Golden Football Magazine
NFL Championship Games
1940: Chicago Bears @ Washington Redskins
This series covers the history of the NFL through the prism of its yearly championship games.
Note: The gray boxes contain asides that provide interesting material but could be skipped without losing the continuity of the article.

Redskins B Max Krause
Max Krause

Bears C Clyde "Bulldog" Turner
Bulldog Turner

Bears E Ken Kavanaugh
Ken Kavanaugh

Redskins B Frank Filchock
Frank Filchock

Redskins Owner George Preston Marshall
George Preston Marshall

Bears Assistant Luke Johnsos
Luke Johnsos

Bears Assistant Hunk Anderson

Coach Clark Shaughnessy
Clark Shaughnessy

1940 NFL Championship Game Program

The National Football League enjoyed a record season at the box office.
  • 1,295,217 spectators viewed the games. An infusion of exciting young talent accounted for much of the increased interest.
  • The Brooklyn Dodgers hired one of the top college coaches, John "Jock" Sutherland of Pittsburgh, to turn around their fortunes. He succeeded, lifting them from 4-6-1 in '39 to 8-3 in '40.
  • The 9-2 Washington Redskins wrested the East title back from the New York Giants after two years.
  • A similar phenomeon took place in the West where the Bears regained the crown from the Packers after a two year lapse.

Ray Flaherty's Redskins led the league in scoring, averaging 23 ppg.

  • Third-year TB Sammy Baugh led the league in passing yards, completion %, and TD passes and finished second in Passing Average. The team led the NFL in Gross Passing Yards with 1887, 335 better than 2nd-place Cleveland Rams.
  • The Redskins' double wing formation sent four receivers quickly down the field against the three DBs that were standard in those days. Baugh consis­tently found the open man whether it was E Charley Malone or a back like Jimmy Johnston (the leading receiver), Dick Todd, Max Krause, or Ed "Chug" Jus­tice.
Dick Todd, Ray Flaherty, Sammy Baugh
L-R: Dick Todd, Ray Flaherty, Sammy Baugh
George Halas added five rookies to his roster.
  • #1 draft choice C-LB Clyde "Bulldog" Turner from Hardin-Simmons
    George McAfee, an explosive runner from Duke who also excelled as a kick returner
    Ken Kavanaugh, an E from LSU who ran the 100 in 9.9 seconds
    Tackles Ed Kolman of Temple and Les Artoe of California
  • As you can tell from the fact that Kavanaugh led the team in pass receiving with a mere 12 catches, Halas emphasized the ground attack, which led the circuit with 1818y. The Bears finally got over the loss of bruising FB Bronko Nagurski after the '37 campaign.
  • Chicago was a deep team. Jim Lawrence, a Philadelphia lineman: It was worse when the Bear second string came in because they were breathing fire trying to prove they should be first string.
  • The Bears remained the only pro team using the T formation, which Halas had utilized off and on for 20 years.
1940 Chicago Bears starters
1940 Chicago Bears starting lineup
Washington and Chicago met once in the regular season, November 17 in D.C.
  • The defenses prevailed as the Skins escaped with a 7-3 victory. The Bears felt they had dominated the game but lost because of bad breaks and an egregious non-call at the end.
  • With 25 seconds left, Chicago QB Bob Snyder threw a pass from midfield to McAfee on the 12. The rookie plunged ahead, but Todd saved the day with a tackle at the 1' line. With time ticking away, McAfee feigned injury which allowed the Bears to call an extra timeout at the cost of a 5y penalty.
  • Starting QB Sid Luckman, in his second year out of Columbia, entered and threw a pass that was batted down. Only a couple of seconds remained - time for one more play although many in the crowd of 35,331 poured onto the field.
  • Luckman shot a pass to Bill Osmanski that fell incomplete in the EZ. The Bears stormed the officials, claiming that Frank Filchock had interfered with Bill by pinning his arms.
  • With both teams leading their division, football fans looked forward to a re­match in the title game. But Washington's flamboyant owner, George Pres­ton Marshall, added fuel to the fire with one of the most ill-advised state­ments in sports history. The Bears are a bunch of crybabies. They can't take defeat. They are a first-half club. They are quitters. They are the world's greatest crybabies.
  • The Bears owner-coach said nothing at the time but remembered every word. The irony was that Halas had facilitated Marshall's entry into the owners' circle and even championed some of his ideas, such as dividing the league into two divisions with the winners meeting for the championship.

