Pivotal Pro Football Plays
1947: Trippi and Angsman Carry Cardinals
NFL Championship Game: Philadelphia Eagles @ Chicago Cardinals
After a stellar college career at the University of Georgia that was interrupted by two years of military service, 26-year-old Charley Trippi, who finished second in the 1946 Heisman Trophy voting to Glenn Davis of West Point, was highly sought by both the All-America and National football leagues as well as major league baseball. The New York Yankees of the All-America Football Conference offered Trippi a joint deal that included a contract with the major league Yankees.
Charley signed a four-year contract with the Cardinals that was the most lucrative in pro football history in 1947 - $100,000 along with a first-year bonus of $25,000. Trippi joined the Cardinals' "Dream Backfield" composed of four former All-Americans: QB Paul Christman, FB Pat Harder, RH Elmer Angsman, and LH Marshall Goldberg. The Cardinals achieved a 9-3 record to win the NFL West Division and earn a spot in the championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Only 30,759 gathered in Comiskey Park in sub-freezing weather to see which team would get the glass slipper as 1947's Cinderella. With no tarpaulin covering it overnight, the frozen gridiron afforded such tough footing that the Cardinals wore custom-made sneakers with cork cleats. One Philly player said, "Comiskey was like a skating rink."
Trippi and Angsman had little trouble with their footing against the sneaker-clad Eagles. They combined to score all four Chicago touchdowns in the title game, the shortest of which covered 44y.
Chicago Cardinals' Dream Backfield
L-R: Paul Christman, Pat Harder, Marshall Goldberg, Charley Trippi, Elmer Angsman
Trippi struck like lightning the first time Chicago had the ball. From the Philly 44, on a delayed buck, he burst up the middle behind C Vince Banonis's block through the Eagles' eight-man line and broke into the secondary. With LBs Alex Wojciechowicz and Joe Muha playing wide, only DB Russ Craft had a shot at catching Trippi, but he couldn't. Cardinals 7 Eagles 0
With the ball on the Card 30 in the second quarter, Angsman took a handoff on the same play Trippi had scored on in the first quarter. Elmer broke over guard through the jam-packed defense and sprinted to pay dirt, with only DB Pat McHugh anywhere close to him. However, Philadelphia cut the lead in half later in the period on a 53y pass to make it 14-7 at intermission.

L-R: Vince Banonis, Alex Wojciechowicz, Joe Muha, Russ Craft
Midway through the third quarter, Trippi grabbed a dribbling punt after it bounced over a teammate's head. He cut sharply to his left and started legging it through a maze of would-be tacklers. The Cards' $100,000 investment - playing his finest game of the season - was momentarily spilled to his knees at the 30. But with no "down by contact" rule and no official blowing his whistle, Charlie bounced up and continued. He stumbled again at the 22 but once more regained his balance and kept going to cross the goal line 15y ahead of his nearest pursuer. Some defenders got two shots at Trippi during his zigzag run that may have covered 150y. Cardinals 21 Eagles 7
Before the quarter ended, the intrepid Philadelphians fashioned a 75y touchdown drive to trim their deficit to seven again.
Eagles RB Steve Van Buren
L-R: Jim Conzelman, Earl "Greasy" Neale, Steve Van Buren
On the Cards' second possession of the final 15 minutes, Angsman ripped off a carbon copy of his earlier 70y quick opener. The path again went up the center, and McHugh chased him for 50y before diving vainly at Elmer's heels. Cardinals coach Jim Conzelman explained the long runs after the game. "They were delayed smashes that caught Phila­delphia entirely off guard and left their secondary badly faked out of position."
Eagles coach Greasy Neale felt the poor footing hurt his team even after they put on the tennis shoes. "We had our defensive men all set, but they just couldn't recover on the slippery field when Angsman and Trippi set sail. It won't show in the final score, but at the start of the game we were penalized five yards for illegal equipment when we could have made a first down, and that cost us plenty."
Angsman's second touchdown allowed the Cards to survive an Eagle score that made it 28-21 with 4:30 left. The Chicago defense made a huge contribution to what is still the Cardinal franchise's last championship by holding Philly star RB Steve Van Buren to only 26y in 18 carries.
Coach Neale made a prediction after the game that came true. "They (the Cardinals) are a great team and more power to them. I hope they win the Western title next year, too, so that we can have the pleasure of knocking them off in Pennsylvania."