1945 Cleveland Rams season
Head coachAdam Walsh
Home fieldLeague Park
Results
Record9–1
Division place1st NFL Western
Playoff finishWon NFL Championship (vs. Redskins) 15–14

The 1945 Cleveland Rams season was the team's eighth year with the National Football League and the ninth and final season in Cleveland. Led by the brother tandem of head coach Adam Walsh and general manager Chile Walsh, and helmed by future Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Waterfield, the Rams franchise finished 9–1 before winning its first NFL Championship by defeating the Washington Redskins, 15–14, at Cleveland Stadium. Other stars on the team included receiver Jim Benton and back Jim Gillette, who gained more than 100 yards in the title game.

One month after winning the NFL Championship, franchise owner Dan Reeves relocated the Rams to Los Angeles. Reeves had sustained five years of substantial financial losses, even during the team's championship season, because of poor home crowds. He realized he had no prospect of the Rams competing in Cleveland with the AAFC's Browns, who were to commence play the next year.[1] The Rams' move to Los Angeles marked the first of only two occasions that a professional football champion has played the following season in another city.[2]

Off season

NFL Draft

Main article: 1945 NFL Draft

= Hall of Famer
Round Pick Player Position College
1 5 Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch End Michigan
2 16 Milan Lazetich Tackle Michigan
3 21 W.G. (Dub) Wooten End Oklahoma
4 32 Jack Zilly End Notre Dame
5 37 Roger Harding Center California
6 48 Jerry Cowhig Back Notre Dame
7 59 Fred Negus Center Wisconsin
8 70 Johnny August Back Alabama
9 81 Dick Huffman Tackle Tennessee
10 92 Vern Walters Back Alma
11 103 Tom Fears End UCLA
12 114 Joe Winkler Center Purdue
13 125 Jack Aland Tackle Alabama
14 136 Chuck Uknes Back Iowa
15 147 Bill Lund Back Case Western Reserve
16 158 Bob Barton End Holy Cross
17 169 Dick Hoerner Back Iowa
18 180 Lee Kennon Tackle Oklahoma
19 191 Eagle Matulich Back Mississippi State
20 202 Bill Griffin Tackle Kentucky
21 213 Leroy Erickson Back Oregon
22 224 Ray Evans Tackle Texas-El Paso
23 235 Luke Higgins Tackle Notre Dame
24 246 Stan Nowak End South Carolina
25 257 Gene Konopka Guard Villanova
26 268 Ray Florek Back Illinois
27 279 Russ Perry Back Wake Forest
28 290 Pat West Back USC
29 301 Bill Davis Back Oregon
30 312 Charley Compton Tackle Alabama

Schedule

Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance Recap
1 Bye
2 September 30 Chicago Cardinals W 21–0 1–0 League Park 10,872 Recap
3 October 7 Chicago Bears W 17–0 2–0 League Park 19,580 Recap
4 October 14 at Green Bay Packers W 27–14 3–0 City Stadium 24,607 Recap
5 October 21 at Chicago Bears W 41–21 4–0 Wrigley Field 28,273 Recap
6 October 28 at Philadelphia Eagles L 14–28 4–1 Shibe Park 38,149 Recap
7 November 4 at New York Giants W 21–17 5–1 Polo Grounds 46,219 Recap
8 November 11 Green Bay Packers W 20–7 6–1 League Park 28,686 Recap
9 November 18 at Chicago Cardinals W 35–21 7–1 Comiskey Park 18,000 Recap
10 November 22 at Detroit Lions W 28–21 8–1 Briggs Stadium 40,017 Recap
11 December 2 Boston Yanks W 20–7 9–1 League Park 18,470 Recap

Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.