Halas used the week of the Championship Game to lift the art of coaching to a new level.

  • Marshall sent Halas a telegram: Congratulations. I hope I will have the pleas­ure of beating your ears off next Sunday and every year to come. Justice is tri­umphant. We should play for the championship every year. Game will be sold out by Tuesday night.
  • Fired up as never before in his career, Halas and his two assistants, Luke Johnsos and Hunk Anderson, knew that the best way to hold down Slingin' Sammy's offense was to keep the ball away from him. So they began plan­ning for the game the week of the final regular season game after the Bears clinched the West.
  • Halas built his offensive plan on the assumption that the Redskins would employ the same defense that had held the Bears to 3 points three weeks earlier - five man front with the LBs shifting toward the man in motion. The Bears coach recalled in his autobiography: For two weeks we prepared rigo­rously. We watched the 7-3 game on film a hundred times. We scouted Wash­ington's last two games and gratefully noticed the defense was unaltered. ... We discussed for hours which of our plays might be most effective against the Wash­ington defense. We stayed up all night to review again the game movies. We chose about twenty plays. We selected other plays to fit every conceivable pertinent defense Washington might adopt.
  • George called in his friend and former assistant Clark Shaughnessy who had just led Stanford to an undefeated season and a Rose Bowl berth. The T formation guru worked with QB Luckman and helped Halas clean out some dead wood in the attack and introduce a new communications system.

    Bulldog Turner recalled: Clark Shaughnessy to me is the most brilliant foot­ball man that ever lived. He was a genius to the extent that he was lacking in personality, and so a lot of people didn't like him or were jealous of him. We had guys that'd sleep while Clark Shaughnessy was lecturing. Every once in a while ol' Shaughnessy would hit one with an eraser or something. ... Myself, I could listen to that man by the hour. ...
    He drew up a play
    [for the championship game] and he said, "This play's gonna work." He told us his reasons, and we were convinced that play was gonna work. Then he said, "Now, then, if it don't, here'll be the reasons why. And I'll give you another play that will work."

  • A foot of snow forced the Bears to practice lightly in the University of Chica­go Field House. Morning workouts were followed by chalk talks, lectures, and even written quizzes on individual assignments. (Paul Brown didn't invent game plan tests after all.)
  • The players watched the movies almost as many times as the coaches. See­ing their previous mistakes highlighted on the screen, they vowed not to make them again.
  • Through it all, Halas kept his team at fever pitch by reminding his charges of Marshall's remarks. Luckman would later recall, I've never experienced any­thing like it. There was a feeling of tension in the air as though something tre­mendous was about to happen.
  • The temperature in Washington hovered near zero most of the week, but the skies remained clear. So the Skins held their regular practices.
  • A few days before the game, Marshall continued to belittle the Bears. The trouble with the league right now is that the strength is concentrated in the East. When asked how his team would do, George replied, We have whipped them before, and we will whip them again.
  • The train ride to the Nation's Capital was different from any road trip the Bears had made. Usually, the players engaged in card games or sat around swapping stories with plenty of joking. This time, as Luckman recalled, No­body was laughing or horsing around. Not a single deck of cards was brought out. Instead, Halas's boys sat in their seats studying their notebooks! Os­manski recalled: I'll never forget the train ride to Washington. Everyone had his play book out.
  • Halas even employed some superstition. He shifted the team from its usual Washington hotel to another.

