Golden Football Magazine
NFL Championship Games
1956: Chicago Bears @ New York Giants
This series covers the history of the NFL through the prism of its yearly championship games.
Note: The peach-colored boxes contain asides that provide interesting material but could be skipped without losing the continuity of the article.

Frank Gifford

Don Heinrich

Paddy Driscoll

Luke Johnsos

Ed Brown

Rick Casares

Ed Meadows

Sam Huff

J. C. Caroline

Clark Shaughnessy

Doug Atkins

Andy Robustelli

The NFL enacted a few rules changes for the 1956 season.
  • The most significant change prohibited grabbing an opponent's facemask - except for the ball carrier.
  • Using radio receivers to communicate with players on the field was prohibited. Read about the incident that provoked the rules change ...
  • The ball for night games was changed from white with black stripes to brown with white stripes.

The biggest change for the league was that CBS began national broadcasts of regular season games.

  • The TV contract brought a cash infusion to the league.
  • With telecasts blacked out in the home team's market, attendance continued to climb.

Another important development came the day before the championship game when the players formed a union. They demanded (1) league recognition; (2) pay and meal money for training camp; (3) injury compensation; (4) a $5,000 minimum salary; (5) a pension; (6) each club paying for the players' equipment.

One particular incident during the season provided the last straw for many players. Former Heisman Trophy winner Vic Janowicz was involved in a serious automobile accident. The brain injury left him partially paralyzed and ended his football career. Redskins owner George Preston Marshall dropped Vic from the payroll because the injury occurred in an off-the-field incident. Teammates started a fund to help pay for Vic's medical expenses, but players throughout the league were outraged at how easily a star player was forsaken.

Otto Graham didn't return to bail out the Cleveland Browns this season.

  • Paul Brown tried Tommy O'Connell, Babe Parilli, and George Ratterman at QB but, amid a rash of injuries, could manage only a 5-7 record to miss the postseason for the first time in team history dating back to the AAFC in 1946. As one writer put it, For the first time the Browns had plenty of time to go Christmas shopping.
  • Instead, the 8-3-1 New York Giants, in their first year playing in Yankee Sta­dium instead of the Polo Grounds, emerged as the East winners for the first time since 1946. Third-year coach Jim Lee Howell gained the accolades, but those in the know pointed to his two assistants, Vince Lombardi on offense and Tom Landry on defense, as the real architects of the Giants' success.
    Kyle Rote told the story of walking down the hallway at the Giants' training camp. He passed one room where Landry studied film, then another with Lombardi running a projector. Howell sat in the third room reading the newspaper. The self-effacing head coach often joked, I just blow up the foot­balls and keep order. Associated with the Giants as a player starting in 1937, then as an assistant coach, and finally as legendary Steve Owen's success­or, Howell enforced discipline and made sideline decisions such as going for it on fourth down.
  • Frank Gifford held the distinction of being the only back in the top five in both rushing (869y, good for 5th) and receptions (51 - #3). He and either Alex Webster, enticed away from the Canadian League in 1955, or Mel Triplett teamed to run the same "power sweep" that Lombardi would make famous at Green Bay with Paul Hornung and Jimmy Taylor.
  • Vince started 26-year-old Don Heinrich every game at QB while Charlie Con­erly, age 35, studied the defense. The "Gray Eagle" usually appeared in every contest midway through the first half and played the rest of the way. He threw for 10 TDs, twice as many as Don, a feat that earned Conerly a spot in the Pro Bowl despite not starting a single game.
  • Landry's 4-3 defense surrendered the fewest total yards and rushing yards in the NFL.
1956 New York Giants Coaching Staff
Another former power returned to the top in the West as well.
  • George Halas, the only coach the Chicago Bears had known since their founding in 1921 (except for a stint in the Navy in World War II), retired and turned the reins over to Paddy Driscoll, his friend and colleague for over 40 years.
    George in his 1979 autobiography: I felt I owed him the satisfaction of being head coach before he ended his career. I told Paddy, privately, the job would be his for two years and then I would return. I moved from the bench to the own­er's box on the stadium rim. From there I saw many details I had missed from the worm's eye on the bench. I made copious notes. After each game I commu­nicated suggestions to Paddy.
    However, Halas biographer Jeff Davis says that Papa Bear had told his of­fensive assistant Luke Johnsos that he would take the reins, as the media expected. When word leaked to the Chicago American, a newspaper Halas despised, the Bears owner, stung by Johnsos's "betrayal," turned to Dris­coll despite his thinner coaching credentials.
  • The result was a 9-2-1 campaign and a division title by a half-game over the Detroit Lions.
  • The defending West champion Los Angeles Rams sank to a tie for last place with the Packers at 4-8.
  • Second-year QB Ed Brown, in his first year as starter, led the NFL in comple­tion % and ranked third in passing yards and TD passes. His favorite target was WR Harlon Hill, who snagged 47 aerials for 1128y (second most in the league).
  • Another second-year Bear, FB Rick Casares, also had a breakout year. The Florida alumnus topped the league in rushing attempts (234), rushing yards (1126), and rushing TDs (12).
  • As a result of their balanced attack, the offense that Johnsos directed from his press box perch outgained, outrushed, and outscored every other NFL team.
  • The Bears' rushing defense finished second, only 40y behind the Giants.
    Chicago's season ended in controversy. In the final game, the 8-2-1 Bears hosted the 9-2 Lions in what amounted to the Western Division champion­ship game. Detroit had clobbered the Bears in the Motor City 42-10 two weeks earlier. In Q2, DE Ed Meadows blindsided QB Bobby Layne several seconds after Layne handed off. Without their leader, the Lions lost 38-21. Coach Buddy Parker charged Meadows with deliberately hitting Layne late to injure him. (A 15-year-old boy watching the game in New Orleans was so disgusted by the incident that he has hated the Bears ever since.)

