Golden Football Magazine
NFL Championship Games
1942: 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.

"Bullet Bill" Dudley, Steelers HB
Bill Dudley

Bears QB Charlie O'Rourke
Charlie O'Rourke

Bears RB Gary Famiglietti
Gary Famiglietti

Bears E Ray McLean
Ray McLean

Bears HB Bill Osmanski

Bears T Joe Stydahar

Redskins coach Ray Flaherty
Ray Flaherty

The first football season since the U.S. entered World War II saw many changes throughout the NFL.
  • The NFL raised $680,000 during the 1942 season for war-relief agencies, the largest contribution by any single sports organization. The biggest take came from the preseason College All-Star Game at Soldier Field, which attracted 101,000 spectators and produced $154,000 for the army and navy relief funds.
  • More than 300 players who had been on NFL rosters entered military service, most before the season began but some in the midst of the schedule.
  • One of the hardest hit teams was the defending East champion New York Giants who lost 27 players. As a result, they slumped to 5-5-1.
  • The Washington Redskins took advantage of the Giants' plight to regain the Eastern Division championship with a 10-1 record. The only loss came in Week 2 to New York. The Skins allowed only 13 points in their last four games.
  • The other big news in the East was the Pittsburgh Steelers finishing 7-4, their first winning record since joining the league in 1933. Rookie TB "Bullet Bill" Dud­ley led the league in rushing and sparked the second place finish in the division.

The Chicago Bears, two-time defending league champions, lost almost half their roster, including HBs George McAfee and Bill Osmanski, E Ken Kavanaugh, and T Joe Styda­har.

  • On November 1, head coach George Halas, who had served in the Navy during World War I, was called back to duty. He left the team in the hands of assistants Luke Johnsos and Hunk Anderson. Paddy Driscoll also assisted, and Clark Shaughnessy returned in an advisory capacity after leaving Stanford following the '41 season.
  • Despite the personnel losses, the Bears swept through their 11 games unde­feated. The only close games were 21-7 victories over the Cleveland Rams and the Chicago Cardinals.
  • The Monsters of the Midway led the league in almost every important category: points scored and fewest points allowed, yards rushing as well as total yards gained and fewest yards allowed.

A few rules changes were enacted for the '42 season.

  • Flags on flexible shafts were now required to mark the intersections of the goal lines and side lines.
  • A forward pass that first touches an ineligible receiver may be intercepted.
  • If the offensive team commits pass interference in the opponent's end zone, it is a touchback.
  • When an encroachment or false start causes the other team to be offside, only the initial foul is penalized.

The championship game brought a rematch of the final two years earlier when the Bears humiliated the Redskins 73-0.

  • Sid Luckman led the balanced T-formation attack that produced 1881y rushing and 1974y passing. Rookie Charlie O'Rourke from Boston College spelled Sid and actually averaged more yards per completion than Luckman, 10.81 to 9.75, both better than any other hurler in the league.
  • Gary Famiglietti inherited McAfee's RB position and pounded out 503y on the ground, good for third in the league and far better than Hugh Gallarneau's 292 for second place on the club.
  • Ray McLean took over Kavanaugh's role as go-to receiver with 19 catches for 571y, a whopping 30.1 ypc.

Ray Flaherty's Redskins continued to deploy their potent double wing offense with Sammy Baugh at TB.

