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.
|1960 NFL Championship Game|
|Date||December 26, 1960|
|Stadium||Franklin Field, |
|Favorite||Green Bay (–2 to 3)|
|Current/Future Hall of Famers|
|Packers: Vince Lombardi (coach), Willie Davis, Forrest Gregg, Paul Hornung, Jerry Kramer, Ray Nitschke, Jim Ringo, Bart Starr, Jim Taylor, Willie Wood|
Eagles: Chuck Bednarik, Norm Van Brocklin, Tommy McDonald, Sonny Jurgensen
|TV in the United States|
|Announcers||Lindsey Nelson, Ray Scott|
|Radio in the United States|
|Announcers||Jack Whitaker, Blaine Walsh|
The game matched the leagues's conference champions, Philadelphia Eagles (10–2) of the East and Green Bay Packers (8–4) of the West. The Eagles were making their first appearance in a championship game since 1949, and the Packers their first since 1944. Two years earlier, both teams had finished last in their respective conferences.
Due to the lack of lights at Franklin Field, the kickoff time was moved up to 12 p.m. (noon) EST. The league was concerned about the possibility of sudden death overtime, as had occurred in 1958. The game was played on a Monday, similar to 1955, as the NFL did not want to play on Christmas.
Led by future hall of fame head coach Vince Lombardi, Green Bay won the Western Conference, a game ahead of the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers. The two-time defending champion Baltimore Colts, led by quarterback Johnny Unitas, were 6–2 on November 13, but lost their last four and stumbled into fourth place with a .500 record. (Baltimore did not win another division/conference title until 1964.) Green Bay had won six league championships before, most recently in 1944, but the intervening years had been lean.
At the time, Lombardi was better known as an assistant coach (offense) for the New York Giants. Hired by the Packers in January 1959, he led them to a 7–5 record in his first season as a head coach, a vast improvement over the 1958 season (1–10–1), their worst ever. On the field, the Packers were led by quarterback Bart Starr, another future hall of famer, who was then lightly regarded, having thrown eight interceptions to go with his four touchdown passes in the 1960 season. Starr had shared playing time with Lamar McHan, who won all four games he started, while Starr was an even 4–4. In his four previous seasons in the league, Starr had more interceptions than touchdowns in each season and he finished the 1960 season with 1,358 passing yards, completing 98 of 172 passes for a completion percentage of 57.0. Other names that would shine during the dynasty the Packers built during the 1960s, such as halfback / placekicker Paul Hornung, linebacker Ray Nitschke, and fullback Jim Taylor; all early in their careers and future hall of famers.
The 1960 game represented a chance for Philadelphia to add to the two titles they had won in 1948 and 1949, but the team had declined to only two wins in 1958. Head coach Buck Shaw was in his third season with the Eagles, and in what turned out to be his final year as a head coach, and had turned around the team from a 2–9–1 record in 1958 to seven wins in 1959 to a conference championship and the league's best record in 1960. The Eagles were led on the field by quarterback Norm Van Brocklin, age 34, who was ranked second in the NFL with 2,471 passing yards and 24 passing touchdowns, behind Johnny Unitas of the Colts in both statistics, and was playing in his final game before he retired. Less than a month after the title game, he was named the head coach of the expansion Minnesota Vikings. Philadelphia had clinched the Eastern title early on December 4 at 9–1, and there was concern by Shaw that it could have an adverse effect on his team.
A capacity crowd of 67,325 gathered at Franklin Field, then (as now) the home field of the University of Pennsylvania, with 7,000 temporary seats having been added. The Eagles were a 2 to 3-point home underdog, and the game-time temperature was 48 °F (9 °C), creating difficult inconsistent field conditions for both teams, as the frozen playing surface thawed in spots leaving scattered puddles. It had snowed several days earlier in Philadelphia, followed by cold temperatures, and the field had been covered by a tarpaulin.
On the first play from scrimmage, a lateral from Van Brocklin deflected off the hands of receiver Billy Ray Barnes and was intercepted by Bill Quinlan of the Packers, giving Green Bay possession at the Philadelphia 14-yard line. After Jim Taylor gained five yards on first down, the Packers were unable to score, turning the ball over to Philadelphia at the six-yard line. A fumble on the Eagles' third play after gaining possession by Bill Barnes was recovered by Bill Forester of Green Bay at the 22-yard line of Philadelphia. Two Paul Hornung rushes gave the Packers a first down at the 12-yard line, but two incomplete passes and another Hornung rush came up short. Lombardi elected to kick on fourth down, with Hornung connecting from 20 yards out and giving the Packers a 3–0 lead.