    Ed Meadows takes aim at Bobby Layne.
Oddsmakers dubbed Chicago as 3-point favorites in the title game.
  • The teams tied 17-17 when they met at Yankee Stadium November 25. The Bears had mustered a measly 12y on the ground in the November 25 meeting, a statistic that Halas considered unacceptable for the rematch. His club man­aged the tie thanks to 70 and 56y TD passes to Hill in the final period. How­ever, Landry planned to again use his MLB, Sam Huff, as a "spy" on Casares.
  • Driscoll had used fleet rookie DB J. C. Caroline on offense some in their last games, giving Landry & Company another exigency to prepare for.
    According to Jeff Davis, Halas had ordered Driscoll to put Caroline on de­fense to start the season because of a need at CB. When another black player, HB Bobby Watkins of Ohio State, got hurt late in the season, Caro­line played both ways.
  • Neither team reported any serious physical problems. Chicago DE Doug At­kins, whose broken collarbone had caused the signing of Meadows, wasn't 100% but would play.

The two clubs took opposite approaches to preparing for the title game during the two week layoff.

  • Howell gave his men three days off to spend Christmas with their families. He stressed to his club that, if they could tie the Bears in the regular season, they could beat them for the crown.
  • Halas ordered Driscoll to work the team hard following the usual routine - morning meetings, lunch break, on the field in the afternoon for 2 1/2 hours. Just one day off for Christmas, which fell on the Tuesday before the December 30 clash.
    The Bears' defensive staff was not in synch. Late in his life, George Connor, a great LB for Halas, recalled: Driscoll and Halas put me in charge of charting the Giants' offense. I had films of six games, including the one we played against them. Within a few days, I could see down and formation and call the play they would run every time - without exception. I went to Shaughnessy and showed him what I had. He said, "That's not what they do." He refused to listen, and finally I stormed out of practice and went home.
  • When the Bears arrived at their hotel in New York, Halas called a meeting that left them bewildered. According to DT Bill Bishop, he told them to change eve­rything he ever taught about the "Bears way." All right, you "cacksuckers"! We're going on national television tomorrow. I don't want the usual penalties! Especially, no holding, and goddamit, no slugging!
    Atkins recalled: Halas kept us in at night. He should have let us relax and play the game. He choked.

A crowd of 65,000 was expected.

  • Counting the $200,000 from NBC for radio and television rights, the gross gate was expected to approach $550,000 so that the players' take would rival the record figures set at the vast Los Angeles Coliseum the year before. The TV broadcast would be blacked out within a 75-mile area of New York City.
  • The variable was the weather, which had been nasty Saturday during the teams' warmup in the Stadium outfield with tarpaulins covering the gridiron. Snow and rain caused the teams to spend only a few minutes trotting around, throwing the ball, and splashing in the mud.
  • Forecasts called for the snow to stop by game time but the temperature to remain below freezing.
  • When the two clubs met 22 years earlier in the second NFL championship game, the Giants donned sneakers at halftime and scored 17 unanswered points to beat the Bears 30-13. Would the New Yorkers need special shoes again? The "Sneaker Game" was the only time NY beat Chicago in four title game tries, the Bears prevailing in 1933, 1941, and 1946.

