Thursday, December 19, 2013

December 19, 1948: The Blizzard Bowl In Philly

On December 19, 1948, during a blizzard in Philadelphia the Eagles won their first NFL Championship title with a 7-0 victory over the Chicago Cardinals in front of more than 36,000 fans at Shibe Park in Philly. The fans that showed up were told if you bring a shovel to help clear the field they would not be charged admission for the Championship battle. Before the kickoff the grounds crew struggled to remove the tarp due to the weight of the snow which led to all of the players pitching in to get the job done. Once the game was underway the Eagles looked to draw first blood when Tommy Thompson connected with Jack Ferrante on a 68 yard bomb only to have it called back on a holding penalty. It was the only shade of offense for three quarters as more than a half foot of snow covered the field. The lone scoring drive began on a mistake by the Cardinals. It happened as quarterback Ray Mallouf attempted to handoff to his running back only to lose the handle, as the ball hit the snow packed ground, Philadelphia's Bucko Kilroy pounced on the ball at the Cardinal 17. It was an opportunity that would be wasted by the Eagles offense. Three plays later, Steve Van Buren, who had led the league in rushing for the last two seasons, punched it in from 5 yards out. The score was all that was needed to cap off championship and avenge a 28-21 loss to those same Cardinals one year earlier. Van Buren nearly missed the contest. He thought with the storm that there was no way the game would be played. He had to take an interesting trek to the stadium. After an unsuccessful attempt at digging his car out, Van Buren took a bus, switched to a train, jumped on the subway, then walked 6 blocks to the stadium where he would become a Champion before the day was over.

Here is a great highlight reel from the contest: it's a little more than 15 minutes long just so you know. If you would like a much more condensed highlight reel check this out:

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