Hornung kicked a second field goal in the opening minutes of the second quarter from 23 yards out, after a Packers drive stalled on the 17-yard line, putting Green Bay up by six points. On a pair of passes from Van Brocklin to Tommy McDonald of 22 yards and 35 yards respectively, the Eagles scored a touchdown and the extra point by kicker Bobby Walston gave them their first lead of the game. After getting the ball back from Green Bay, Van Brocklin connected on a pass of 41 yards to Pete Retzlaff that was followed three plays later by a 22-yard pass play to Ted Dean that put the Eagles on the Packers' eight-yard line. After three incomplete passes, a field goal gave the Eagles a 10–6 lead. On the following drive in the waning minutes of the first half, Green Bay took the ball to the Philadelphia seven-yard line. The threat fizzled after Bart Starr was sacked for a loss and the field goal attempt by Paul Hornung was wide left from 12 yards out.
A drive by the Packers in the third quarter advanced to the Philadelphia 34-yard line, but Green Bay failed to convert on fourth down, turning the ball over to the Eagles and losing Hornung to a shoulder injury. The Eagles promptly marched down deep into Green Bay territory but a Van Brocklin pass was intercepted in the end zone by John Symank. The touchback gave the Packers the ball on their own 20-yard line. In punt formation on fourth down, Max McGee ran for 35 yards to give Green Bay a first down in Philadelphia territory. Despite the successful run on the fake punt, Lombardi was not pleased, saying "We punt the ball; we don't run the ball" when the team sets up for a punt.
In the final quarter, continuing that same drive, the Packers advanced deep into Philadelphia territory on runs by backs Tom Moore and Jim Taylor and retook the lead with a seven-yard pass from Bart Starr to McGee with 13:07 left in the game. Hornung came off the bench to kick the extra point, giving Green Bay a 13–10 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Ted Dean received the ball on his own three-yard line and returned the ball 58 yards, giving Philadelphia excellent field position at the Green Bay 39-yard line. Dean provided what turned out to be the margin of victory for the Eagles with a five-yard touchdown run on a sweep led by a key block from guard Gerry Huth with 5:21 left in the fourth quarter, capping off a drive in which Van Brocklin passed the ball only one time. Green Bay got the ball for the last time on their 35-yard line with 1:05 left, and drove deep into Philadelphia territory. At the Philadelphia 22 with seconds to play and no time-outs left, Starr threw a short pass to Taylor; Chuck Bednarik, the last Eagle between Taylor and the end zone, tackled him at the Eagles' 10-yard line and remained atop Taylor as the final seconds ticked off the clock, ensuring that Taylor could not get up off the ground and that the Packers could not run another play. Bednarik had played both defense and offense, and was in for every play of the game; he growled "You can get up now, Taylor. This damn game's over."
The Eagles won despite being outgained in the game 401 yards to 296, with only 13 first downs as compared to 22 for the Packers. It would prove to be the only career playoff loss for Packer head coach Lombardi (9–1), and would be the last Eagles championship until Super Bowl LII 57 seasons later. Lombardi would later rue his decision to go on fourth down on several occasions deep in Philadelphia territory rather than attempt field goals on such plays, saying "When you get down there, come out with something. I lost the game, not my players."
Monday, December 26, 1960
Kickoff: 12:00 p.m. EST
The gross receipts for the game, including radio and television rights, were just under $748,000, the highest to date. Each player on the winning Eagles team received $5,116, while Packers players made $3,105 each.