The sun shone all day Sunday, but the temperature never topped 26° with winds of 30 mph and higher lowering the wind-chill factor.

  • Snow covered the shaded areas of the field that were not covered by the tar­paulins. Flecks of the white stuff dotted some areas of the playing field as well.
  • Bears D-coordinator Clark Shaughnessy devised a new game plan Sunday morning to fit the weather and the footing.
  • On his way to practice Saturday morning, Giants DE Andy Robustelli stopped at the sporting goods store he co-owned and picked up 48 pairs of basketball shoes.
  • An hour before game time, Howell sent rookie HB Gene Filipski onto the fro­zen turf wearing the new shoes and had DB Ed Hughes run in the regular cleats. Seeing Filipski cut with ease while Hughes stumbled, Jim Lee ordered all his players to wear sneakers.
  • The Bears had brought an old set of shoes from Chicago that proved to be of little help.
    Connor: We had poor sneakers with little rubber cleats. I know they were old: one pair had Bronko Nagurski's number 3 painted on the heel. I guess they were the same ones Halas ordered after the 1934 sneakers game ... The rubber was starting to crack, they were so old.
  • Howell was concerned when he returned to the locker room because his team seemed too loose. The joking players presented a stark contrast to the uptight coaching staff.

1956 Chicago Bears
# Player Pos. Hgt. Wgt. College Exp.
11 James Haluska QB 6-0 190 Wisconsin 1
15 Ed Brown QB 6-2 205 San Francisco 3
16 George Blanda QB-K 6-2 207 Kentucky 8
20 Ray Smith DB 5-10 188 Midwestern 3
25 J. C. Caroline DB 6-1 190 Illinois 1
29 McNeil Moore DB 6-0 185 Sam Houston 2
31 Joe Fortunato LB 6-0 225 Mississippi State 2
35 Rick Casares FB 6-2 225 Florida 2
40 Stan Wallace DB 5-10 195 Ohio State 2
43 Jim Dooley E 6-3 198 Miami 3
45 Robert Watkins HB 6-10 195 Ohio State 2
46 Don Bingham KR 6-0 188 Sul Ross State 1
51 Wayne Hansen LB 6-2 228 Texas Western 7
54 Dick Klawitter C 6-7 270 South Dakota State 1
55 Larry Strickland C 6-4 245 North Texas 2
61 Bill George MG 6-2 235 Wake Forest 5
62 Kline Gilbert T 6-2 235 Mississippi 4
63 M. L. Brackett T 6-5 248 Auburn 1
65 Herman Clark G 6-3 255 Oregon State 4
67 Tom Roggeman LB 6-0 235 Purdue 1
72 Bill Wightkin T 6-2 233 Notre Dame 6
73 Bill Bishop DT 6-4 245 North Texas 5
75 Fred Williams DT 6-4 245 Arkansas 5
76 John Mellekas T 6-3 255 Arizona 1
78 Stan Jones G 6-1 250 Maryland 3
80 John Helwig DB 6-2 207 Notre Dame 4
81 Doug Atkins DE 6-8 255 Tennessee 2
82 Jack Hoffman DE 6-5 235 Xavier 3
83 Bill McColl E 6-4 230 Stanford 5
86 Ed Meadows DE 6-2 220 Duke 2
87 Harlon Hill E 6-3 198 Florence Teachers 3
88 Gene Schroeder E 6-3 195 Virginia 4
89 John Hoffman HB 6-2 215 Arkansas 8
Rosters from game program.
1956 New York Giants
# Player Pos. Hgt. Wgt. College Exp.
8 Ben Agajanian K 6-0 215 New Mexico 7
11 Don Heinrich QB 6-0 180 Washington 3
12 Bobby Clatterbuck QB 6-3 195 Houston 3
16 Frank Gifford HB 6-1 205 Southern California 5
20 Jim Patton DB 5-11 180 Mississippi 2
22 Henry Moore HB 6-1 195 Arkansas 1
25 Dick Nolan DB 6-1 185 Maryland 3
29 Alex Webster HB 6-3 210 North Carolina State 2
30 Bill Svoboda LB 6-1 210 Tulane 7
33 Mel Triplett FB 6-1 215 Toledo 2
34 Don Chandler P 6-2 205 Florida 1
40 Gene Filipski HB-KR 5-10 185 Villanova 1
42 Charley Conerly QB 6-1 195 Mississippi 9
44 Kyle Rote E 6-0 205 S.M.U. 6
45 Emlen Tunnell DB 6-1 200 Iowa 9
48 Ed Hughes DB 6-1 180 Tulsa 3
55 Ray Wietecha C 6-1 225 Northwestern 4
60 Bill Austin G 6-1 225 Oregon State 6
61 Ray Beck G 6-2 225 Georgia Tech 3
65 Gerald Huth G 6-0 210 Wake Forest 1
66 Jack Stroud G 6-1 230 Tennessee 4
70 Sam Huff LB 6-1 230 West Virginia 1
72 Dick Yelvington T 6-2 235 Georgia 5
75 Jim Katcavage DE 6-3 225 Dayton 1
76 Roosevelt Grier DT 6-5 275 Penn State 2
77 Dick Modzelewski DT 6-0 260 Maryland 4
78 Walt Yowarsky DE 6-2 235 Kentucky 5
79 Roosevelt Brown T 6-3 245 Morgan State 5
80 Ken MacAfee E 6-2 205 Alabama 3
81 Andy Robustelli DE 6-1 230 Arnold 6
84 Harland Svare LB 6-0 215 Washington State 4
85 Bob Schnelker E 6-4 215 Bowling Green 4
89 Cliff Livingston DE 6-3 215 U.C.L.A. 3