Saturday - the lull before the storm

  • Marshall read aloud from a newspaper to his wife, Corinne Griffith, at the breakfast table. Listen to what George Halas says, He says he wouldn't be surprised to see his Bears win by a big margin. Why, that's ridiculous. I can't even understand why his team is favored [2 1/2 points]. Corinne, my lads will pass them silly.
  • The Redskins practiced for three hours in Griffith Stadium. After showering, they filtered into the stands to get a glimpse of their opponents' workout. Andy Farkas recalled: They came out screaming like a pack of wild Indians. I'd never seen anything like it. They took off and ran the length of the field. They circled the goal posts and started back, and they were still screaming. At that point, Halas turned to Anderson and said, My, but the boys are enthusiastic. Get 'em back inside. I don't want 'em to lose that kind of enthusiasm. They would prove the next day that they didn't need any more practice. They were ready.
  • Later that afternoon, Baugh and Luckman went on national network radio to talk about the game. When the show ended, they wished each other luck. Sammy, it's going to be quite a game, said Sid. Yeah, I know, but we're ready for you. Luckman came back with, We're gonna have a lot of fun out there to­morrow. Baugh probably didn't realize that his counterpart was subtly alert­ing him to what lay in store for the Redskins.
1940 Chicago Bears
# Player Pos. Hgt. Wgt. College Exp.
2 Gary Famiglietti FB/HB 6-0 225 Boston U. 3
4 Harry Clarke HB 6-0 186 West Virginia 1
5 George McAfee HB 6-0 178 Duke 1
6 John Siegel E 6-1 203 Columbia 2
7 Edgar Manske E 6-0 185 Northwestern 6
9 Bill Osmanski FB 5-11 197 Holy Cross 2
10 Jack Manders FB/HB 6-1 203 Minnesota 8
11 Joe Maniaci FB 6-1 212 Fordham 5
13 Joe Stydahar T 6-4 233 West Virginia 5
14 Dick Plasman E 6-3 218 Vanderbilt 4
16 George Musso G-T 6-2 262 Millikin 8
17 Bob Snyder QB 6-0 200 Ohio 4
20 Bob Nowaskey E 6-0 205 George Washington 1
21 Daniel Fortman G 6-0 210 Colgate 5
22 Solly Sherman QB 6-1 190 Chicago 2
23 Aldo Forte G-T 6-0 213 Montana 2
24 Frank Bausch C 6-3 220 Kansas 7
25 Ray Nolting HB 5-11 185 Cincinnati 5
26 Albert Baisi G 6-0 217 Kansas 1
27 Joseph Mihal T 6-2 234 Purdue 1
28 Chet Chesney C 6-2 227 DePaul 2
29 Ed Kolman T 6-2 232 Temple 1
30 George Wilson E 6-1 199 Northwestern 4
33 Bernard Masterson QB 6-3 195 Nebraska 7
34 Jack Torrance T 6-5 285 LSU 2
35 Lee Artoe T 6-3 234 Santa Clara 1
42 Sid Luckman QB 6-0 197 Columbia 2
48 Robert Swisher HB 5-11 163 Northwestern 3
51 Ken Kavanaugh E 6-3 207 LSU 1
57 Ray McLean HB 5-10 168 St. Anselm 1
66 Clyde Turner C 6-1 190 Hardin-Simmons 1
76 Hampton Pool E 6-3 221 Stanford 1
82 Ray Bray G 6-0 237 Western Michigan 2
1940 Washington Redskins
# Player Pos. Hgt. Wgt. College Exp.
  Bo Russell T 6-1 223 Auburn 2
  Ernie Pinckert B 6-0 197 USC 9
  Boyd Morgan B 6-0 198 USC 2
  Jim Meade HB 6-1 195 Maryland 2
  Steve Andrako C 6-0 210 Ohio State 1
  Max Krause B 5-10 202 Gonzaga 8
  Sandy Sanford E 6-1 210 Alabama 1
  Richard Farman G 6-0 219 Washington State 2
  Mickey Parks C 6-0 225 Oklahoma 3
  Bob Hoffman BB 6-1 208 USC 1
  Bob Fisher T 6-2 220 USC 1
13 Ed Justice HB 6-1 200 Gonzaga 5
15 Jim Barber T 6-3 223 San Francisco 6
16 Steve Slivinski G 5-10 214 Washington 2
17 Turk Edwards T 6-2 255 Washington State 9
18 Robert Tichenal C 6-2 194 San Jose State 1
19 Charley Malone E 6-4 206 Texas A&M 7
20 Bob Seymour HB 6-2 205 Oklahoma 1
22 Roy Zimmerman QB 6-2 01 San Jose State 1
26 Victor Carroll G-T 6-3 235 Nevada 5
28 Bob Masterson E 6-1 213 Miami 3
30 Frank Filchock QB 5-10 193 Indiana 3
31 Jimmy Johnston B 6-1 193 Washington 2
32 Bob McChesney E 6-2 195 UCLA 5
33 Sammy Baugh QB 6-2 182 TCU 4
35 Wilbur Moore HB 5-11 187 Minnesota 2
36 Willie Wilkin T 6-4 261 St. Mary's (CA) 3
37 William Young T 6-1 247 Alabama 4
39 Clem Stralka G-T 5-10 215 Georgetown 3
40 Wayne Millner E 6-1 189 Notre Dame 5
41 Dick Todd HB 5-11 172 Texas A&M 2
42 Ray Hare B 6-1 204 Gonzaga 1
44 Andy Farkas B 5-10 189 Detroit 3
51 Clyde Shugart G-T 6-1 221 Iowa State 2
Griffith Stadium 12/8/1940 - 1
Griffith Stadium 12/8/1941 - 2
Sunday, December 8, was a beautiful late Fall day warmer than usual.
  • Reports of rampant scalping caused the Washington police to bring in 20 men from surrounding jurisdictions to help the 120 D.C. cops. The force arrested a grand total of eight scalpers.
  • 36,034, including 1,499 Bears' fans who arrived by special train, filled the seats and an estimated 150 sportswriters taxed the pressbox facilities to see the much anticipated matchup between the league's best passing team and the top rushing aggregation. With war raging in Europe, journalists compared the matchup to bomb­ers vs. tanks.
  • The Mutual Network paid $2,500 for the broadcast rights, making the game the first NFL championship to be heard coast-to-coast (120 stations). Red Barber, already famous as a baseball announcer, scanned the team rosters to make sure he could pro­nounce every name.