  • Like the Bears - and most championship teams to this day - Washington both ran and passed the ball well: 1521 on the ground vs. 1600 through the air.
  • Slingin' Sammy finished second to Cecil Isbell of the Packers in passing yards by a wide margin (2021 to 1524) but led in completion % (58.7).
  • Sam's top backfield playmates, Andy Farkas and Dick Todd, continued to be productive with Andy finishing 4th in rushing and Dick in the same spot for receptions.
Andy Farkas, Sammy Baugh, Dick Todd, Redskins
L-R: Andy Farkas, Sammy Baugh, Dick Todd
Using scores against common opponents since the two teams did not meet in the regular season, oddmakers favored the Bears 5 to 1 or by 20-22 points depending on the betting service.
  • Neither team reported any players who would miss the clash because of injury. Todd, Ed Justice, Wilbur Moore, and Bob Hoffman, all of whom had missed time in the last five games, would be at full speed as Flaherty proclaimed his team in the best shape at a comparable point in the season in years.
  • Chicago arrived in Washington early Saturday intent on extending their winning streak. They had not lost since the Packers beat them in November 1941.
  • The Bears got a boost when Osmanski, who torched the Skins in the '40 title clash, and Stydahar received furloughs that allowed them to play.
  • Lieutenant Commander Halas took a military flight from his base in Norman, OK and would sit on the Bears bench during the game.
  • The Redskins sought revenge for the shellacking they endured in '40. They also wanted to win for their coach, who would leave for the navy the following Tuesday.
  • Flaherty's squad also resented a story from Chicago in which the Bears are said to have claimed that Baugh was an overrated passer. We're trying to regard this as just another ball game, said Flaherty. I've told the boys to forget that other one and concentrate on this one. If they start thinking back, they'll either press too hard or not press hard enough.
  • The game had been a sellout since the Redskins clinched the Eastern champ­ionship three weeks earlier. So the gross from the ticket sales would set a new record for receipts.
1942 Chicago Bears
# Player Pos. Hgt. Wgt. College Exp.
2 Gary Famiglietti FB/HB 6-0 225 Boston U. 5
4 Frank Maznicki HB 5-9 181 Boston College 1
4 Harry Clarke HB 6-0 186 West Virginia 3
6 John Siegal E 6-1 203 Columbia 4
7 Bill Geyer HB 5-10 173 Colgate 1
8 Hugh Gallarneau HB 6-0 190 Stanford 2
9 Bill Osmanski FB 5-11 197 Holy Cross 4
10 John Petty FB 6-1 228 Purdue 1
11 Frank Morris FB 6-2 215 Boston U. 1
13 Joe Stydahar T 6-4 233 West Virginia 7
14 Chuck Drulis G 5-10 216 Temple 1
15 Al Matuza C/LB 6-2 200 Georgetown 2
16 George Musso G-T 6-2 262 Millikin 10
19 Nick Keriasotis G 5-11 195 St. Ambrose 1
19 Bill Hempel T 6-0 238 Carroll (WI) 1
20 Bob Nowaskey E 6-0 205 George Washington 3
21 Daniel Fortmann G 6-0 210 Colgate 7
23 Connie Mac Berry E 6-3 215 N. C. State 3
25 Ray Nolting HB 5-11 185 Cincinnati 7
26 Al Hoptowit T 6-1 217 Washington State 1
29 Ed Kolman T 6-2 232 Temple 3
30 George Wilson E 6-1 199 Northwestern 6
31 Len Akin T 5-11 207 Baylor 1
35 Lee Artoe T 6-3 234 Santa Clara 3
36 Stu Clarkson C 6-2 217 Texas A&M-Kingsv. 1
42 Sid Luckman QB 6-0 197 Columbia 4
48 Charlie O'Rourke QB 5-11 175 Boston College 1
51 Clint Wager E 6-6 218 St. Mary's (MN) 1
57 Ray McLean HB 5-10 168 St. Anselm 3
66 Clyde Turner C 6-1 190 Hardin-Simmons 3
76 Hampton Pool E 6-3 221 Stanford 3
82 Ray Bray G 6-0 237 Western Michigan 4
1942 Washington Redskins
# Player Pos. Hgt. Wgt. College Exp.
11 Cece Hare B 5-11 195 Gonzaga 2
13 Ed Justice HB 6-1 200 Gonzaga 7
14 Al Krueger B-E 6-0 190 USC 2
15 George Watts T 6-1 225 Appalachian State 1
16 Steve Slivinski G 5-10 214 Washington 4
17 Fred Davis T 6-3 244 Alabama 2
19 Charley Malone E 6-4 206 Texas A&M 9
20 Bob Seymour HB 6-2 205 Oklahoma 3
21 Richard Farman G 6-0 219 Washington State 2
22 Roy Zimmerman QB 6-2 01 San Jose State 3
25 Dick Poillon B 6-0 193 Canisius 1
26 Victor Carroll G-T 6-3 235 Nevada 7
27 Joe Zeno G-T 5-10 234 Holy Cross 1
28 Bob Masterson E 6-1 213 Miami (FL) 5
32 Bob McChesney E 6-2 195 UCLA 7
33 Sammy Baugh QB 6-2 182 TCU 6
35 Wilbur Moore HB 5-11 187 Minnesota 4
36 Willie Wilkin T 6-4 261 St. Mary's (CA) 5
37 William Young T 6-1 247 Alabama 6
38 Ki Aldrich C-G 6-0 207 TCU 4
39 Clem Stralka G-T 5-10 215 Georgetown 5
40 John Kovatch E 6-3 197 Notre Dame 1
41 Dick Todd HB 5-11 172 Texas A&M 4
42 Ray Hare B 6-1 204 Gonzaga 3
43 Ed Cifers E 6-2 227 Tennessee 2
44 Andy Farkas FB 5-10 189 Detroit 5
45 Ed Beinor T-E 6-2 222 Notre Dame 3
47 George Smith C 6-2 220 California 3
48 Marv Whited G 5-10 208 Oklahoma 1
51 Clyde Shugart G-T 6-1 221 Iowa State 4
53 Rufus Deal B 6-0 220 Auburn 1
Note: Rosters do not include players lost to the military.
The day dawned clear but cold with a high of only 30. A strong wind blew out of the north.
  • Nevertheless, 36,006 packed Griffith Stadium.
  • Harry Wismer broadcast the game on coast-to-coast radio and to service per­sonnel around the world via short wave.
  • Quarter 1
    Arthur Daley wrote in the New York Times: Never has there been a game of such intensity. Every tackle and block not only could be seen but heard. The officials did a superb job in the face of handicaps.
    The Bears kicked off to the 5, Washington returning 23y. But the Redskins couldn't move and had to punt.
    Early on, Ray Nolting zoomed 17y on one of the Bears' famous quick openers. After that, the Redskins switched from a five- to a six-man line, which not only stopped the quick plunges but also allowed them to pressure Luckman's passing attempts.
    Later, Chicago threatened when Nolting intercepted a Baugh pass on the Washington 27. But on the first play, Ray fumbled, and when the officials clawed into the pile, they discovered that Ki Aldrich clutched the ball for the Redskins.
    Baugh promptly quick-kicked 60y to the 17, one of three surprise quick kicks in the first half.
    The Bears drove to the Washington 27 but were knocked back to the 38, from where Lee Artoe tried a 46y FG. His boot was straight, but the ball skidded un­der the crossbar.