Gene Filipski

Mel Triplett

Jack Stroud

Don Chandler

Jim Katcavage

Don Bingham

Henry Moore

Harland Svare

Dick Modzelewski

Walt Yowarsky

Bill McColl

Dick Nolan

Stan Wallace

Kyle Rote receives TD pass.

Jim Dooley

Gifford follows C Ray Wietecha

The weather dampened the crowd to 56,836, only 6,000 tickets being sold at the gate.
  • Quarter 1
    The Giants won the toss and elected to receive. George Blanda kicked to Gene Filipski, who took the ball on the 7, sidestepped a pair of defenders in his path at the 29, and motored all the way to the Chicago 39, where Johnny Mellekas tackled him from behind to end the 54y return.
    Filipski had played for Lombardi when Vince was an assistant at West Point under Earl Blaik. However, Gene was caught up in the cheating scandal and expelled in 1951. With Lombardi's help, he finished his career at Villanova.
    After two plays netted 0, Heinrich rolled right and lofted a pass down the right sideline to Gifford, who leaped and caught the ball away from Caroline at the 17. When Heinrich came to the line of scrimmage, he sensed a blitz. So he called an "automatic" ("audible" in today's lingo) - "Run-99." Lombardi gave it that name because it involved FB Mel Triplett, number 33, running behind #66, LG Jack Stroud. It worked like a charm. Mel took the handoff, smashed through a narrow opening that LT Roosevelt Brown helped create, and burst into the open. He ran over the umpire and barreled through several defenders into the EZ. Ben "The Toeless" Agajanian kicked the point. Giants 7 Bears 0

