Wednesday, December 18, 2013

1932 NFL Championship Game

On Dec. 18, 1932, at the end of the 1932 NFL season, the Chicago Bears and Portsmouth Spartans finished tied atop the standings.

The Bears were 6-1-6, the Spartans were 6-1-4.

To resolve the tie and crown an NFL champion, a playoff game was staged in Chicago, on Dec. 18, 1932.

At the time, there were no playoff formats as the team with the best record at the end of the season was crowned the best of the year.

A blizzard made playing outdoors at Wrigley Field impossible. The game was moved to Chicago Stadium, an indoor venue that had a smaller field. The field was just 60 yards long and 30 yards wide.

The lone touchdown was a controversial pass play from Bronko Nagurski to Red Grange.

The Bears won the game 9-0. A year later, the first officially scheduled playoff game was held as the NFL entered a new era with postseason play.

Few historical artifacts remain from the impromptu postseason game. One such item is a game program that survived a fire at the offices of the Chicago Bears in the 1960s.

The program cost just 10 cents and was four pages long. The roster of each team was less than 25 players in 1932. The Spartans moved two years later and became the Detroit Lions.

Since the first playoff game 1932 the NFL has had much success building a playoff system that went on to include the AFL in the late 1960’s and after the two leagues merged the Super Bowl was created. The Super Bowl is now one of the most watched television events every year.