1948 NFL Championship Game

1948 NFL Championship Game
1234 Total
Chicago Cardinals 0000 0
Philadelphia Eagles 0007 7
Date December 19, 1948
Stadium Shibe Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Referee Ronald Gibbs
Attendance 36,309 (paid),   28,864 (actual)
TV in the United States
Network ABC
Announcers Harry Wismer, Red Grange
Location in the United States

The 1948 National Football League Championship game was the 16th NFL title game, played at Shibe Park in Philadelphia on December 19.[1][2][3][4]

The game was a rematch of the previous year's title game between the defending champion Chicago Cardinals (11–1), champions of the Western Division and the Philadelphia Eagles (9–2–1), champions of the Eastern Division. The Cardinals were slight favorites, at 3½ points.[5][6]

It was the first NFL championship game to be televised and due to heavy snowfall, the grounds crew needed the help of players from both teams to remove the tarp from the field.[7][8] The opening kickoff was delayed a half-hour until 2 p.m., and three extra officials were called into service to assist with out-of-bounds calls.[7] The stadium lights were on for the entire game.[2]

The Eagles won their first NFL title with a 7–0 win; it was the first title for Philadelphia since 1926, when the Frankford Yellow Jackets won the league title,[9] seven years prior to the introduction of the championship game.

Game summary

The game (also known as the Philly Blizzard) was played in Philadelphia during a significant snowstorm. Bert Bell, the NFL commissioner (and former Eagles owner), had considered postponing the game, but the players for both teams wanted to play the game. The snow began at daybreak and by kickoff the accumulation was 4 inches (10 cm) at a temperature of 27 °F (−3 °C). The paid attendance for the game was 36,309, but the actual turnout at Shibe Park was 28,864.[7][10]

It was a scoreless game until early in the fourth quarter when, after Chicago had fumbled in their own end of the field, the Eagles recovered the fumble that set up Steve Van Buren's five yard touchdown at 1:05 into the fourth quarter.[2][10] The game ended with the Eagles deep in Chicago territory. Eagles head coach Greasy Neale gave a majority of the credit for the win to veteran quarterback Tommy Thompson.[6][11]

With only five pass completions on 23 attempts for both teams, the game was completed in two hours and two minutes.[2]

Scoring summary

Sunday, December 19, 1948
Kickoff: 2 p.m. EST[7]


  • Referee: Ronald Gibbs
  • Umpire: Samuel Wilson
  • Head Linesman: Charlie Berry
  • Field Judge: William McHugh
  • Back Judge: Robert Austin [1][2]

The NFL added the fifth official, the back judge, in 1947; the line judge arrived in 1965, and the side judge in 1978.

Players' shares

The gross receipts for the game, including radio and television rights, were just under $224,000. Each player on the winning Eagles team received $1,540, while Cardinals players made $879 each.[12][13]


Eagles' owner Lex Thompson, 37, was in the hospital for appendicitis during the game.[14] He sold the team a few weeks after this game to the Happy Hundred syndicate for $250,000,[15][16] and died six years later of a heart attack.[17]

The Eagles repeated as champions in 1949, winning in the mud and rain in Los Angeles. This game in 1948 was the only time Shibe Park hosted an NFL title game; Franklin Field was the site for the Eagles' third title win in 1960, the franchise's most recent NFL championship.

This game was the Cardinals' last appearance in any NFL Championship game for over sixty years, until Super Bowl XLIII in February 2009. The Cardinals had to beat the Eagles in the 2008 NFC Championship Game to get to the Super Bowl.



  1. 1 2 Smith, Wilfrid (December 19, 1948). "Cards seek their second from Eagles". Chicago Sunday Tribune. p. 1, part 2.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Smith, Wilfrid (December 20, 1948). "Browns win, 49-7; Eagles jar cards, 7-0". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 43.
  3. Kuechle, Oliver E. (December 20, 1948). "Eagles beat Cardinals for title in snowstorm". Milwaukee Journal. p. 6, part 2.
  4. "Eagles plow over Cardinals, 7-0, for National loop title". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. December 20, 1948. p. 3, part 2.
  5. "Cards given slight edge over Eagles". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. December 18, 1948. p. 12.
  6. 1 2 "Cards favored over Eagles for grid crown". Reading Eagle. Pennsylvania. INS. December 19, 1948. p. 41.
  7. 1 2 3 4 Biederman, Lester J. (December 20, 1948). "Eagles up, Cards down; score 7-0". Pittsburgh Press. p. 22.
  8. NFL Top 10 – bad weather games. Broadcast NFL Network 27/10/08
  9. "Thompson hailed as hero of new NFL champs". Reading Eagle. Pennsylvania. Associated Press. December 20, 1948. p. 18.
  10. 1 2 Sell, Jack (December 20, 1948). "Eagles beat Cardinals for title 7-0". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 18.
  11. Fraley, Oscar (December 20, 1948). "Gridders are numbed in snow-driven game". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. United Press. p. 19.
  12. "Each Eagle gets $1,540.84". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. December 20, 1948. p. 18.
  13. "The swag". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. December 20, 1948. p. 6, part 2.
  14. "Bedridden owner of Eagles cheered by club's victory". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. December 20, 1948. p. 6, part 2.
  15. "Syndicate buys Eagles for $250,000". Chicago Sunday Tribune. Associated Press. January 16, 1949. p. 1, part 2.
  16. "Eagles sold to syndicate led by Clark". Tuscaloosa News. Associated Press. January 16, 1949. p. 6.
  17. "Thompson, 43, ex-owner of Eagles, dies". Chicago Daily Tribune. December 21, 1954. p. 4, part 3.

Coordinates: 39°59′46″N 75°09′54″W / 39.996°N 75.165°W / 39.996; -75.165

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