The 1959 Philadelphia Eagles season was the franchise's 27th season in the National Football League. They improved on their previous output of 2–9–1, winning seven games. The team failed to qualify for the playoffs for the tenth consecutive season.1960 American Football League Championship Game
The 1960 American Football League Championship Game was the first AFL title game, played on New Year's Day 1961 at Jeppesen Stadium in Houston, Texas. With New Year's on Sunday, the major college bowl games were played on Monday, January 2.The game matched the Eastern Division champion Houston Oilers (10–4), against the Western Division champion Los Angeles Chargers (10–4), in the first championship game of the new American Football League. The host Oilers were a 6½-point favorite.The AFL had established a format in which championship games would be alternated each year between the Western Division winners and the Eastern Division. The first game was originally scheduled to be played in the cavernous Los Angeles Coliseum but with the Chargers drawing less than 10,000 a game in the 100,000+ seat coliseum it was feared ABC would pull its contract because of empty seats so the game was moved to the smaller Jeppesen Stadium in Houston, where it drew 32,183. It rained the five days prior to the game.Oilers' quarterback George Blanda had retired after ten seasons in the NFL and did not play during the 1959 season; he threw three touchdown passes (and kicked a field goal and three extra points) to lead Houston to the first AFL title, 24–16.1961 NFL Championship Game
The 1961 National Football League Championship Game was the 29th title game. It was played at "New" City Stadium, later known as Lambeau Field, in Green Bay, Wisconsin on December 31, with an attendance of 39,029.The game was a match-up of the Eastern Conference champion New York Giants (10–3–1) and the Western Conference champion Green Bay Packers (11–3). The home team Packers were a 3⅓-point favorite.Packers Ray Nitschke, Boyd Dowler, and Paul Hornung, were on leave from the U.S. Army. Hornung scored 19 points (a touchdown, three field goals, and four extra points) for the Packers and was named the MVP of the game, and awarded a 1962 Chevrolet Corvette from Sport magazine.The victory was the first of five NFL titles won in a seven-season span by the Packers and their head coach, Vince Lombardi. It was the Packers' seventh league title and their first in 17 years.1978–79 NFL playoffs
The National Football League playoffs for the 1978 season began on December 24, 1978. The postseason tournament concluded with the Pittsburgh Steelers defeating the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XIII, 35–31, on January 21, 1979, at the Orange Bowl in Miami.
This was the first year that the playoffs expanded to a ten-team format, adding a second wild card team (a fifth seed) from each conference. The two wild card teams from each conference (the 4 and 5 seeds) would play each other in the first round, called the "Wild Card Playoffs." The division winners (seeds 1, 2, and 3) automatically advanced to the Divisional Playoffs, which became the second round of the playoffs.
However, the league continued to prohibit meetings between two teams from the same division in the Divisional Playoffs. Thus, there would be times when the pairing in that round would be the 1 seed vs. the 3 seed and 2 vs. 4.1979–80 NFL playoffs
The National Football League playoffs for the 1979 season began on December 23, 1979. The postseason tournament concluded with the Pittsburgh Steelers defeating the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl XIV, 31–19, on January 20, 1980, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.Bart Starr
Bryan Bartlett "Bart" Starr (born January 9, 1934) is a former professional American football player and coach. He played quarterback for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL) from 1956 through 1971. Starr is the only quarterback in NFL history to lead a team to three consecutive league championships (1965–1967). Starr trails only New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for total NFL championships, with five. Starr led his team to victories in the first two Super Bowls: I and II. As the Packers' head coach, he was less successful, compiling a 52–76–3 (.408) record from 1975 through 1983.
Starr was named the Most Valuable Player of the first two Super Bowls and during his career earned four Pro Bowl selections. He won the league MVP award in 1966. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Packers Hall of Fame in 1977.
Starr has the highest postseason passer rating (104.8) of any quarterback in NFL history and a postseason record of 9–1. His career completion percentage of 57.4 was an NFL best when he retired in 1972. Starr also held the Packers' franchise record for games played (196) for 32 years, through the 2003 season.Starr played college football at the University of Alabama and was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 17th round of the 1956 NFL draft (200th overall).Bobby Walston
Robert Harold Walston (October 17, 1928 – October 7, 1987) was an American football wide receiver and placekicker in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles. He played college football at the University of Georgia and was drafted in the 14th round of the 1951 NFL Draft. From 1966 to 1967, he coached receivers and kickers for the Miami Dolphins.Chuck Bednarik
Charles Philip Bednarik (May 1, 1925 – March 21, 2015), nicknamed Concrete Charlie, was a professional American football player, known as one of the most devastating tacklers in the history of football and the last full-time two-way player in the National Football League (NFL). A Slovak American from the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania, Bednarik played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1949 through 1962 and, upon retirement, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967, his first year of eligibility.Ed Khayat
Edward Michel Khayat (born September 14, 1935) is a thirty-five year National Football League veteran, ten years as a player (117 game total) and twenty-five as a coach. He was a starting defensive tackle for the victorious Philadelphia Eagles in the 1960 NFL Championship Game and later their head coach in 1971 and 1972. He has been inducted into six Halls of Fame. Currently he serves on the Former Players Board of Directors of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA).Franklin Field
Franklin Field is the home of the Penn Relays, and is the University of Pennsylvania's stadium for football, track and field, lacrosse and formerly for soccer, field hockey and baseball. It is also used by Penn students for recreation, and for intramural and club sports, including touch football and cricket, and is the site of Penn's graduation exercises, weather permitting.
Franklin Field is located in Philadelphia, at the eastern edge of Penn's campus, across the Schuylkill River from Center City.
