Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December 18, 1932: The Bears Take The Title

On December 18, 1932, the Chicago Bears won the first ever playoff game with a 9-0 victory over the Portsmouth Spartans. The victory made the Bears the Champions of the league. It would be another year until there was an official Championship game as the team with the best record had been granted the Championship title every year since the NFL began in 1920. There was one little problem in '32 and that was both the Bears and Spartans finished with 6 wins apiece so the choice was made to schedule one more regular season game that would determine the Champ. The game was to be held at Wrigley Field but extreme weather caused a change of plans. It was moved to Chicago Stadium where they would have to modify the rules of the game due to an improvised dirt field that was only 80 yards long, and 10 yards narrower than a standard field and was closed in by walls. The rule changes included keeping the ball in the middle of the field to help avoid injury. With limited room to work and field conditions that were considered sub par neither offense could break through until Bronco Nagurski on a fourth down play that he found Red Grange in the back of the endzone that put 7 points on the board for Chicago. Just before the contest ended Mule Wilson was set to kick out of his own endzone but fumbled the snap giving the Bears an automatic safety. The game was not only the first playoff game in NFL history it was also the first to be played indoors and it led to a yearly title game that would begin the following season.

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