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The 1933 NFL Championship Game: “The First NFL Playoff Game”

Nothing is more exciting in any professional sport than a playoff game. American’s have enjoyed the NFL playoffs for eight decades. Since the NFL’s inception there have been over 500 playoff games. That tradition did not start in 1920 with the league’s inception.  From 1920-1923 the NFL Champion was voted by the team owners.  During the 1924-1932 seasons the Championship was won by the team with the best record (win percentage) at the end of the season.

The 1932 season was the final season before a Championship Game was instituted.  The final game of the ’32 season was technically a “playoff” game. The Chicago Bears (6-1-6) and the Portsmouth Spartans (6-1-4) shared the league’s best win percentage of .857.  To settle the tie an addition game was played between the two teams. The Bears were victorious in that final contest by a score of 9-0 over the Spartans. This game was recorded as a regular season game in the record books for both teams.

At the conclusion of the the 1932 season the NFL decided that a Championship game would take place at the end of every season. The two teams holding the best record in their division (Eastern and Western) would face each other to determine a champion. Thus began what we now know as the NFL Playoffs.

The 1933 NFL Championship Game played at Wrigley Field in Chicago. (Getty)

The 1933 NFL Championship Game played at Wrigley Field in Chicago. (Getty)

On December 17,1933 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL the first NFL Championship Game took place. The Western Division’s Chicago Bears (10-2-1) went to battle with the Eastern Division’s New York Giants (11-3). This game featured two of the NFL’s all-time greats, Red Grange and Bronco Nagurski both playing for the Bears.

The Bears drew first blood with a Jack Manders 16-yard field goal in the 1st quarter. In the 2nd quarter the Bears would receive another field goal from Manders, while the Giants QB Harry Newman threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Red Badgro. The Giants led 7-6 going into halftime.

When the second half began the Bears would retake the lead with another Manders field goal. The Giants quickly responded with a 1-yard touchdown run by Max Krause, the Giants now held the lead by a score of 14-09. The Bears scored their first touchdown of the game Bronco Nagurski touchdown pass to Bill Karr before the 3rd quarter concluded.

The 4th and final quarter began with the Bears holding a 16-14 lead over the Giants. The lead would change early in the final quarter when the Giants QB Harry Newman completed his second touchdown pass for the day to Ken Strong to take a 21-16 lead. The Bears came through in the final two minutes to take the lead and the win with a Bill Karr 19-yard touchdown reception. The Bears defeated the Giants 23-21 on that day. The Bears became the first NFL team to capture a championship via a “playoff” game.

Many people debated whether the first NFL game was in 1932, 1933 of 1967. The 1932 game was not officially scored as a “playoff” game while the 1933 game was. The semifinal playoff games did not begin until the 1967 season so some consider it to be the first season with a playoff. I feel that the 1933 game was a playoff game and has even officially been regarded as that by the NFL. With that being said, the first ever NFL Championship game was the first playoff game ever.

“Ready For Glory” The Cowboys Defeat The Giants

The 2012 NFL Season kicked off on Wednesday Night in New York City. The Dallas Cowboys came into town to face their rivals the New York Giants. The Giants are going into the season as the defending champions. The Cowboys are beginning this season like they have so many others, just wanting to not choke under pressure. The Cowboys made a statement last night, they may be ready for success.

Breakout Star Kevin Ogletree on his way to a touchdown.
(Getty Images)

The Cowboys won the game 24-17, in a game that many thought would end in disappointment for “Americas Team”. The Cowboys dominated the Giants more than the score will show. The Cowboys QB Tony Romo played with poise and threw for 3 touchdowns and had 307 yards passing. Romo made a statement in this game to all of his detractors that he is a big time QB and can lead his team to wins. Kevin Ogletree had an incredible game, going into the season as the third wide receiver for the Cowboys. Ogletree was given a chance to shine when Jason Witten was limited due to injury. Ogletree took full advantage of his opportunity with 114 yards receiving and had 2 touchdowns.

The Giants did not look like the defending Super Bowl Champions in this game. QB Eli Manning Had just over 200 yards passing and only 1 TD. The Defense of the Giants was just not enough to contain the Cowboys. Point proven when Ogletree scored a 40 yard TD when he was able to break the tackles attempted by the Giants Defense.

The Cowboys began with a bang but can they keep it up? They have a history of tanking in the late part of the season and in the playoffs when they make it. This could be a sign that everything has finally fallen into place for the Cowboys who have struggled for most of the 2000’s. Tony Romo has spent many years trying to be the QB to take the Cowboys back to the Super Bowl. He has come up short many times, will this year be the same? We will have to watch how the Cowboys play the rest of the season to truly know but I have a feeling this Cowboys team is special.