    Artoe was very near-sighted and wore glasses when not playing football. On long FG tries, he lined up his kick on the orange stripe on the back of the C Bulldog Turner's uniform.

    After the Redskins received a punt on their 33, Cecil Hare pushed through the middle to the 42.
    To the amazement of the spectators and the radio audience, the period ended scoreless.
1942 NFL Championship Game Program Cover
Bears HB Ray Nolting
Ray Nolting
1942 NFL Championship Game action
Osmanski is run out of bounds by Aldrich (38), Baugh (33), and Justice (13).
  • Quarter 2
    The first score came suddenly 1:49 into the period. Baugh tossed to Todd to the Bear 42. On the next play, the direct snap hit Todd in the shoulder as he didn't seem to think the ball was coming to him. Chicago E George Wilson reached for the ball but couldn't control it. But Artoe, a 230 lb DT, picked up the pigskin on the 49 and ran untouched into the EZ to put Bears in front. The Redskins were off­side on the play, which probably threw off the timing and led to the miscue, but of course the Bears declined. Artoe's PAT boot hooked left.
    The Redskins received the kickoff, but on first down Baugh got off another quick­kick. The ball was downed on the 11.
    Chicago drove again until Moore stepped in front of a Luckman pass to Johnny Siegal and returned it 16y to the Bear 42. Cecil Hare gained 4 before Baugh threw an incompletion. Sam took the next snap and, receiving good protection, threw a beautiful pass to Moore, who hauled it in over his shoulder as he crossed the goal line a step behind the defender John Petty. Bob Masterson kicked the go-ahead point. In the pressbox, Washington owner George Preston Marshall dropped his cane in his excitement. Far from collapsing as they did in '40, his team had fought back to take the lead. The pinpoint pass demonstrated conclusively that Baugh was not overrated.
    Later, the Redskins stormed down the field to the 14. But two Baugh passes into the EZ barely missed connections to end the threat.
    The Redskins used only three substitutes, all backs, in the first half.

