1935 NFL Championship Game
|Date||December 15, 1935|
|Stadium||University of Detroit Stadium, Detroit, Michigan|
The 1935 National Football League Championship game was the third NFL title game, held December 15 at University of Detroit Stadium (Titan Stadium) in Detroit, Michigan. The 1935 champion of the Western Division was the Detroit Lions (7–3–2) and the champion of the Eastern Division was the New York Giants (9–3).
The Giants, coached by Steve Owen, were in their third straight title game and were defending champions, while the Lions (coached by George "Potsy" Clark) were in their first title game, three years removed from their nailbiting loss in the indoor 1932 NFL Playoff Game as the Portsmouth Spartans.
The weather in Detroit for the game was gray, wet, and windy, and the field at the University of Detroit's Titan Stadium was sloppy. The Lions took the opening kickoff and drove down field. They were helped by two long passing plays, including one from Gutowsky that hit Danowski, playing defense, in the chest and was caught by end Ed Klewicki. Gutowsky capped the 61-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run and Presnell kicked the extra point for the 7-0 lead. After another Lions touchdown, the Lions had a 13-0 lead, but the Giants cut the lead to 6. However, two touchdowns in the fourth quarter sealed the 26-7 victory for the Lions, their first NFL Championship.
Sunday, December 15, 1935
Kickoff: 2 p.m. EST
- First quarter
- Second quarter
- Third quarter
- no scoring
- Fourth quarter
- Referee: Tommy Hughitt
- Umpire: Bobby Cahn
- Head Linesman: Maurice J. Meyer
- Field Judge: Harry Robb
When asked about the game over 70 years later, Glenn Presnell (who was also the last surviving member of the Detroit Lions inaugural 1934 team) said this about the game: "I remember that it was a snowy day, very cold, and there were far less fans there than the ’34 Thanksgiving Day game. In those days, people didn’t go very often when it wasn’t nice weather.
"I was the starting quarterback that game and for most of the season. Potsy liked to start me and see what was going on before sending in Dutch Clark. The one thing that stands out to me is that we scored in the first two minutes. I had thrown a flat pass to our blocking back on a fake for a 60-yard play to about their four-yard line. Ace Gutowsky punched it over for the score and I kicked the extra point. If we celebrated when we made a touchdown like the way they do today we would have been hooted off the field.
"For winning the championship, we each received $300. We never got a championship ring like they do now, but it was certainly one of my proudest moments. Remember, professional football was not nearly as popular as college football and baseball. It was much more exciting to play college football at Nebraska in front of 40,000 people. It was a way to make a living during the Depression."
Detroit: "City of Champions"
When the Lions won the 1935 NFL Championship, the city of Detroit was mired in the Great Depression, which had hit Detroit and its industries particularly hard. But with the success of the Lions and other Detroit teams and athletes in 1935–1936, Detroit's luck appeared to be changing, as the City was dubbed the "City of Champions." The Detroit Tigers started the winning steak by capturing the 1935 World Series. The Lions continued the streak by winning the 1935 NFL Championship. They were followed by the Detroit Red Wings winning the 1935–36 Stanley Cup. With the Stanley Cup win, the city had seen three major league championships in less than a year. Detroit's "champions" also included Detroit's "Brown Bomber," Joe Louis, the heavyweight boxing champion; native Detroiter Gar Wood who was the champion of unlimited powerboat racing and the first man to go 100 miles per hour on water; and Eddie "the Midnight Express" Tolan, a black Detroiter who won gold medals in the 100- and 200-meter races at the 1932 Summer Olympics.
- Smith, Wilfrid (December 16, 1935). "Detroit beats New York for pro title, 26-7". Chicago Tribune. p. 21.
- McIlrath, William F. (December 15, 1935). "New York, Detroit clash in pro grid title battle". Pittsburgh Press. United Press. p. 3, sports.
- "Detroit Lions defeat New York for pro football crown, 26 to 7". Milwaukee Journal. December 16, 1935. p. 2, part 2.
- "Pro standings". Milwaukee Journal. December 9, 1935. p. 6, part 2.
- "Giants, Lions play for pro title Sunday". Milwaukee Journal. United Press. December 15, 1935. p. 3, sports.
- "Detroit Lions win pro championship". Ludington Daily News. Michigan. Associated Press. December 16, 1935. p. 6.
- "Detroit wins pro grid championship". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. December 16, 1935. p. 17.
- "1935: Lions beat grounded Giants for NFL Championship". Today in Pro Football History. (blog). December 15, 2010. Retrieved December 23, 2015.