1941 NFL Championship Game
|Date||December 21, 1941|
|Stadium||Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois|
|Radio in the United States|
|Announcers||Bob Elson, Red Barber|
The 1941 National Football League Championship game was the ninth annual championship game, held at Wrigley Field in Chicago on December 21. Played two weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the attendance was 13,341, the smallest ever to see an NFL title game.
Western Division playoff game
Prior to the title game, the Western Division champion needed to be determined. The defending NFL champion Chicago Bears (10–1) had ended the regular season on December 7 tied with the Green Bay Packers (10–1), the 1939 NFL champions. The two had split their season series in 1941, with the road teams winning, so the tiebreaker was the first-ever divisional playoff game in the NFL, played on December 14 at Wrigley Field.
The Packers had completed their regular season on November 30 and the playoff game was sold out by Tuesday, December 9, at over 46,484, with over 10,000 seats to Packer fans. Chicago was favored, and attendance on game day was slightly lower than capacity at 43,425, the week after Pearl Harbor. The Bears jumped to a 30–7 halftime lead under clear skies and 16 °F (−9 °C) temperatures and easily won, 33–14. The Eastern Division champion New York Giants (8–3) completed their regular season on December 7 with a 21–7 loss to the runner-up Brooklyn Dodgers (7–4), who had defeated the Giants twice in the regular season.
NFL Championship Game
Both the Bears and Giants were making their fifth appearances in the title game, and each had two victories. It was the third time the two teams matched up in the big game; the home teams had won both: the Bears in 1933 and the Giants in 1934. The Bears were favored by two touchdowns and 35,000 were expected to attend. The game time temperature was an unseasonably warm 47 °F (8 °C).
The hometown Bears kicked three field goals in the first half to lead 9–6 at the intermission. The Giants took the opening drive of the second half down to the five, but settled for a short field goal to tie the score. Chicago dominated the rest of the second half with four unanswered touchdowns and won 37–9.
Sunday, December 21, 1941
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. CST
- First quarter
- Second quarter
- CHI – FG Snyder 39, 6–6 tie
- CHI – FG Snyder 37, 9–6 CHI
- Third quarter
- Fourth Quarter
Ray "Scooter" McLean elected to drop kick the extra point on the last touchdown, the last successful drop kick in the NFL for 64 years. Doug Flutie of the New England Patriots kicked one in his final regular season game, in the fourth quarter of the last game of the 2005 regular season on January 1, 2006.
Two players in the game, back Young Bussey of the Bears and end Jack Lummus of the Giants, were killed in action three years later in World War II, in early 1945. Navy lieutenant Bussey died in the Invasion of Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines and Marine lieutenant Lummus was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for valor at the Battle of Iwo Jima.
- Prell, Edward (December 22, 1941). "Bears rout Giants, 37-9; keep league title". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 23.
- "Bears wallop Giants 37 to 9, clinch title". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. December 22, 1941. p. 16.
- Hoff, Dave (December 22, 1941). "Bears wallop Giants for pro title". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 3B.
- Kuechle, Oliver E. (December 22, 1941). "Bears swamp Giants, 37 to 9, in pro play-off before 13,341". Milwaukee Journal. p. 4, part 2.
- "Riotous Bears roar as champions of football world". Pittsburgh Press. (photo). December 22, 1941. p. 29.
- "Packer game sellout now". Milwaukee Journal. December 9, 1941. p. 4, part 2.
- "Packers 13-5 underdogs in playoff with Bears". Milwaukee Journal. December 14, 1941. p. 1, sports.
- McGlynn, Stoney (December 14, 1941). "Bears are 2½ to 1 favorites over Packers today". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1B.
- Kuechle, Oliver E. (December 15, 1941). "Bears' line too tough for Packers 33-14". Milwaukee Journal. p. 4, part 2.
- McGlynn, Stoney (December 15, 1942). "Bears humble Packers, 33-14, win title". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 3B.
- Prell, Edward (December 15, 1941). "Bears win 33 to 14; play for title Sunday". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 29.
- "Chicago Bears to play Giants for pro league title Sunday". Milwaukee Journal. December 21, 1941. p. 1, sports.
- Snider, Steve (December 21, 1941). "Bears rate 2-touchdown edge over Giants in pro title game". Pittsburgh Press. United Press. p. 13, section 3.
- Hoff, Dave (December 22, 1941). "Chicago Bears turn on power in second half to beat New York Giants 37-9". Youngstown Vindicator. Ohio. Associated Press. p. 18.
- "New York Giants 9 at Chicago Bears 37". Pro Football References. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
- "Getting his kicks". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. January 2, 2006. p. E5.
- "Title game nets bears $430 each". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. December 22, 1941. p. 4, part 2.
- Williams, Joe (December 22, 1941). "Does 13,000 indicate that pro grid season is over-extended?". Pittsburgh Press. p. 30.