    Red recalled years later: The touchdowns came so quickly there for a while, I felt like I was the cashier at a grocery store. It is a very good thing I went over the roster of the Bears. I believe I wound up having to say every player's name on the list.

  • As spectators entered the gates, they were given song sheets. Ever the show­man, Marshall had erected temporary bleachers to accommodate more fans. The new stands included a teepee that held a band that played old favorites as the fans walked to their seats. Those so inclined could sing along from the song sheets.
  • Usually not one to give pep talks, Halas had a surprise for his team when they entered the locker room before the game. Luckman: The headlines in the newspa­pers Saturday night ... said the Bears were crybabies. ... Coach Halas had the pages blown up. I don't know how he did it on a Saturday night. Osmanski recalled: When we came into the dressing room, we saw that Mr. Halas had pinned the clippings to the wall. When we were ready to go out, he pointed to the clippings and said, "That's what the people in Washington are saying about you, gentlemen. I know you are the greatest football team ever. Now go out and show the world." Luckman: I tell you there was never such a surge for the door. I tell you we almost broke the damn door down.
  • The only good thing that happened to Washington that day was the marching band's brilliant pregame rendition of "Hail to the Redskins." (Jeff Davis)
The head linesman for the game was Irv Kupchinet, who was also covering the clash for the Chicago Times, an obvious conflict of interest. In that era, most officials owed their jobs to one of the NFL owners, in this case Halas, who sponsored more men in stripes than anyone else. But on this day, the Bears wouldn't need any help from the officials.
Chicago started fast and never let up. There has never been anything like it before or since.
  • Quarter 1
    The Bears won the toss. Ray Nolting took the kickoff on the 3, cut to the right sideline, broke upfield until a Redskin knocked the ball loose. But - an omen for what was to come? - the ball went out of bounds on the 25. Halas had instructed Luckman to run three plays (what today would be called a "script") to see if the Redskins would stick to the 5-3-3 defense they had used in the earlier game. LH Nolting went in motion to his right. As Sid took the snap, FB Osmanski and RH McAfee made simultaneous half-step fakes to their right before veering left. Luckman turned and handed to McAfee who gained 8. Luckman recalled the next play as follows: In the huddle, I said that they were using the same defense and called an off-tackle play by Bill Osmanski. As I started the count, McAfee went in motion to the right and I pitched to Osmanski going to the left. As he came in the hole, Bill saw the Redskin end had a crack at him and swung to the outside. Then he was momentarily in the clear. As he passed the Washington 35-yard line Redskins Ed Justice and Jimmy Johnston closed in. So did [RE] George Wilson of the Bears. Turner: Ol' George Wilson, who later was head coach for Detroit and Mi­ami, ... was a real slow end, but, man, he could block. He hit one guy [Justice] and knocked him into another [Johnston], and when that happened, ol' Bill Osmanski was home free. Halas called Wilson's block the greatest he ever saw.
Osmanski's Run - 2Osmanski's TD run - 1
Two views of the start of Osmanski's TD run
Osmanski's Run Down Sideline - 1
Osmanski's Run Down Sideline - 2
Wilson takes out two Redskins to spring Osmanski to EZ
Turner: We got so much publicity from that game that later all Bill Osmanski wanted to do was run up into the line and then slide out and go around end. I got where I was disgusted with him because he wouldn't run Clark Shaughnessy's play the way it was supposed to be run.