Deemed by the NCAA as the oldest stadium still operating for football, it was the site of the nation's first scoreboard in 1895, the nation's first stadium with an upper deck of seats in 1922, and was the site of the first radio broadcast of a football game in 1922 on WIP and the first television broadcast of a football game by Philco.From 1958 until 1970, the stadium was the home field of the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League.Jim Taylor (fullback)
James Charles Taylor (September 20, 1935 – October 13, 2018) was an American football fullback who played professionally in the National Football League (NFL) for ten seasons, with the Green Bay Packers from 1958 to 1966 and with the expansion New Orleans Saints in 1967. With the Packers, Taylor was invited to five straight Pro Bowls and won four NFL championships, as well as a victory in the first Super Bowl. He was recognized as the NFL Most Valuable Player after winning the rushing title in 1962, beating out Jim Brown. An aggressive player and fluent trash talker, Taylor developed several personal rivalries throughout his career, most notably with New York Giants linebacker Sam Huff. This confrontational attitude, combined with his tenacious running style, a penchant for contact, and ability to both withstand and deliver blows, earned him a reputation as one of the league's toughest players.
Playing college football for Louisiana State University (LSU), Taylor led the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in scoring in 1956 and 1957 and earned first-team All-America honors as a senior. He was selected by the Packers in the second round of the 1958 NFL Draft and was used sparingly as a rookie, but with the arrival of coach Vince Lombardi in 1959 Taylor soon became the team's all-purpose back, especially when only a few yards were needed. In this role, his spirited performance against the Giants in the 1962 NFL Championship Game came to define his mental and physical toughness.
Taylor finished his career after carrying 1,941 times for 8,597 yards and 83 touchdowns. He was the first player to record five straight seasons of at least 1,000 rushing yards. His 81 rushing touchdowns for the Packers remains a franchise record by a wide margin, and his 8,207 rushing yards with the team has been surpassed only once. Taylor was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1976. He is a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and his number 31 jersey is retired by the Saints.John Symank
John Richard Symank (August 31, 1935 – January 23, 2002) was an American college and professional football player who was a defensive back in the National Football League (NFL) for seven seasons during the 1950s and 1960s. Symank played college football for the University of Florida, and thereafter, he played professionally for the Green Bay Packers and St. Louis Cardinals of the NFL. He was later the head coach for Northern Arizona University and the University of Texas at Arlington football teams.Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings are a professional American football team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings joined the National Football League (NFL) as an expansion team in 1960, and first took the field for the 1961 season. The team competes in the National Football Conference (NFC) North division.During the 1960s, the Vikings' record was typical for an expansion franchise, but improved over the course of the decade, resulting in a Central Division title in 1968. In 1969, their dominant defense led to the Vikings' league championship, the last NFL championship prior to the merger of the NFL with the AFL.
The team plays its home games at U.S. Bank Stadium in the Downtown East section of Minneapolis.Stan Campbell
Stanley Hugh Campbell (August 26, 1930 – March 14, 2005) was an American football player. He played college football at Iowa State College from 1949 to 1951 and professional football as an offensive guard in the National Football League for the Detroit Lions in 1952 and from 1955 to 1958 and for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1959 to 1961 He concluded his football career with the American Football League's Oakland Raiders in 1962.Super Bowl I
The first AFL-NFL World Championship Game in professional American football, known retroactively as Super Bowl I and referred to in some contemporaneous reports, including the game's radio broadcast, as the Super Bowl, was played on January 15, 1967 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. The National Football League (NFL) champion Green Bay Packers defeated the American Football League (AFL) champion Kansas City Chiefs by the score of 35–10.
Coming into this game, considerable animosity existed between the AFL and NFL, thus the teams representing the two rival leagues (Kansas City and Green Bay, respectively) felt pressure to win. The Chiefs posted an 11–2–1 record during the 1966 AFL season, and defeated the Buffalo Bills 31–7, in the AFL Championship Game. The Packers finished the 1966 NFL season at 12–2, and defeated the Dallas Cowboys 34–27 in the NFL Championship Game. Still, many sports writers and fans believed any team in the older NFL was vastly superior to any club in the upstart AFL, and so expected Green Bay would blow out Kansas City.The first half of Super Bowl I was competitive, as the Chiefs outgained the Packers in total yards, 181–164, to come within 14–10 at halftime. Early in the 3rd quarter, Green Bay safety Willie Wood intercepted a pass and returned it 50 yards to the 5-yard line. The turnover sparked the Packers to score 21 unanswered points in the second half. Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr, who completed 16 of 23 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns, with 1 interception, was named MVP.