Standings

NFL Western Division
W L T PCT DIV PF PA STK
Cleveland Rams 9 1 0 .900 7–0 244 136 W5
Detroit Lions 7 3 0 .700 5–2 195 194 W1
Green Bay Packers 6 4 0 .600 3–4 258 173 L1
Chicago Bears 3 7 0 .300 2–6 192 235 W2
Chicago Cardinals 1 9 0 .100 1–6 98 228 L6

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

Regular season

Week 2: vs. Chicago Cardinals

Week Two: Cleveland Rams vs. Chicago Cardinals – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Cardinals 0 0 000
Rams 0 7 14021

at League Park

  • Date: September 30
  • Game attendance: 10,872
Game information
First quarter
Second quarter
  • CLE – Waterfield 8-yard run (Waterfield kick)
Third quarter
  • CLE – Pritko 4 pass from Waterfield (Waterfield kick)
  • CLE – Gillette 25-yard run (Waterfield kick)
Fourth quarter

Week 3: vs. Chicago Bears

Week Three: Cleveland Rams vs. Chicago Cardinals – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Bears 0 0 000
Rams 14 3 0017

at League Park

  • Date: September 30
  • Game attendance: 19,580
Game information
First quarter
  • CLE – Waterfield 8-yard run (Waterfield kick)
  • CLE – Pritko 25 pass from Waterfield (Waterfield kick)
Second quarter
  • CLE – FG Waterfield 28
Third quarter
Fourth quarter

Week 4: at Green Bay Packers

1 2 3 4 Total
Rams 6 0 0 21 27
Packers 0 0 7 7 14

at East Stadium, Green Bay, Wisconsin

CLE – Benton 17 pass from Waterfield (kick failed)
GB – Comp 1 run (Hutson kick)
GB – Fritsch 3 run (Hutson kick)
CLE – Colella 6 pass from Waterfield (Waterfield kick)
CLE – Greenwood 1 run (Waterfield kick)
CLE – Colella 5 run (Waterfield kick)

Week 5: at Chicago Bears

1 2 3 4 Total
Rams 6 14 7 14 41
Bears 0 7 14 0 21

at Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois

CLE – Greenwood 11 run (kick failed)
CLE – Colella 3 run (Waterfield kick)
CLE – Gehrke 10 run (Waterfield kick)
CHI – Margarita 1 run (Gudauskas kick)
CHI – Margarita 42 pass from Luckman (Gudauskas kick)
CHI – Gallameau 2 run (Gudauskas kick)
CLE – Greenwood 8 run (Waterfield kick)
CLE – Benton 21 pass from Waterfield (Waterfield kick)
CLE – Colella 18 pass from Reisz (Waterfield kick)

Week 6: at Philadelphia Eagles

Week 7: at New York Giants

Week 8: vs. Green Bay Packers

Week 9: at Chicago Cardinals

Week 10: at Detroit Lions

Week 11: vs. Boston Yanks

Post season

NFL Championship Game: vs. Washington Redskins

Main article: NFL Championship Game, 1945

NFL Championship Game
1 2 34Total
Redskins 0 7 7014
Rams 2 7 6015

at Cleveland Municipal Stadium

  • Date: December 16, 1945
  • Game weather: −8 °F (−22 °C)
  • Game attendance: 32,178

In the first quarter, the Redskins had the ball at their own 5-yard line. Dropping back into the end zone, quarterback Sammy Baugh threw, but the ball hit the goal post (which at the time was on the goal line instead of at the back of the end zone) and bounced back to the ground in the end zone. Under the rules at the time, this was ruled as a safety and thus gave the Rams a 2–0 lead.

In the second quarter, Baugh suffered bruised ribs and was replaced by Frank Filchock. Filchock threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Steve Bagarus to give the Redskins a 7–2 lead. But the Rams scored just before halftime when rookie quarterback Bob Waterfield threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Jim Benton. Waterfield's ensuing extra point was partially blocked, with the ball teetering on the crossbar, but it dropped over to give Cleveland a 9–7 lead.

In the third quarter, the Rams increased their lead when Jim Gillette scored on a 44-yard touchdown reception, but this time the extra point was missed. The Redskins then came back to cut their deficit to 15–14 with Bob Seymour's 8-yard touchdown catch from Filchock. In the fourth quarter, Washington kicker Joe Aguirre missed two field goals attempts, of 46 and 31 yards, that could have won the game.