The 68y TD was followed by an "Automatic" Jack Manders kick to make it 7-0 with just 56 seconds elapsed. But Max Krause got the stunned fans back in the game by return­ing the ensuing kickoff 62y to the Chicago 32 before Osmanski corraled him. Two plays gained 4, with leading rusher Dick Todd knocked out of the game on his first carry be­cause of a head injury. Baugh took the snap and threw a perfect pass to E Charley Ma­lone behind the secondary inside the 5. But, looking into the sun, Malone missed the ball. Bob Masterson then failed on a FG try to give the Bears the ball on their 20.

Sportswriters started speculating right after the game that the contest would have pro­ceeded much differently had Malone snagged the TD pass. But years later, Luckman dismissed that notion.
The theory that it would have made a difference doesn't make sense. The Skins were pros who had lost only one game in the regular season. A dropped pass in the first two minutes of play wasn't about to dispirit them. Besides, there was money involved.
When asked by Arthur Daley of the New York Times after the game what might have happened if Malone caught his pass, Baugh replied, The score would have been 73 to 7.
McAfee Runs - 1 McAfee Runs - 2
Two McAfee runs
Luckman proceeded to lead a methodical 17-play march during which he threw only one pass - to McAfee for 15y to the 2. Sid scored from inside the 1 on a sneak. The big play was a 27y scamper by Osmanski. This time, Bob Snyder booted the point. 14-0
The Redskins, already showing signs of panic, tried three passes but all failed, the last one a drop. Baugh's punt was partially blocked and went out on the Washington 42.
Sid called for another of the special plays, this one calling for both guards to pull back, the RHB to shift toward C, and the LHB to go to the right to draw the secondary in that direction. FB Joe Maniaci took a shovel pass going to his left behind the RHB. The LG went through the line and took out the DB, while the RHB knocked the LE, knocking him into the LB. His path cleared, Joe didn't stop until he reached pay dirt without a hand touching him. That is the way a play should work when everyone does his job, Halas wrote in his autobiography. Phil Martinovich converted - the sixth Bear to score. 21-0 with 2:20 still left in Q1!
Flaherty sent in Filchock for Baugh in hopes that a new pitcher could reverse the tide.
Six Bears close in on Johnston
Six Bears close in on Johnston.

Stydahar Recovers Baugh's Fumble
Joe Stydahar (13) recovers the fumble by Baugh (33).

  • Quarter 2
    This proved to be the Redskins best quarter, the visitors scoring only one TD. The Skins switched to six- and seven-man lines to stem the tide.
    Washington almost got a break when Luckman's lateral to Nolting was fumbled, but Ray recovered for a 14y loss. On another occasion, the Bears collected their first of eight INTs on the day but lost the ball on a fumble.
    Suddenly, the Redskins air game began to click. Three passes moved them from their 19 to the Chicago 18. Halas's D switched to a five-man line. Four passes in a row failed.
    The game went back and forth until Nolting snagged an INT. A minute later, Kav­anaugh made a leaping catch of Luckman's pass in the corner of the EZ behind Filchock and Farkas for a 30y TD. Snyder kicked the point. 28-0
    Baugh returned to action for the final minutes of the half and passed to the Bear 44 where he called time out to stop the clock, accepting the 5y penalty. With time fading, Sam dropped back, letting the receivers range far. A Bear got his hand on him, but he threw long to the 5 where 6'4" Malone again was waiting. But Snyder and McLean were there also. Somehow, 5'10" McLean jumped high enough to knock the ball away. After paying another 5y to stop the clock for one more play, Baugh threw another "Hail Mary" (although the term wasn't invented yet), but Osmanski intercepted at the 3.
A Redskin corrals Osmanski.
A Redskin corrals Osmanski.