Marshall's showmanship came to the fore during the halftime.

  • Three color guards from the Army, Navy, and Marines took part in the "salute to the 310 NFL players now in the armed forces."
  • The Redskin band formed the letter X-M-A-S. The musicians wore white beards and Santa Claus hats. Inevitably, they played "I'm Dreaming of a White Christ­mas."
  • Quarter 3
    Washington stopped the Bears after they received the kickoff, Farkas returning a long Luckman punt 30y to the Chicago 43. Andy, who had done little during the first half, banged into the line twice for a first down at the 32. Baugh, unable to find a receiver after drifting back nearly 15y, decided to run and got back to the line of scrimmage. Trapped again on the next play, Sam slid to the 24, then clawed his way over a huge mound of bodies for a first down on the 20. Again Farkas carried and got to the 15 before going down under a ton of Bears. He hit the other side of the line next with Steve Slivinski leading the way to the 8. But Slivinski was carried off the field on a stretcher with a broken nose and two lost teeth. Farkas kept going without him, first to the 5. Then he hit the line, bounced off, and forced his way to the 1. Finally, he dove in from the 1 on the eleventh snap. He fumbled, but the linesman ruled he crossed the line first despite the howls of the Bears. Masterson converted to make it 14-6, a two-score advantage when the two-point conversion was not available.
    Gaining confidence with every defensive stand, the Redskins held the Bears scoreless in the period, during which each team ran 15 plays.
Andy Farkas scores for the Redskins.
Farkas (arrow) scores for the Redskins.
  • Quarter 4
    O'Rourke took over for the ineffective Luckman in an attempt to spark the Bears. With the stiff wind at his back, Charlie drove his unit 52y to the 12, passing for all but 3 of the yards. The big play was a 40-yarder to little Monk Manzicki to the 24. Then O'Rourke threw a jump pass to Siegal on the 15. Famiglietti rammed for 2y gains twice. Then the Bears got cute and had Manzicki throw a pass, but Baugh, who never left the field during the game, intercepted in the EZ.
    The Redskins couldn't move and punted on fourth down. But the Bears were pen­alized for offside to give Washington a first down that allowed them to eat up more of the clock. But O'Rourke intercepted Baugh's pass on the Chicago 34.
    Luckman came back in but met no better fate than he had earlier when the Red­skins rushed him vigorously. This time they smeared him all the way back to his 11 to force a punt.
    After running some more time off the clock, Baugh punted into the end zone.
    Since he started the period, O'Rourke could come back in. He passed to McLean, who fumbled on his 41 but teammate Hampton Pool recovered on the 43. Then Ray snared nother short pass and threaded his way to the Redskin 33. Bob Nowaskey couldn't quite reach O'Rourke's throw but did snag the next one on the 17 and ran to the 2.

    As a product of George Washington University, Nowaskey received the biggest cheer from the crowd of all the Bears introduced before the game. Bob's 15y reception in the championship game continued his "almost touchdown" experiences. Four times he crossed the enemy goal line during the season, but every time a penalty negated the score. And two other times he was tackled less than a yard away.