    Mel Triplett runs for TD in Q1.
    Don Chandler, wearing a sneaker on his left foot and a football shoe on his kicking foot, booted inside the 5 where Ray Smith dropped the ball, picked it up, and was nailed by Jim Katcavage at the 17. Disaster struck the Bears on the second snap when QB Ed Brown did a complete spin to hand to FB Rick Casares up the middle. But the two missed connections, and All-Pro DE Andy Robustelli, who had played in the '55 championship game with the Rams, fell on the loose pigskin at the 15.
    Hill recalled the opening minutes of the game. They came out in basketball shoes. They had good traction. That was a psychological thing. They were slip­ping some, too, but when we saw that - we were slipping and sliding around - we saw that and I think that just knocked us for a psychological loop.
    After Alex Webster pushed forward for 5 on a dive play over RT, the next play provided another illustration that it would not be the Bears day. Triplett took a handoff but was immediately hit behind the line of scrimmage. As he was being thrown down, he tossed the ball forward, a foolish move. But the ball fell to the ground for an incomplete pass. On 4th down, Agajanian came on and kicked a 17y FG. Giants 10 Bears 0
    Caroline took the kickoff on the 4 and returned tentatively to the 18. Brown tossed a pass to Bill McCall for a first down on the 40. Following a 2y gain, Brown's next attempt at a pass resulted in an INT. With the Giants' D-line benefitting from better traction like their offensive counterparts, Robustelli led a fierce rush that forced Ed to throw off his back foot. He looped the ball well over the receiver's head into the waiting arms of Jimmy Patton, who returned 26y to the Chicago 36.
    When three plays failed to gain anything, Agajanian kicked his longest FG of the season, a 43-yarder that barely cleared the crossbar. Giants 13 Bears 0
    Don Bingham gave Chicago their best starting position yet with a good return to the 35. Caroline took an inside handoff and cracked the NY D for 6y. Then J.C. skirted LE for 3 more. After gaining zilch on third down, the Bears went for it. But LB Bill Svoboda and S Em Tunnell dropped Caroline on a crossbuck for a 1y loss.
    Charley Conerly, wearing gloves, took over at QB and handed to Gifford, who powered through LT for 5y to the 38 as the period ended.
    Giants 13 Bears 0
  • Quarter 2
    Running with confidence, Webster took a pitchout around RE for 1. Gifford drove up the middle to the 26. Conerly dropped the next snap and fell on the ball for a 2y loss. Charley faked a pass to the left and, as defenders crashed through, ran to his right and lobbed the ball over the rushers to Webster, who rambled all the way to the 3. It took only one more play to score as Webster roared through a big hole at LT on a crossbuck into the EZ. Giants 20 Bears 0
    Everything Connor feared was happening. On game day when they were killing us, I went to Shaughnessy again, and he told me to get lost. So I stood on the sideline and called all the plays in advance. They ran them just as I knew they would, and they kept scoring. Disenchanted with coaching, Connor gave it one more year before calling it quits when he realized Halas would listen only to Clark. I don't know what Shaughnessy had on Halas. Nobody could figure it out.
    Starting from the 28 after Bingham's 22y return, the Bears tried Caroline again for 3. When Brown faded to pass, he was inundated by rushers but es­caped and salvaged a 1y loss. Chicago finally got a break when Tunnell tried to run with Brown's windblown on the first bounce before he had full posses­sion. After players from each side had a crack at the hot potato, Mellekas re­covered for the Bears on the NY 25.
    Casares slipped through the middle for 2. Then Brown flipped to Caroline in the flat for 7. Casares drove through for a first down at the 12. Then Chicago went to some razzle dazzle. Brown handed to Hill, who gave the ball to Caro­line on a reverse. But the slow-unfolding play gained only 3. The FB then showed why he was the league's leading rusher as he took a handoff and roared through a hole in the center and smashed through two tacklers inside the 5 to pay dirt. Blanda added the point. Giants 20 Bears 7
    With the visitors now on the board, they certainly had the firepower to come back after leading the league in points by 63 over the 2nd place Lions. But the Giants would quickly dispel that notion.
    One play after Filipski returned to the 28, Conerly, no longer wearing gloves under orders from Lombardi after dropping the snap in the last possession, hit Webster with a quick pass at the right sideline. Sidestepping an onrushing defender, Alex ran down the sideline behind Ken MacAfee all the way to the Chicago 23. Next, Triplett reproduced his Q1 run up the middle except that he didn't quite make it to the EZ, being knocked down at the 2. Webster knifed in from there. Giants 27 Bears 7
    Webster on the move down the sidelines to set up his TD below.
    Chandler's dying quail boot ended up helping the Giants. The bouncing ball got away from Caroline and was coralled by Bingham on the 6 before he is downed on the 10. Brown went back to pass alongside the goal post and for a moment it looked like a safety, but he managed to wiggle out of the EZ be­fore being tackled on the 1 by Rosey Grier. Soon Brown stood at the back of the EZ to punt. But Ray Beck blocked it, the ball squirting to Brown's right where four Giants chased it. Rookie DB Henry Moore got the glory of falling on the pigskin for the TD. Giants 34 Bears 7
    Chandler sailed his sixth kickoff of the half to Bingham who returned 10y to the 26. Blanda took over under C and handed to Bobby Watkins for 5. Then George connected with Harlon Hill over the middle to the NY 46. Blanda went to the same crossing pattern with the same result, Hill advancing to the 36, where Ed Hughes hit the receiver square in the bread basket, lifted him up, and planted him on his back.
    Hill was never the same after the injury he sustained on the play. I got hit on that icy field. Knocked the vertebrae in my lumbar region out of line. I had trouble with that back the rest of my career. ... When I got out on the West Coast for the Pro Bowl game, the trainer thought it might be a sciatic nerve problem. It was worse than that. I never did run like I did before. After catching at least 42 passes in each of his first three years in the league, Hill dropped to 21, 27, and 36 the next three seasons.
    Battling the clock as well as the Giants, Blanda tried to pass but was thrown for a big loss at midfield by Harland Svare.
    Giants 34 Bears 7

