1950 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 16 –
December 10, 1950
American Conf. ChampionsCleveland Browns
National Conf. ChampionsLos Angeles Rams
Championship Game
ChampionsCleveland Browns

The 1950 NFL season was the 31st regular season of the National Football League. The merger with the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) expanded the league to 13 teams. Meanwhile, television brought a new era to the game. The Los Angeles Rams became the first NFL team to have all of its games – both home and away – televised. The Washington Redskins became the second team to put their games on TV. Other teams arranged to have selected games televised.

The AAFC–NFL merger

The NFL and the AAFC merged prior to the season, announced on December 9, 1949.[1][2] Three AAFC teams — Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, and Baltimore Colts — joined the NFL intact. The players of the former AAFC New York Yankees team were divided up between the New York Giants and the New York Bulldogs (who changed their name to New York Yanks), the Los Angeles Dons and Los Angeles Rams merged, and a portion of the AAFC Buffalo Bills was absorbed into the Browns organization. A special draft was then held by the league's 13 teams to allocate the rest of the AAFC players.

The 13 teams were realigned into the American and National conferences, which lasted for three seasons. The merged league briefly flirted with the name "National-American Football League",[1][2] but restored the name "National Football League" a few months later on March 3, 1950. [1] Under the alignment, both conferences had a team in New York and Chicago. The "American Conference" (formerly the Eastern Division) had six teams including the Giants and the Cardinals, and the "National Conference" (the old Western Division) had seven teams including the Yanks and the Bears, as well as the Baltimore Colts.

Baltimore was declared a "swing team" and played one game against each of the other 12 NFL clubs. The original intent of the merger was to have the popular Cleveland Browns serve as this team for two years to equally help gate receipts throughout the league, however, this was refused point blank by Paul Brown. Over a 13-week season, one team was idle each week while the other 12 met in the six scheduled games. Each team played a home-and-away game against the other five teams in their conference, one game outside the conference, and one game against Baltimore over the course of a 12-game schedule.

The league also established the Pro Bowl in the 1950 season. Though the league had attempted an all-star game annually between 1938 and 1942, it had cancelled the game because of World War II and did not revive it when the war ended. Unlike the previous all-star game format, which pitted the league's most recent champion against the league's best all-stars, the Pro Bowl would pit two all-star teams, one from each conference, against each other.

Also, the 1950 season saw the first game played outside the United States when the New York Giants played the Ottawa Rough Riders of the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union in an exhibition match on August 12. The Giants and Rough Riders would repeat the feat in 1951; the Giants handily won both games.

Draft

The 1950 NFL Draft was held from January 20–21, 1950 at Philadelphia's Bellevue-Stratford Hotel. With the first pick, the Detroit Lions selected end Leon Hart from the University of Notre Dame.

Major rule changes

Regular season

Highlights

Conference races

Week National American
1 3 teams (Bears, Det, NYY) 1–0–0 3 teams (Cle, NYG, Was) 1–0–0
2 Tie: (Bears, Loons) and 2–0–0 Cleveland Browns 2–0–0
3 4 teams (Bears, Det, GB, LA 2–1–0 New York Giants 2–0–0
4 3 teams (Bears, Det, NYY) 3–1–0 New York Giants 3–0–0
5 Tie: (Bears, Yanks) 4–1–0 Cleveland Browns 4–1–0
6 New York Yanks 5–1–0 Tie: (Giants, Phi) 4–1–0
7 New York Yanks 6–1–0 Philadelphia Eagles 5–1–0
8 New York Yanks 6–1–0 Cleveland Browns 6–2–0
9 Los Angeles Rams 7–2–0 Cleveland Browns 7–2–0
10 Los Angeles Rams 8–2–0 Cleveland Browns 8–2–0
11 Chicago Bears 8–2–0 Tie: (Browns, Giants) 8–2–0
12 Los Angeles Rams 9–3–0 Tie: (Browns, Giants) 9–2–0
13 Tie: (Bears, Rams) 9–3–0 Tie: (Browns, Giants) 10–2–0

Final standings

Playoffs

Further information: 1950 NFL playoffs

The only scheduled playoff game was the championship game. The two conference playoffs were tiebreakers.

 
Conference tiebreaker playoffNFL Championship
 
      
 
December 17 – Los Angeles
 
 
Chicago Bears14
 
December 24 – Cleveland
 
Los Angeles Rams24
 
Los Angeles Rams28
 
December 17 – Cleveland
 
Cleveland Browns30
 
New York Giants3
 
 
Cleveland Browns8
 

Records, milestones, and notable statistics

League leaders

Statistic Name Team Yards
Passing Bobby Layne Detroit 2323
Rushing Marion Motley Cleveland 810
Receiving Tom Fears Los Angeles 1116

NFL records set or tied in 1950

Los Angeles Rams: (466 points in 12 games)
New York Giants
Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams vs Detroit Lions (3rd Quarter), Oct 29, 1950
Los Angeles Rams (41) vs Detroit Lions (7), Oct 29, 1950
Baltimore Colts

Coaching changes

Head coaches of the merged 1950 NFL regular season
American Conference National Conference
Chi Cardinals: Curly Lambeau Baltimore: Clem Crowe
Cleveland: Paul Brown Chi Bears: George Halas
NY Giants: Steve Owen Detroit: Bo McMillin
Philadelphia: Greasy Neale Green Bay: Gene Ronzani
Pittsburgh: John Michelosen Los Angeles: Joe Stydahar
Washington: Herman Ball NY Yanks: Red Strader
  San Francisco: Buck Shaw

Stadium changes

References

  1. ^ a b "Pro football leagues agree to merge;". Milwaukee Journal. December 10, 1949. p. 8.
  2. ^ a b "Four-year pro grid war ends! NFL, AAC merge". Milwaukee Sentinel. December 10, 1949. p. 4, part 2.
  3. ^ The First Fifty Years: A Celebration of the National Football League in its Fiftieth Season, Simon and Schuster, Inc., Copyright 1969, ASIN: B0018NJUO0
  4. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com: In a single season, from 1940 to 2011, in the regular season, requiring Points For >= 50, sorted by most games in season matching criteria.