It remains the only Super Bowl to have been simulcast in the United States by two networks. NBC had the rights to nationally televise AFL games, while CBS held the rights to broadcast NFL games; both networks were allowed to televise the game. The 1st Super Bowl's entertainment consisted of college marching bands from the University of Arizona and Grambling State University, instead of featuring popular singers and musicians as in later Super Bowls.Ted Dean
Theodore Curtis Dean (born March 24, 1938) is a former American football running back. He played professionally in the National Football League (NFL) for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings. Dean played college football at Wichita State University.
Dean graduated from Radnor High School and earned All-State honors for football and track, and was named to the National High School All American team. At Wichita State University, Dean received Honorable Mention All American honors and earned All-Missouri Valley Conference accolades following his junior and senior seasons.Dean was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth round (40th overall) of the 1960 NFL Draft. In his Rookie season, Dean led the NFL in kickoff returns and kickoff return yards gained. Dean's on-field success, which culminated in a game-winning touchdown for the Eagles in the 1960 NFL Championship Game, earned him a place in the 1961 Pro Bowl.
Following the 1960 season, Dean was hailed as an up-and-coming star. According to Ray Didinger, George Halas believed Dean was "going to become the best ever". However, Dean's football career was shortened by several injuries and his production never matched that of his rookie season. He was traded to the Minnesota Vikings prior to the 1964 NFL season, but only played in two games for the Vikings (his last two in the NFL) before an automobile accident caused further injuries.Following his NFL career, Dean became an educator in the Philadelphia area.The Lombardi Curse
The Lombardi Curse was an alleged sports-related curse that supposedly prevented the National Football League (NFL)'s Philadelphia Eagles franchise from winning the Super Bowl for as long as the game's trophy is named after Vince Lombardi. Its origin is traced to the Eagles upsetting the Green Bay Packers in the 1960 NFL Championship Game. This game ended up being the lone playoff defeat in Lombardi's coaching career as his Packers would go on to establish a dynasty that would win five NFL championships in the next seven seasons, including the first two Super Bowls.
Meanwhile, the Eagles had not won another league championship since, including having never won the Super Bowl since the game started being played annually in 1966. They appeared in Super Bowl XV in the 1980 season and Super Bowl XXXIX in the 2004 season, but lost both times. In 1970, the Super Bowl trophy was officially named the Vince Lombardi trophy when the league decided to honor Lombardi by naming the trophy after him following his death in 1970. This renaming of the Super Bowl trophy combined with the Eagles inability to win the championship game has led some Eagles fans to believe that the franchise is cursed by Vince Lombardi; that beating Lombardi meant never winning the trophy named after him.The Eagles defeated the New England Patriots by a score of 41–33 in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 4, 2018, ending the alleged curse.Vince Lombardi
Vincent Thomas Lombardi (June 11, 1913 – September 3, 1970) was an American football player, coach, and executive in the National Football League (NFL). He is best known as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers during the 1960s, where he led the team to three straight and five total NFL Championships in seven years, in addition to winning the first two Super Bowls at the conclusion of the 1966 and 1967 NFL seasons. Following his sudden death from cancer in 1970, the NFL Super Bowl trophy was named in his honor. He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971, the year after his death. Lombardi is considered by many to be the greatest coach in football history, and he is more significantly recognized as one of the greatest coaches and leaders in the history of any American sport.Lombardi began his coaching career as an assistant and later as a head coach at St. Cecilia High School in Englewood, New Jersey. He was an assistant coach at Fordham, at the United States Military Academy, and with the New York Giants before becoming a head coach for the Green Bay Packers from 1959 to 1967 and the Washington Redskins in 1969. He never had a losing season as a head coach in the NFL, compiling a regular season winning percentage of 72.8% (96–34–6), and 90% (9–1) in the postseason for an overall record of 105 wins, 35 losses, and 6 ties in the NFL.
Philadelphia Eagles 1960 NFL champions
|Division championships (13)|
|Conference championships (4)|
|League championships (4)|
|Current league affiliations|
Championship seasons in bold
|Division championships (18)|
|Conference championships (9)|
|League championships (13†)|
|Current league affiliations|
Championship seasons in bold
National Football League Championship Games (1933–present)
|NFL Championship Game|
|AFL Championship Game|
|AFL-NFL World Championship Games |
1 – From 1966 to 1969, the first four Super Bowls were "World Championship" games played between two independent professional football leagues, AFL and NFL, and when the league merged in 1970 the Super Bowl became the NFL Championship Game.
2 – Dates in the list denote the season, not the calendar year in which the championship game was played. For instance, Super Bowl XLI was played in 2007, but was the championship for the 2006 season.
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