    When Washington took an extra timeout, they were penalized half the distance to the 1. Score a TD, recover an onside kick, and the afternoon could be salvaged. But Osmanski, playing in his first game in months, was knocked back half a yard. Then Gallarneau strained and twisted his way into the EZ, but he was guilty of being in motion. After the penalty, Osmanski ran the ball back to the 3. Then Bill failed to grasp O'Rourke's high fourth down pass in the EZ. So the Redskins took over with less than three minutes remaining.
    When the clock ran out, jubilant Washington fans tore down the goal posts. A milling mass remained on the field for a half hour, yelling and dancing. Downtown Washington turned into bedlam all evening.
Sammy Baugh intercepts Q4 pass in EZ.
Sammy Baugh intercepts Charlie O'Rourke's pass in the EZ as Wilbur Moore watches.
The Redskins did a great job of corraling the potent Bears' offense.
  • The forward wall, tackles Wee Willie Wilkin and Bill Young and guards Dick Farman and Steve Slivinski, controlled the Chicago running game. Bob Mas­terson and Ed Cifers played all 60 minutes at E while Ki Aldrich did the same at C.
  • The Redskins wrecked all the Bears' pet plays, particularly the quick-opening line smashes for which they were famous.

The statistics showed that neither starting QB had a good day passing.

  • First downs: 10-9 Bears
  • Yards rushing: 101-69 Redskins
  • Passing: Bears 20-10-3/97y, Redskins 13-5-2/65y
  • Return yardage: 83-73 Bears
  • Fumbles-Lost: Bears 1-1, Redskins 1-1
  • Penalty Yards: Bears 7-47, Redskins 4-26
  • Baugh ended with an incredible punting average of 62.5y.

Postgame comments

  • Washington C Ki Aldrich summarized the game succinctly. We beat their pants off.
  • Baugh: I guess this kinda makes up for that thing in 1940, don't it?
  • Andy Farkas admitted that he was hit so hard that he couldn't remember playing most of the game. I hate to miss a good ball game like that.
  • Bears' co-coach Hunk Anderson: We deserved to lose, and we lost to a better ball club.
  • Years later, Luckman gave his take on the stunning defeat. We were beginning to think of ourselves as unbeatable. Coach Halas would never have allowed that. He always told us we must go into every game prepared to meet a superior team. We did not work as before. The inevitable happened.
  • Forty years later, Gallarneau recalled: It was the most frustrating game I can re­member. Nothing we tried worked. We had a great team, but everyone was flat. ... We lost to a poorer team that afternoon, and none of us were very happy about it.

Immediately after the game, word spread of a meeting the Bears had the night before the game that may have contributed to their lackluster play.

  • The league scheduled the winner of the championship game to play an all-star team from the other teams on December 27 in the "pro bowl" in Philadelphia.
  • But several Bears didn't want to miss Christmas with their families to play in the game without being paid. After much discussion, the team decided to go through with the game.
  • But, in the wake of the upset, some wondered whether the dissension had an effect on the team's play. The Chicago players vigorously denied that they had a row of the eve of the championship game. They did seek a change in the date but insisted there were no heated arguments.
  • Curly Lambeau, coach of the Packers who attended the game, had a different theory. I'd be willing to bet that every one of those Washington players saw "73 to 0" on every play.
  • Cardinals coach Jimmy Conzelman: The Bears just weren't the Bears today. They didn't even get started until the fourth quarter.
  • Owner Marshall credited his team's fine line play. Did you ever see such end play as Bob Masterson and Ed Cifers turned in? And Ki Aldrich at center - wasn't he a pip?

The game netted $113,260.40.

  • So each Redskin earned $932.30.
  • Each Bear received $639.12, which was more than they made beating the Giants in '41.
The day after the championship game, the NFL owners met in Washington and decided not to hold the annual draft of graduating college players since almost all the young men would enter military service.
The owners voted unanimously to continue operations during the war "subject to what­ever regulations or conditions might arise."
Halas stayed over to attend the meeting. Marshall couldn't resist needling the Bears owner. Why don't you take off the uniform and let a younger guy do the job? Halas went through the roof. Steelers owner Art Rooney told a writer, I thought Halas would kill Marshall.

References: Championship: The NFL Title Games plus Super Bowl, Jerry Izenberg (1970)
Halas on Halas: The Autobiography of George Halas with Gwen Morgan and Arthur Veysey (1979)
Papa Bear: The Life and Legacy of George Halas, Jeff Davis (2005)

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