Roster

Bold denotes player on the official NFL roster at the end of the 1945 season.[3]

Name Position Height Weight 1945 Games 1945 Starts Years in NFL University Notes
Graham Armstrong Tackle 6'2" 215 1 0 2 John Carroll
Jim Benton End 6'3" 195 9 5 7 Arkansas
David Bernard Fullback 5'10" 197 7 0 2 Mississippi
Gil Bouley Tackle 6'2" 233 6 6 1 Boston College
Thomas Colella Halfback 5'11-1/2" 185 10 1 4 Canisius
Bob DeLauer Center 6'1" 213 2 2 1 USA
Roger Eason Tackle 6'2" 220 2 0 1 Oklahoma
Fred Gehrke Halfback 5'11" 190 10 7 2 Utah
James Gillette Halfback 6'1-1/2" 185 10 7 3 Virginia
Don Greenwood Fullback 5'11" 191 9 6 1 Illinois
Ray Hamilton End 6'4" 210 9 0 4 Arkansas
Roger Harding Center 6'2" 195 6 0 1 Cal
Howard Hickey End 6'2" 195 8 2 2 Arkansas
Jack Jacobs Quarterback 6'1" 180 2 1 2 Oklahoma
Harvey Jones Halfback 6'0" 175 9 2 2 Baylor
George Koch Halfback 6'1" 200 5 0 1 St. Mary's of Texas
Floyd Konetsky End 6'1" 195 10 3 2 University of Miami
William Lazetich Guard 6'1-1/2" 195 10 7 1 Montana
Leslie Lear Guard 5'11" 223 9 1 2 Manitoba University
Butch Levy Tackle 6'0" 260 7 1 1 Minnesota
Elvin Liles Guard 5'9-1/2" 195 8 0 3 Oklahoma A&M Started season with Detroit Lions.
Riley Matheson Guard 6'2" 210 10 10 7 Texas Mines
Arthur Morgenthal Guard 5'11" 215 10 2 1 Notre Dame
Raymond Monaco Guard 5'10-1/2" 215 1 0 3 Holy Cross
Rudy Mucha Guard 6'1-1/2" 246 3 0 2 Washington Ended season with Chicago Bears.
Steve Nemeth Quarterback 5'10" 172 9 3 1 Notre Dame
George Phillips Quarterback 6'3-1/2" 215 1 0 1 UCLA
Steve Pritko End 6'2" 210 10 10 3 Villanova
Albie Reisz Quarterback 5'9" 170 10 0 2 Southeastern
William Reith Center 5'11-1/2" 203 1 0 3 Carnegie Tech
Ralph Ruthstrom Fullback 6'4" 208 6 2 1 Southern Methodist
Mike Scarry Center 5'11" 220 10 10 2 Waynesburg University
Eberle Schultz Tackle 6'4" 245 10 10 5 Oregon State
Bob Shaw End 6'3" 229 5 0 1 Ohio State
Rudy Sikich Tackle 6'1" 219 6 2 1 Minnesota
Bob Waterfield Quarterback 6'1" 191 10 6 1 UCLA 1945 NFL Most Valuable Player
Pat West Fullback 6'1" 204 10 7 1 USC
Joe Winkler Center 6'1" 200 8 0 1 Purdue
James Worden Halfback 5'10" 180 5 5 1 Waynesburg
Walter Zirinsky Halfback 5'11-1/2" 187 5 0 1 Lafayette University

Awards and records

Footnotes

  1. ^ MacCambridge, Michael (2005). America's Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured a Nation. Anchor Books. pp. 15–16. ISBN 978-0-375-72506-7.
  2. ^ The other occasion was in 1962 with the Dallas Texans of the American Football League. Five months after winning the AFL Championship, franchise owner Lamar Hunt, realizing he had no prospect of the Texans competing with the NFL's Cowboys in Dallas, relocated the Texans to Kansas City and rebranded them as the Chiefs.
  3. ^ George Strickler (ed.), The National Football League Record and Rules Manual, 1946. New York: National Football League, 1946; p. 110.
  4. ^ Cavanaugh, Jack (2008). Giants Among Men. New York: Random House. p. 57.