Bears Knock Ball Away from Malone
Ray McLean (57) knocks ball away from Malone.

As the the Redskins Marching Band, Marshall's pride and joy, presented a halftime pro­gram honoring all the teams in the league, one team tried to regroup while the other vowed not to take their foot off the pedal.
  • Halas knew that 28-0 wasn't a safe lead against a team led by Baugh. New clip­pings now adorned the locker room reminding the Bears that Marshall had called them "a first-half ball club" and "quitters."
  • Yet Halas sat Sid on the bench for the second half, undoubtedly prepared to rein­sert him should the Skins rally.
  • Refusing to concede defeat, Flaherty told his men, I've seen bigger comebacks. We should have scored on our first try. The game is far from over.
  • The Redskins were sky high when they came out, ready to take the kickoff and start getting back in the game.
  • Quarter 3
    Right after receiving the kickoff, Baugh floated a swing pass toward Johnston. But E Hampton Pool, who had followed the back, jumped high, batted the ball straight up, caught it, and ran 15y to the EZ. Dick Plasman took a turn booting the EP. 35-0. You could almost see the Redskins wilt.

    Plasman earned a distinction in the game as the last NFL player to compete with­out a helmet.

    The desperate Skins went for it on 4th down at their 33 with 20y to go, but Sam's pass fell incomplete.
    Nolting gained 10 over T on the first snap. Then, with the LE and LHB out to the left to draw the LBs, Nolting bolted through a quick-opening hole inside LT and scooted 23y for a TD, faking out Baugh at the 8. The PAT failed, the Bears first misfire of the afternoon. 41-0
    Two plays after the kickoff, McAfee intercepted third-string QB Roy Zimmerman's pass and zigzagged 34y behind fine blocking to touch the ball down in the EZ. Joe Stydahar toed the point. Nolting was ejected for swinging a fist. 48-0
    In the pressbox, reporters took bets on whether the Bears would tally more TDs on offense or defense.
    Another Zimmerman pass boomeranged soon after. This time Turner snagged it, racing 24y for a TD aided by a furious block by Pool on the hapless Zimmerman. The Skins blocked Maniaci's kick. 54-0
    With two minutes left in the period and the crowd chanting, Sixty. Sixty, Flaherty sent in a new backfield.
Bears BenchRedskins Bench
Different expressions on the benches - Bears (L) and Redskins (R)
The starting QBs are second from left in each picture: Luckman (L) and Baugh (R)
  • Quarter 4
    The reserves had their fun as all 33 Bears racked up playing time. The Redskins were losing their tempers. One slugged a Bear to earn a 15y penalty that put the ball on the Washington 44. At the snap, Harry Clark started left as if leading the RHB but after three or four steps sharply reversed. The other HB flipped the ball to him, and off Clark went to the right. With the defense totally out of position, he streaked to the 10 where he ran through Filchock's tackle. Famigliano tried the kick but missed. 60-0 with eleven minutes left. Seventy, seventy! beseeched the crowd.
    At this point, one of the Bears on the sideline said This is ridiculous, beating them so bad. Let's not score any more. But his teammates shouted him down. Players leaving the field whacked their substitutes on the seat of their pants. Pour it on 'em. Don't let up!
    The Bear assault left many wounded. Malone left the game with three broken ribs and a bruised kidney after tackling McAfee. Bob McChesney rebroke his fist. Krause hobbled off with a bad knee.
    The point explosion created a problem. So many extra point kicks flew into the stands that the Redskins ran out of new balls. So the equipment manager dug out some old practice balls. With that supply about gone as well, Referee Red Friesell went to Halas and asked him to instruct his team not to kick any more extra points. No doubt bemused by the problem, the coach was happy to oblige.

    As the supply of balls dwindled, Redskins business manager Jack Espey went in­to the crowd to beg fans to give them back. He spotted a high school classroom to whom he made an offer: If he would let me have the ball if we need it in exchange for a brand new one autographed by every Redskin player and the Bears too. The re­luctant classmate agreed. But when the Bears scored a few minutes later and booted the last good ball into the stands, Espey ran to the EZ and asked to have it back. Go peddle your papers, his classmate yelled. That's when the ref made his request of Halas.
    Turner: The extra points were going into the stands, see? Well, after one of those touchdowns, Bob Snyder comes in from the bench and says to me, "Coach said to make a bad pass from center. He said we don't want to kick any more points because we're losing too many footballs." I think it was Snyder who was going to hold for that next extra point, but anyway, I said to him, "You go to hell. I'm going to put that ball right back in your hands, and if you don't want it, drop it. But I'm not going to make a bad pass." ... I had never made a bad pass yet -- not in all the time I'd played center.