The Giants ended the half with 14 more points than the Bears gave up on average across the entire regular season schedule.
With the outcome no longer in doubt, many left for warmer quarters during halftime.

Halas came down to the bench for the second half and, in his own words, "fought a tough battle with myself not to interfere." Many Bears thought he had interfered too much already in the preparation for the debacle.
  • Quarter 3
    Bingham returned 14y to the 24. Brown, back in, threw to Hill across the mid­dle to the 34. Ed tried a bootleg around LE but gained only 2. Dick Modzelew­ski and Walt Yowarsky then rushed Ed off the feet for a 6y sack. Brown drop­ped back in short punt formation 10y behind the C, but the snap went directly to Casares, who ripped off 15 up the middle into NY territory. Continu­ing with the short punt formation because it gave him more time to pass, Brown hit Hill to the 17. Under C again, Brown dropped a screen pass to Ca­sares in the left flat, Svoboda making the tackle at the 10. The QB took the di­rect snap and set sail around RE where Tunnell pushed him out into the snow on the 4. Brown fired a quick slant in to RE Bill McColl in the EZ, but Hughes and Tunnell broke up the play. On 4th down, Ed tried the other side of the defense, sending a quickie to Hill stepping over the goal line from LE. But Dick Nolan and Patton hit him as the ball arrived, knocking it loose.

    Ed Brown in short punt formation
    Lombardi vowed after blowing the 17-0 lead against the Bears in November that he would never sit on a lead again. So after working the ball out to the 22, the Giants struck quickly. Gifford, flanked to the left, raced straight down the field and took Conerly's pass in stride at the 42. Stan Wallace made a TD-saving tackle on the 12 after a 67y advance. Webster took a pitchout and cut back over RT to the 10. Conerly then faked a pass to his left and threw to Kyle Rote running under the goal posts. Amazingly, it was the only pass com­pleted to a Giants E all day. Agajanian failed to convert, his first missed kick of any kind all season. Giants 40 Bears 7
    Bingham took the kick back to the 30. Back in short punt formation, Brown threw to McColl to the 44. But a 15y penalty cancelled the advance. Soon Brown punted to Filipski at the NY 47, Gene galloping to the 39.
    Gifford showed his skill on the next play when he took a handoff and pre­pared to throw a HB pass. But with Bears all around him, he tucked the ball under his arm and eluded five tacklers for a 16y gain. Triplett powered through the middle yet again to the 18. But the drive stalled, and Agajanian came in for a chip shot from the 10. However, the boot missed left - one of the few times the Giants failed to capitalize on a scoring opportunity.
    Blanda came in for the Bearss' next possession but couldn't find a receiver and got creamed by Robustelli for a 5y loss. With the offense unable to overcome the loss, Brown boomed a punt to the NY 40 where Filipski made a fair catch. End of Q3.
    Giants 40 Bears 7

