Cowboys season was the inaugural season for the franchise in the National Football League (NFL). The team finished with no wins, 11 losses, and 1 tie, which placed them last in the Western Conference, and was the worst record in the NFL for that season, worse than Dallas' previous entry into the NFL, the Dallas Texans (who finished 1–11 in their lone season in 1952, then relocated to Baltimore as the Colts).

1960 NFL Championship Game

The 1960 National Football League championship game was the 28th NFL title game. The game was played on Monday, December 26, at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.In addition to the landmark 1958 championship game, in which the Baltimore Colts defeated the New York Giants in sudden death overtime, the 1960 game has also been called a key event in football history. The game marked the lone playoff defeat for Packers coach Vince Lombardi before his Packers team established a dynasty that won five NFL championships, including the first two Super Bowls, in a span of seven seasons. The victory was the third NFL title for the Philadelphia Eagles, and their final championship until the team won Super Bowl LII in 2018, ending a 57-season championship drought.The American Football League was in its first season and held its inaugural title game less than a week later. First-year NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle convinced owners to move the league's headquarters from Philadelphia to New York City, and with Congressional passage of the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961 received an antitrust exemption that allowed the league to negotiate a common broadcasting network representing all of its teams, helping cement football's ascendancy as a national sport.This was the second and last NFL championship game played in Philadelphia, and the only one at Franklin Field. A dozen years earlier, the 1948 title game was held in the snow at Shibe Park and was also an Eagles' victory.

Ticket prices for the game were ten and eight dollars.

Al Barry

Allan Barry (born December 24, 1930) is a former American football offensive guard in the National Football League for the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants. He also played in the American Football League for the Los Angeles Chargers. He played college football at the University of Southern California.

Diner (film)

Diner is a 1982 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Barry Levinson. It is Levinson's screen-directing debut, and the first of his four "Baltimore Films" set in his hometown during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Tin Men (1987), Avalon (1990), and Liberty Heights (1999) are the other three. It stars Steve Guttenberg, Daniel Stern, Mickey Rourke, Paul Reiser, Kevin Bacon, Timothy Daly and Ellen Barkin and was released on March 5, 1982.

Eagles–Giants rivalry

The Eagles–Giants rivalry is a National Football League (NFL) rivalry between the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. The rivalry began in 1933 with the founding of the Eagles, and slowly strengthened when both teams came to relative prominence in the 1940s and 1950s. The two teams have played in the same division in the NFL every year since 1933. The ferocity of the rivalry can also be attributed to the geographic New York-Philadelphia rivalry, which is mirrored in Major League Baseball's Mets–Phillies rivalry and the National Hockey League's Flyers–Rangers rivalry. It is ranked by NFL Network as the number one rivalry of all-time and Sports Illustrated ranks it amongst the top ten NFL rivalries of all-time at number four, and according to ESPN, it is one of the fiercest and most well-known rivalries in the football community.The overall series is currently tied, 86–86–2. The Eagles and Giants have met in the playoffs four times, with each team winning twice.

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.

Jerry Richardson

Jerome Johnson Richardson Sr. (born July 18, 1936) is an American businessman, former NFL player and former owner in the National Football League (NFL). He established the Carolina Panthers franchise, which he owned for 23 years.

Johnny Sample

John B. Sample Jr. (June 15, 1937 – April 26, 2005) was an American football defensive back who played in the National Football League (NFL) for the Baltimore Colts (1958–1960), Pittsburgh Steelers (1961–1962), and Washington Redskins (1963–1965), and in the American Football League (AFL) for the New York Jets (1966–1968), winning three league championships.

Sample had the distinction of beginning and ending his career with championship wins in two of the most famous games in professional football history, and winning an NFL championship, an AFL championship, and a world championship.

In his rookie season, he won an NFL championship ring with the Colts in their victory over the New York Giants in the 1958 NFL Championship Game, which became known as "The Greatest Game Ever Played".

In his final season, he helped the Jets win the AFL Championship against the Oakland Raiders, and then to defeat the Colts in the third AFL-NFL World Championship (Super Bowl III) in January 1969, recording an interception in the Jets' 16–7 win. He is the only professional football player to have won all three: an NFL, AFL, and Super Bowl championship.

In between, Sample won another championship in the 1959 NFL Championship Game, scoring a touchdown on a 42-yard interception return in the Colts' 31-16 victory over the Giants.

L. G. Dupre

Louis George Dupre (September 10, 1932 – August 9, 2001) was a professional American football running back in the NFL for the Baltimore Colts and the Dallas Cowboys. He played college football at Baylor University.

Milt Davis

Milton Eugene Davis (May 31, 1929 – September 29, 2008) was a defensive back who played four seasons in the NFL for the Baltimore Colts. He had 27 career interceptions with the Colts, and he led the NFL in interceptions in 1957 and 1959.

