History Lessons : The 1st NFL Championship

football, history, championshipLong before we had the Super Bowl (in 1967 – but we’ll get to that later), we had the NFL Championship.

And let’s just chat about that for a moment, because some fans, not naming names or anything (ahem – Steelers fans), think that because their team has the most Lombardi trophies they have the most total titles. But that is (SO) false! The NFL Championship was the Super Bowl before the Super Bowl was cool. Same game, different name. So by definition, the Green Bay Packers (well, hey, look at that!) have the most total titles in the NFL, with 11 NFL Championships and 4 Super Bowls.

Now that we’re on the same page, let’s move on.

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The first NFL Championship took place on December 17th, 1933. And aren’t we all glad that the season goes on for well over a month after that now? I don’t know that I would enjoy the holidays quite as much if I knew that football’s end would precede them. But that’s neither here nor there.

Had you been in attendance at the first NFL Championship game, you would have found yourself at Wrigley Field in Chicago watching a matchup between the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants. Fitting, since both of those teams are still relevant today. An estimated 26,000 fans showed up, which I think is pretty impressive for a first run!

And they definitely had something to cheer about once they arrived. It was a close back-and-forth game with plenty of offense and it’s fair share of notable names: Bronko Nagurski, Bill Hewittt, Red Badgro, and Ken Strong. In the end, the Bears pulled out the win on a Bill Hewitt lateral to Billy Karr for a touchdown, 23-21.

Interesting anecdote: each Bears player took home $210.34 for the win, while each Giants player took home a $140.22 consolation prize.

Oh, how things have changed.

(Thanks Pro Football Hall of Fame for the education!)

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