1939 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 10 – December 10, 1939
East ChampionsNew York Giants
West ChampionsGreen Bay Packers
Championship Game
ChampionsGreen Bay Packers

The 1939 NFL season was the 20th regular season of the National Football League. Before the season, NFL president Joseph Carr died, and Carl Storck was named to replace him.

An NFL game was televised for the first time when NBC broadcast the October 22 Philadelphia Eagles at Brooklyn Dodgers game at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn (the Dodgers won 23-14). The experimental broadcast was broadcast only to viewers in New York and Albany; regular broadcasting of NFL games would not begin until 1951.

The season ended when the Green Bay Packers defeated the New York Giants in the NFL Championship Game.


The 1939 NFL Draft was held on December 9, 1938 at New York City's New Yorker Hotel. With the first pick, the Chicago Cardinals selected center Ki Aldrich from Texas Christian University.

Major rule changes

Division races

Though both the Giants and the Packers finished a game ahead of their closest division rivals, both clinched their divisions on December 3, the final day of the 11-game regular season. The New York Giants and Washington Redskins had played to a 0–0 tie earlier in the season, and both had 8–1–1 records when they met at New York's Polo Grounds before a crowd of 62,404. The Giants did not reach the end zone, but three field goals were enough for a 9–7 win and the division title.

The Western Division race was between the Lions, Bears and Packers. Detroit was unbeaten after four games, but on October 22, Green Bay beat them 26–7 to give both teams records of 4–1–0. The same day, the 4–1 Bears lost 16–13 to the Giants to fall to 4–2. In Week Nine (November 5), the Lions beat the Giants 18–14, while the Bears beat the Packers 30–27, giving Detroit the lead at 6–1–0. The next week (November 12), the Bears beat the Lions 23–13, and the Packers beat the Eagles 23–16, tying Detroit and Green Bay at 6–2–0, half a game ahead of the 6–3–0 Bears. On November 19, the Lions lost to the Rams, 14–3, while the Packers and Bears both won. On November 26, the Bears closed their season at 8–3–0 after a 48–7 win over the Cardinals, while the Packers edged the Rams, 7–6 to reach 8–2–0. Green Bay was behind 7–3 at halftime in its season ender at Detroit, and a loss would have forced a playoff for the Western Division, but Clarke Hinkle's touchdown in the final quarter gave the Packers a 12–7 win and the division title.

Final standings

NFL Eastern Division
New York Giants 9 1 1 .900 7–0–1 168 85 W4
Washington Redskins 8 2 1 .800 6–1–1 242 94 L1
Brooklyn Dodgers 4 6 1 .400 3–4–1 108 219 L3
Pittsburgh Pirates 1 9 1 .100 1–7 114 216 W1
Philadelphia Eagles 1 9 1 .100 1–6–1 105 200 L2

Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.

NFL Western Division
Green Bay Packers 9 2 0 .818 6–2 233 153 W4
Chicago Bears 8 3 0 .727 6–2 298 157 W4
Detroit Lions 6 5 0 .545 4–4 145 150 L4
Cleveland Rams 5 5 1 .500 4–4 195 164 W1
Chicago Cardinals 1 10 0 .091 0–8 84 254 L8

NFL Championship Game

Further information: 1939 NFL Championship Game

Green Bay 27, N.Y. Giants 0, at State Fair Park, West Allis, Wisconsin, December 10, 1939

League leaders

Statistic Name Team Yards
Passing Davey O'Brien Philadelphia 1324
Rushing Bill Osmanski Chicago Bears 699
Receiving Don Hutson Green Bay 846


Joe F. Carr Trophy (Most Valuable Player)   Parker Hall, Halfback, Cleveland

Coaching changes

Stadium changes

The Cleveland Rams moved from Shaw Stadium to Cleveland Municipal Stadium