1934 NFL Championship Game
1234 Total
CHI 01030 13
NYG 30027 30
DateDecember 9, 1934
StadiumPolo Grounds, New York City
Attendance35,059 [1]
Polo  Grounds is located in the United States
Polo  Grounds
Polo 
Grounds
Location in the United States
1934 New York Giants, NFL champions
1934 New York Giants, NFL champions

The 1934 NFL Championship Game, also known as the Sneakers Game,[2] was the second scheduled National Football League (NFL) championship game. Played at the Polo Grounds in New York City on December 9,[3] it was the first title game for the newly created Ed Thorp Memorial Trophy. With a remarkable fourth quarter, the New York Giants defeated the Chicago Bears 30–13.[1][4][5][6]


Game suummary

The defending champion Bears entered the game undefeated at 13–0, with an 18-game winning streak. The Giants (8–5) won consecutive division titles, but had lost their final regular season game at Philadelphia. The Bears were favored to repeat as champions.[7][8][9]

A freezing rain the night before the game froze the Polo Grounds field.[10] After Giants end Ray Flaherty remarked to head coach Steve Owen that sneakers would provide better footing on the frozen playing surface,[11] Owen sent his friend Abe Cohen, a tailor who assisted on the Giants sideline, to Manhattan College to get some sneakers.[2][12] There, Brother Jasper, the athletic director (and the later namesake of the Manhattan Jaspers) emptied the lockers of the school's basketball team. Cohen arrived in the third quarter with nine pairs of basketball sneakers from the college.[13]

The Bears led 10–3 at the half when the Giants switched to the basketball sneakers.[14] A Chicago field goal was the only score in the third quarter, extending the lead to ten points. Early in the fourth, Giants quarterback Ed Danowski threw a touchdown pass to Ike Frankian to close the score to 13–10. (The pass was momentarily intercepted at the Bears' 2-yard line, but Frankian was there to snatch the ball out of the defender's hands.) On the next New York drive, running back Ken Strong scored on a 42-yard touchdown run. Later Strong had another touchdown run. The Giants scored for a final time on Danowski's 9-yard run, a fourth unanswered touchdown. New York scored 27 points in the 4th quarter and won 30–13.[15] The Giants 27 fourth quarter points in a championship game set an NFL record that still stands today.

Scoring summary

Sunday, December 9, 1934
Kickoff: 2 p.m. EST[9]

Officials

The NFL had only four game officials in 1934; the back judge was added in 1947, the line judge in 1965, and the side judge in 1978.

Players' shares

The projected attendance of 55,000 was not reached,[7] as the week's weather kept it under 36,000. Each player on the winning Giants team received $621 (equivalent to $12,600 in 2021), while the Bears received $414 (equivalent to $8,400 in 2021) each.[1][5][6]

Aftermath

This was the Giants second NFL championship, and the first time they won a championship game. After the game, Abe Cohen promptly returned the sneakers to Manhattan College so the basketball team could practice the next day.[16]

Many of the participants have been interviewed since the game took place, most notably Bronko Nagurski of the Bears and Mel Hein of the Giants. Generally, players from both sides have attributed the Giants' second-half dominance to their selection of footwear. As Nagurski put it later, "We immediately said something was wrong because they suddenly had good footing and we didn't...they just out-smarted us." A mini-documentary of the game, narrated by Pat Summerall, can be seen in the 1987 video "Giants Among Men." NFL Films named the game the #8 bad weather game of all time, and in 2019, it was named the #62 greatest game in NFL history.

References

  1. ^ a b c Gannon, Pat (December 10, 1934). "Giants make spectacular finish to beat Bears for pro grid title". Milwaukee Journal. p. 2, part 2.
  2. ^ a b Canavan, Tom (January 5, 1986). "Sneakers game is most famous episode in Bears-Giants rivalry". Gainesville Sun. Florida. Associated Press. p. 4F.
  3. ^ a b Smith, Wilfrid (December 9, 1934). "Bears battle Giants today before 50,000". Chicago Tribune. p. 1, part 2.
  4. ^ Smith, Wilfrid (December 10, 1934). "Giants whip Bears for pro title, 30-13". Chicago Tribune. p. 23.
  5. ^ a b "Giants rally crushes Bears, 30-13". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. December 10, 1934. p. 18.
  6. ^ a b "Giants win pro football title in thriller, 30-13". Pittsburgh Press. United Press. December 10, 1934. p. 29.
  7. ^ a b "Bears, with 13 straight victories, 3 to 1 favorites over Giants today". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. December 9, 1934. p. 1, sports.
  8. ^ "Feathers, Kopcha out, Bears still picked to beat Giants today". Pittsburgh Press. United Press. December 9, 1934. p. 1, sports.
  9. ^ a b "Favor Bears over Giants". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. December 9, 1934. p. 1B.
  10. ^ Pervin, 2009, pp. 9–10.
  11. ^ "Flaherty's idea wins title for Giant team". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. Associated Press. December 10, 1934. p. 14.
  12. ^ Anderson, Dave (January 2, 1986). "Giants' owner looks back". Wilmington Morning Star. North Carolina. New York Times. p. 1B.
  13. ^ Cavanaugh, 2008 pg. 111
  14. ^ "Giants stage amazing rally to beat Chicago Bears 30-13". Miami News. Associated Press. December 10, 1934. p. 10.
  15. ^ Neil, Edward J. (December 10, 1934). "Giants rally and upset Bears". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. p. 13.
  16. ^ "1934 NFL Championship". www.profootballhof.com. Retrieved September 16, 2022.

Coordinates: 40°49′52″N 73°56′13″W / 40.831°N 73.937°W / 40.831; -73.937