    Washington's woes continued as the pass from C got away from Filchock, Bull­dog pouncing on it at the 2. Gary Famiglietti did the honors from there. Third-string QB Solly Sherman passed to Maniaci for the PAT. 67-0
    The P.A. announcer chose this moment to make a singularly ill-timed announce­ment. Attention, please. Season books for 1941 ... The boos drowned out his voice, the first show of emotion by the fans since early in Q3. (By Christmas, though, Marshall would still enjoy a new high in season tickets purchased.)
    Filchock persisted in passing to try to avoid a shutout. But on second down, Ma­niaci grabbed the ball on a deflection off teammate Chet Chesney and returned it 21y to the Washington 42. From there, the Bears turned on the power again, culminating in Clark picking up the final yard on the tenth play to become the only repeat TD maker of the day. Sherman's pass to Maniaci for the point was knock­ed down. 73-0. Eighty, eighty! shouted the crowd.
    When the final gun sounded, a pressbox wag exclaimed, Marshall just shot him­self. To which another replied, He should have shot his team first.
    The Bears carried their revered coach from the field. In their dressing room, the entire team ran in a circle, arms raised, cheering for themselves. Halas, who had helped to start this game [pro football], had delivered the classic lesson on how it should be played. (Jerry Izenburg)
Griffith Stadium Scoreboard Bears exult.
L: Scoreboard in Q4 - no empty seats; R: Bears exult in locker room
The statistics were as one-sided as the score.
  • First downs: 17-17
  • Yards rushing: 406-38 Bears
  • Passing: Bears 10-7-0/101y, Redskins 51-20-8/195y
  • Return yardage: Redskins 227, Bears 50
  • Fumbles-Lost: Bears 3-1, Redskins 5-1
  • Penalty Yards: Bears 25, Redskins 70
  • Chicago established playoff records for most yards rushing and total offense.
  • The game remains to this day the largest margin of victory in NFL history.


  • Kupchinet hurried to the Bears locker room in his officiating gear to gather com­ments. Then he rushed to his hotel room to type the story and dictate it by phone to his editor's desk in the Windy City. His opening read, Today the Bears unleash­ed the fury that had been pent up.
  • Halas made the understatement of the century to a radio interviewer: My team played a great game. I think they deserved to win. ... We were just the hottest club in the world today. It's one of those things that will never happen again. ... Everything we did, we did right. Everything they did was wrong. ... Live by the pass, die by it. The Redskins hurt themselves all day by doing silly things like passing from their 10y line. George, a lifelong Catholic, reported in his autobiography: As soon as I could decently depart, I went to the hotel, shut myself in my room, got down on my knees and said a prayer of thanks.
  • Musso: We wanted revenge and we got it.
  • Flaherty admitted his squad became demoralized. Referring to Malone's muff of the sure TD pass in Q1: If we had tied the score then, things might have been differ­ent. Maybe not, though. The Bears were a great club today. They didn't make a mis­take. We did lots of times, and that was that.
  • Baugh, near tears, called the game the most humiliating of his life.
  • Filchock: The funny thing was we really felt confident before the game. We'd beaten them just three weeks earlier on the same field. The final score then was 7-3. Today, same numbers but without the dash. Told that some had criticized the Redskins for passing so much, Frank replied: Listen, it was 35-0 by the time I got in the game. What else are you going to do but pass when you're so far behind?
  • Krause: They had a good day. We had a bad one.
  • A shamefaced George Marshall didn't acknowledge his role in the massacre but instead put all the blame on his players: The tackling and blocking by some of those high-salaried backs of mine was something to watch. I don't know what they were thinking about. Maybe they were too busy looking over the crowd and trying to esti­mate their shares. ... Our defense looked like a roomful of maidens going after a mouse. Helpless, hopeless, hapless. A total embarrassment. ... My team quit, just plain quit. There'll be plenty of changes made before next year. Asked about the Bears, he replied: Good. Very good. Too good for us today. When asked if the victors rubbed it in, George said, So far as Chicago having piled it on - well, that's the way it should be in this league. I don't blame the Bears for all that scoring. If they could have made more, all the more credit to them. But there'll be plenty of house cleaning here.
    Later, he softened his stance somewhat concerning his team. Maybe they didn't lose their courage. Maybe they just lost their heads. And still later when he went to a party, he said, I don't remember a thing.

