1956 NFL Championship Game
The Bears (dark jerseys) shifted into the short punt.
|Date||December 30, 1956|
Yankee Stadium, The Bronx,|
New York City, New York
|TV in the United States|
and Red Grange
|Radio in the United States|
The New York Giants (8–3–1) won the Eastern Conference title and hosted the Chicago Bears (9–2–1), the Western Conference champions. The teams had met in the regular season five weeks earlier on November 25 at Yankee Stadium and played to a 17–17 tie; the Bears entered the championship game in late December as slight favorites. The Giants hosted because the home field for the title game alternated between the conferences; home field advantage was not implemented until 1975.
Both teams had been absent from the league title game for a decade, when the Bears won the championship over the Giants at the Polo Grounds in 1946. The Giants' most recent NFL title was before World War II, in 1938. The 1956 season marked the Giants' first at Yankee Stadium, moving across the Harlem River from the Polo Grounds. This was the first championship since 1949 without the Cleveland Browns, who had appeared in six consecutive since joining the NFL in 1950.
The 1956 Giants featured a number of Hall of Fame players, including running backs Frank Gifford and Alex Webster, offensive tackle Roosevelt Brown, linebacker Sam Huff, and defensive end Andy Robustelli. Two assistants of Giants head coach Jim Lee Howell, offensive coordinator Vince Lombardi and defensive coordinator Tom Landry, later became Hall of Fame head coaches with other franchises; Lombardi coached the Green Bay Packers to five NFL Championships during the 1960s and Landry led the Dallas Cowboys to five Super Bowls, with two wins, during the 1970s. He was the head coach of the Cowboys for 29 seasons, through 1988.
The game was played on an icy field, with temperatures hovering around 20 °F (−7 °C). To adjust to the slick conditions, the Giants opted to wear sneakers instead of traditional football cleats. The advantage the white sneakers provided in footing was cited as a major factor in New York's romp. Twenty-two years earlier on an icy Polo Grounds field, the Giants had employed the same tactic and beat the Bears to win the 1934 NFL Championship Game in the famous "Sneakers Game."
The Giants led 13–0 after the first quarter and built a 34–7 halftime lead on their way to a 47–7 win before 56,836. Although the home team, the Giants wore their white jerseys and the Bears their navy blue. New York's custom at the time was to alternate between blue and white jerseys at home. The blue jerseys were designated as the "home jerseys" beginning in 1957.
The 1956 NFL title was the Giants' fourth; they played in five of the six title games from 1958 through 1963, but did not win any of them. After the 1956 title, it was another thirty years before their next, Super Bowl XXI in January 1987.
Sunday, December 30, 1956
Kickoff: 2:05 p.m. EST
- First quarter
- Second quarter
- Third quarter
- Fourth quarter
- NY – Frank Gifford 14 yard pass from Conerly (Agajanian kick), 47–7 NY
- Referee: William Downes
- Umpire: Samuel Wilson
- Head Linesman: Cleo Diehl
- Field Judge: George Rennix
- Back Judge: Don Looney
The NFL had five game officials in 1956; the line judge was added in 1965 and the side judge in 1978. A total of twelve officials were on hand for this championship: the game crew, a full alternate crew (headed by referee Ron Gibbs), and two to operate the clock.
The gross receipts for the game, including $205,000 for radio and television rights, were over $517,000, the highest to date. Each player on the winning Giants team received $3,779, while Bears players made $2,485 each.
- Strickler, George (December 30, 1956). "Bears seek Chicago's 1st title since '47". Chicago Sunday Tribune. p. 1, part 2.
- Strickler, George (December 31, 1956). "Why Bears were crushed in title game". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 1, part 2.
- Sell, Jack (December 31, 1956). "Giants crush Bears in title game, 47-7". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 12.
- Mosby, Wade (December 31, 1956). "Giants outclass Bears, 47-7, to win first pro football title in 18 years". Milwaukee Journal. p. 9, part 2.
- "Bears rated edge over Giants today in pro title game". Milwaukee Journal. December 30, 1956. p. 2, sports.
- Hand, Jack (December 30, 1956). "Bears still slight favorites to snare NFL championship". Youngstown Vindicator. Ohio. Associated Press. p. D1.
- "Giants stampede Bears, 47-7". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. Associated Press. December 31, 1956. p. 7.
- Reichler, Joe (December 31, 1956). "Mel Triplett features as Giants rout Bears, 47-7, in pro championship tilt". Youngstown Vindicator. Ohio. Associated Press. p. 8.
- "Officials named for pro showdown". St. Petersburg Times. Florida. Associated Press. December 29, 1956. p. 6.
- "Facts and figures". Youngstown Vindicator. Ohio. Associated Press. December 31, 1956. p. 8.