Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bears Win First de facto NFL Championship Game Indoors -- 80 Years Ago Today

The University of Chicago's "C" Logo
It was 1932 and at the end of the NFL season the Chicago Bears and Portsmouth Spartans finished tied for first place.  A play-off game was scheduled, the first ever NFL post-season de facto Championship Game, in Chicago.  Unfortunately, when the day came a blizzard dropped in and organizers scrambled.  The solution – move the game from outdoors in Wrigley Field to indoors at the Chicago Stadium. 

Yes, the first NFL post-season game was played indoors (link), on a field only 80 yards long.  The local team prevailed, as the Chicago Bears, the second oldest NFL franchise and the long-term, ahem, borrowers of the University of Chicago nickname Monsters of the Midway and football-shaped “C” logo (pictured; link), defeated the Portsmouth Spartans (now the Detroit Lions) 9-0 – 80 years ago today.
No doubt sensing a good thing when it saw it, the NFL honchos instituted an official post-season Championship Game thereafter.  The following year the first official one was played, once again in Chicago, and this time at Wrigley Field.  And once again the Bears prevailed, with a game-ending designed trick play (link), this time over the New York Giants.   

But times change.  The Bears have won only one championship in the past almost 50 years – the 1985 Super Bowl Shuffle Bears under former Bear player and Coach Mike Ditka.  They could use a trick play or two now. 

R. Balsamo

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