Gifford snags a pass and goes out of bounds.
  • Quarter 4
    Gifford gained 4 on a pitchout around LE. But the Giants bogged down, and Chandler punted to McNeil Moore, who was smothered at the 16.
    Blanda pinpointed 6'4" McColl to the 29. When George tried to launch another pass, Robustelli downed him 8y behind the line of scrimmage. But a button­hook to Jim Dooley made up the loss and more to the 35. Blanda stayed hot, hitting Hill for 12. Casares snared a swing pass for 8. But on 4th and 4 at the NY 45, Watkins dropped a swing pass in the flat to turn the ball over.
    Triplett spun into Bear territory for 19. Conerly threw a spiral down the middle to Gifford for 29 more. The same connection covered the final 14y. Giants 47 Bears 7
    Starting from his 21, Brown threw to Dooley for 15. Continuing to fill the air with footballs to make the final score more respectable, Ed found Hill on a down and out at midfield. But on the next snap, Brown ran right to evade the rush and tried to throw a jump pass. But at that moment he was cut down by Yowarky's low tackle and landed on his head for a 9y loss. Blanda took over for the woozy starter, but his first pass was picked off by Svoboda at the NY 40 and the LB swept back to the Chicago 46.
    After Conerly started the possession, Howell took him out so he could receive a thunderous response from jubilant Giant fans. Third-string QB Bobby Clat­terbuck handed to Triplett up the middle for 16. Next, Bobby threw a quickie out to the punter, Chandler, for 6y as Lombardi let all his troops have fun. But soon Clatterbuck was sacked as he tried to pass on 4th down.
    As the seconds ticked off, Blanda threw a middle screen to Casares, who ran for 19 to pad the final statistics.
    Giants 47 Bears 7

The Giants and their fans celebrated the franchise's first NFL championship since 1938 in different ways.

  • Players carried Howell off on their shoulders.
  • Fans attacked the goal posts.
  • Another group tore the jersey from Huff's back.
Final statistics:
  • First downs: Giants 16 Bears 19
  • Yards rushing: Giants 34-126 Bears 32-67
  • Passing: Giants 20-11-0/222 Bears 47-20-2/213
  • Return yardage: Giants 7-129 Bears 10-144
  • Fumbles-Lost: Giants 3-2 Bears 2-1
  • Penalties: Giants 6-40 Bears 4-50
  • Punting average: Giants 3-37.3 Bears 7-40.1

Detroit Locker Room

  • Howell now realized that his team's relaxed pregame demeanor was fueled by confidence. The boys had me kinda worried before the game. Too much levity, I thought. They didn't seem serious enough. I alwas thought players should be pretty quiet and alone before the big game. At least that's the way we always were when I played. But they really showed me, didn't they? ... When it came time to play the game, we just opened the door and got out of the way. ... It was a team victory. I won't try to compare this club with the great Giant teams of 1940-41, but I feel it is the greatest Giant team I have been connected with and has more stars than any of them. ... I didn't think any team could handle them (the Bears) like that. ... The way our defense and offense played was a tribute to two men. Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry. ... We had them set up for passing when Heinrich got the team rolling. Not that Heinrich isn't a good passer, but Conerly is just a bit better, and it was the spot for him to insure things.
    Howell gave Robustelli a game ball, probably as much for his obtaining the sneakers as for his outstanding play. But Andy deferred. This doesn't belong to me, he said and passed the ball to Landry.
  • Lombardi cited the start of the game as an omen. We were on our way when Gene Filipski returned the opening kickoff. That good criss-cross blocking for the runner who went straight up the field showed the team was out for a 33-man effort.
  • Even the taciturn Conerly couldn't contain himself. Yippee! Champions of the World! Yippee! 47-7! Can you imagine? Yippee!

Svoboda, Tunnell, and Webster rejoice.

Chicago Locker Room

  • Driscoll: Things that worked for us all year wouldn't go, and everything they tried to seemed to go to perfection. When you run up against some fellows playing like that, there's just about nothing you can do. He also pointed to the footware factor. I don't know where they got theirs, but those sneakers were better than ours. The soles were thicker than the soles of our shoes, and I think that helped their footing greatly.
  • Hill: Those linebackers were terrific. No matter which way I turned, there was a linebacker on me. They played better than us. That's all.
  • QB Brown had a different opinion. We were overtrained. We had only one day off - Christmas Day - preparing for this. What the hell, the Giants got five days off. We were just too tied up.
    Whether Brown's remarks had anything to do with it or not, he shared the QB position the following season with Zeke Bratkowski.
The gross receipts of $517,385, including TV and radio, set a playoff record.
  • Each Giant received $3,779.
  • The Bears' share was $2,485 per man.
References: Championship: The NFL Title Games plus Super Bowl, Jerry Izenberg (1970)
Pro Football Championships before the Super Bowl: A Year-by-Year History, 1926-1965, Joseph S. Page (2011)
Halas by 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)
The 50 Greatest Plays in New York Giants Football History, John Maxymuk (2008)
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