The 6 feet 1 inch (185 cm) 188 pounds (85 kg) defensive back was born May 31, 1929 on the Fort Gibson Indian reservation in Muskogee, Oklahoma to parents of African American and Native American ancestry. He moved as a toddler to Los AngelesHe attended Jefferson High School and Los Angeles City College, both in Los Angeles. He worked at the Vista Del Mar Jewish orphanage as a counselor while attending college. His track performance earned him a partial scholarship at the University of California, Los Angeles. He earned a spot on the UCLA Bruins football team in both 1952 and 1953 under coach Red Sanders, and played in the team's 1954 Rose Bowl 28-20 loss to the Michigan State Spartans.The Detroit Lions drafted him in 1954, the same year he was drafted into the United States Army, serving there for two years. After his return from the Army, the Lions told him "We don't have a black teammate for you to go on road trips, therefore you can't stay on our team."The Baltimore Colts gave Davis a tryout and signed him as a free agent. In his rookie season in 1957, he had 10 interceptions which were returned for a total of 219 yards, two of them for touchdowns including a return of 75 yards. He was on the Associated Press NFL All-Pro Team that season.In the 1958 season, he had four interceptions, which he returned for a total of 40 yards. In the 1958 NFL Championship Game against the New York Giants, played at Yankee Stadium, Davis — despite playing with two broken bones in his right foot — forced one of two first-half fumbles by Giants running back Frank Gifford, both of which led to touchdowns by the Colts; The Colts won 23-17 in overtime in a game called "The Greatest Game Ever Played".Davis had seven interceptions in the 1959 season, which he returned for 119 yards, including a 57-yard return for a touchdown. In the 1959 NFL Championship Game, the Colts beat the Giants for a second consecutive season, this time by a 31-16 score. In 1960, he had six interceptions which he returned for 32 yards.Angered at the treatment of black players, including segregated hotels and restaurants, Davis retired after four seasons in the NFL and returned to complete work on a doctorate in education at UCLA. He worked as a scout for several NFL teams and taught at John Marshall High School. He was a professor of natural history at Los Angeles City College from 1964 to 1989, then retired to Oregon with his wife, where he raised cattle, llama and sheep. He died in Elmira, Oregon of brain cancer at age 79 on September 29, 2008.

Weeb Ewbank

Wilbur Charles "Weeb" Ewbank (May 6, 1907 – November 17, 1998) was an American professional football coach. He led the Baltimore Colts to NFL championships in 1958 and 1959 and the New York Jets to victory in Super Bowl III in 1969. He is the only coach to win a championship in both the National Football League (NFL) and American Football League (AFL).

Ewbank grew up in Indiana and attended Miami University in Ohio, where he was a multi-sport star who led his baseball, basketball and football teams to state championships. He immediately began a coaching career after graduating, working at Ohio high schools between 1928 and 1943, when he entered the U.S. Navy during World War II. While in the military, Ewbank was an assistant to Paul Brown on a service football team at Naval Station Great Lakes outside of Chicago. Ewbank was discharged in 1945 and coached college sports for three years before reuniting with Brown as an assistant with the Cleveland Browns, a professional team in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). The Browns won all four AAFC championships. They joined the NFL with the leagues merger in 1950, winning the championship that year.

Ewbank left the Browns in 1954 to become head coach of the Colts, a young NFL team that had struggled in its first season. In 1956, Ewbank brought in quarterback Johnny Unitas, who quickly became a star and helped lead a potent offense that included wide receiver Raymond Berry and fullback Alan Ameche to an NFL championship in 1958. The Colts repeated as champions in 1959, but the team's performance slipped and Ewbank was fired in 1963. He was soon picked up by the Jets, another struggling team in the AFL. While his first few years were unsuccessful, Ewbank helped build the Jets into a contender after signing quarterback Joe Namath in 1965. The Jets won the AFL championship in 1968 and went on to win Super Bowl III.

Ewbank, who was known as a mild-mannered coach who favored simple but well-executed strategies, retired after the 1973 season and settled in Oxford, Ohio. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978. He died in Oxford on November 17, 1998, the 30th anniversary of the "Heidi Game".

Baltimore Colts 1959 NFL champions
Division championships (16)
Conference championships (7)
League championships (5)
Retired numbers
Current league affiliations
Seasons (67)
Key personnel
Division championships (22)
Conference championships (11)
League championships (8)
Current league affiliations
Seasons (95)
NFL Championship Game
AFL Championship Game
AFL-NFL World Championship Games[1]
Super Bowl[2]
Related programs
Related articles
NFL Championship
AFL Championship
Super Bowl
Pro Bowl

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