    Dan Daly and Bob O'Donnell included the following story in their book The Pro Football Chronicles:
    While the Bears were pouring it on the Redskins ..., a Washington fan heckled owner George Preston Marshall relentlessly, letting him have it with all manner of vulgarities. ... Marshall finally got fed up. He jumped from his seat and confronted the loudmouth. Ushers stepped between the two, but Marshall noted the rowdy's seat number. When it was discovered the man was a season-ticket holder, Marshall refused his request to renew for 1941.
    But wait, it gets better. The fan turned out to own a building that housed one of Mar­shall's Palace Laundry stores. He refused to renew Marshall's lease and kicked him out.

Accolades for the Bears came from all over.

  • Bert Bell, owner-coach of the Philadelphia Eagles: It's the greatest team I ever saw, and I said it last September.
  • Steve Owen, coach of the New York Giants: Now I'm glad we didn't win the East­ern championship. In fact, I'm glad we didn't finish second. Even that would have been too close to the Bears. Giants owner Tim Mara agreed. I'm glad the Giants were not out there today.
  • Tuffy Leemans, one of Owen's players: No team on earth could have beaten the Bears today. I've never seen a hotter club. Once a fire has started, there's no way to put it out. I don't know how to explain it.
  • Phil Handler, line coach of the Chicago Cardinals: I've never seen anything like it and never will again.
  • Catholic University coach Dutch Bergman: I saw the perfect football team in the Bears. I have been associated with the game as player and coach for 25 years, but never in that time did I ever see a team that did everything perfectly, with such flaw­less execution as did the Bears in humbling the Redskins.
  • Biff Jones, coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers preparing to play Stanford in Pasadena, attended the game, taking notes on the Bears' offense. Afterwards, he said, I can only hope it was the Bears' players and not the T-formation itself that accounts for the game I saw.
  • Arthur Daley started his New York Times article thus: The weather was perfect. So were the Bears. In the most fearsome display of power ever seen on any gridiron, the Monsters of the Midway won the Ed Thorpe Memorial Trophy ... At this moment, the Bears are the greatest football team of all time. Daley's soubriquet, Monsters of the Midway, stuck and is still used today.
  • Another member of the Fourth Estate wrote: Coach Halas comes pretty close to be­ing the number one football genius in the land. The [ball] carriers were on their way before they got the ball. The Redskins didn't know where the Bears would strike next.
  • Imaginative writers likened the slaughter to the British sacking Washington in the War of 1812 and Wellington's defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo. Another said the Redskins' humiliation evened the score for Custer's Last Stand.
  • The next morning, the Washington Post's banner headline blared Bears Crush Redskins 73 to 0. News of the Luftwaffe bombing of London, Hitler's marching in the streets of Paris, and seizure of a Nazi ship near Cuba took a back seat.

The game earned $102,280 from the ticket sales.

  • The winners received $873 per man.
  • Each Redskin took home $606.

1940 NFL Champion Chicago Bears
1940 NFL Champions

References: The Chicago Bears, Howard Roberts (1947)
The First Fifty Years: A Celebration of the National Football League in its Fiftieth Season (1969)
Championship: The NFL Title Games plus Super Bowl, Jerry Izenberg (1970)
Pro Football's Rag Days, Bob Curran (1969); The Game That Was, Myron Cope (1970)
Halas on Halas: The Autobiography of George Halas with Gwen Morgan and Arthur Veysey (1979)
What a Game They Played: An Inside Look at the Golden Era of Pro Football, Richard Whittingham (1984)
NFL Top 40: The Greatest Games Ever Played (1988); Dan Daly & Bob O'Donnell, The Pro Football Chronicles (1990)
Papa Bear: The Life and Legacy of George Halas, Jeff Davis (2005)
100 Yards of Glory: The Greatest Moments in NFL History, Joe Garner and Bob Costas (2011)

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