1943 NFL Championship Game

1943 NFL Championship Game
1234 Total
Washington Redskins 0777 21
Chicago Bears 0141314 41
Date December 26, 1943
Stadium Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois
Referee Ronald Gibbs
Attendance 34,320
Radio in the United States
Network Mutual
Announcers Harry Wismer
Wrigley Field
Location in the United States

The 1943 NFL Championship Game was the 11th annual title game of the National Football League (NFL), held at Wrigley Field in Chicago on December 26 with an attendance of 34,320.[1][2][3]

In a rematch of the previous year's game, the Western Division champion Chicago Bears (8–1–1) met the Eastern Division champion Washington Redskins (6–3–1). The previous week, the Redskins had defeated the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds in a playoff game by a score of 28–0 to determine the champs of the east, after the teams ended the regular season with identical records.[4] The Redskins had dropped their final three regular season games, including two to the Giants. Even though the Giants had swept the season series with Washington, the rules of the time called for a tiebreaker game.

The divisional playoff game pushed the championship game back to its latest ever date, and the late-December Chicago weather caused the game to be dubbed the "Ice Bowl."[5] The Bears were favored by a touchdown,[6] and won by twenty points, 41–21.[2][3]

The crowd was smaller than the previous year's and well off the championship game record of 48,120 set in 1938,[5] but the gross gate receipts of $120,500 set a record.[7] In addition to the gate, radio broadcast rights to the game were sold for $5,000.[7]

The Bears were led by quarterback Sid Luckman while Sammy Baugh was the quarterback for the Redskins. The Redskins were coached by Dutch Bergman.

The Chicago win marked the franchise's third championship in four seasons, their fourth since the institution of the championship game in 1933 and their sixth since the NFL was formed in 1921.[8]



Starting lineups[3]
Bears Position Redskins
Jim Benton Left end Bob Masterson
Dom Sigillo Left tackle Lou Rymkus
Dan Fortmann Left guard Clyde Shugart
Bulldog Turner Center George Smith
George Musso Right guard Steve Slivinski
Al Hoptowit Right tackle Joe Pasqua
George Wilson Right end Joe Aguirre
Sid Luckman Quarterback Ray Hare
Harry Clarke Left halfback George Cafego
Dante Magnani Right halfback Frank Seno
Bob Masters Fullback Andy Farkas


Bears substitutions: Pool, Berry, Steinkemper, Babartsky, Mundee, Ippolito, Logan, Matuza, McLean, Luckman, Famighetti, Nagurski, McEnulty, Nolting and Vodicka.

Redskins substitutions: Piasecky, Lapka, Wilkin, Zeno, Fiorentino, Leon, Hayden, Baugh, Seymour, Moore, Gibson, Akins and Stasica.


The NFL had only four game officials in 1943; the back judge was added in 1947, the line judge in 1965, and the side judge in 1978.

Scoring summary

Sunday, December 26, 1943
Kickoff: 2 p.m. CWT (CDT)

Game statistics

Bears Game Statistics[9][10] Redskins
12 First downs 11
44–168 Rushes–yards 27–45
276 Passing yards 182
14–27–0 Passes 10–22–4
66 Punt return yards 37
5–32 Punts 5–48.4
21 Kickoff return yards 167
0–0 Fumbles–lost 1–0
9–81 Penalties–yards 2–20

Players' shares

Each player on the Bears took home $1,135 while each member of the Redskins got $754.[7]


  1. 1 2 Prell, Edward (December 26, 1943). "Bears play Redskins today for pro title". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 1, part 2.
  2. 1 2 3 Prell, Edward (December 26, 1943). "Bears crush Redskins, 41-21; win pro title". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 17.
  3. 1 2 3 "Luckman restores Bears to pro grid title". Pittsburgh Press. United Press. December 27, 1943. p. 16.
  4. "Baugh's brilliancey nets Redskins triumph". Pittsburgh Press. United Press. December 20, 1943. p. 22.
  5. 1 2 "'Ice Bowl' won't do big business". Pittsburgh Press. December 26, 1943. p. 32.
  6. Healey, Gerald B. (December 26, 1943). "Bears 7 point favorites to beat Redskins in pro title game". Milwaukee Sentinel. INS. p. 1B.
  7. 1 2 3 "Each Bear player receives $1,135 for victory game". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. December 27, 1943. p. 4, part 2.
  8. "Bear Defeat Reskins for Pro Title on Luckman's Five Touchdown Passes". New York Times. December 27, 1943. p. 24.
  9. "Boxscore". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
  10. Kuechle, Oliver E. (December 27, 1943). "Bear Bury Skins; Sid Luckman Stars". Milwaukee Journal. p. L4. Retrieved June 8, 2011.

Coordinates: 41°56′53″N 87°39′22″W / 41.948°N 87.656°W / 41.948; -87.656

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