Thursday, January 21, 2010

For Reference's Sake

Seeing as how the NFL scene these days is judged on Super Bowls, I don't want to let the pre-Super Bowl days get forgotten.

  • The New York Giants played in the first three NFL Championship Games, losing in 1933 to the Bears, beating Chicago in a rematch in 1934, and succumbing to Detroit in 1935.  It bears mentioning that each of the games was won by the team playing in its home city.
  • The Giants and the Boston/Washington Redskins owned a stranglehold over the Eastern/American Division/Conference, playing in every Championship Game (usually against the Chicago Bears or Green Bay Packers) until 1947 when the Philadelphia Eagles crashed the party.  The Eagles lost that year to the Bears before winning in 1948 (the first televised Championship) and 1949.
  • The brand-new Cleveland Browns were the equivalent of the Yankees in the early 1950's, appearing in the Championship every year from 1950-1955 as well as 1957.  They didn't have quite the Yanks' success, going 3-4 (including three straight losses from 1951-1953).  The Browns had formed to replace the Rams, who moved to Los Angeles in 1946 and battled Cleveland for the title in dramatic fashion in 1950 and 1951.
  • The celebrated "Greatest Game in NFL History" between the Giants and Colts in 1958 was the fourth Championship in a row broadcasted by NBC.  The first three all were emphatic routs.  1958, conversely, is the only NFL Championship to ever require to overtime.
  • It's forgotten that the two teams met again in the Championship the very next year, this time at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium.  The Colts had a much easier go of it this time, reclaiming their title with a 31-16 victory.
  • Vince Lombardi's storied Green Bay Packers advanced to the title game in 1960, the franchise's first appearance since 1944.  They lost to Philadelphia, 17-13.  No worries:  they'd return to win Championships in 1961, 1962, and 1965, as well as the first two Super Bowls in 1966 and 1967.

Let's close with a special nod to the New York Giants, who managed to go 3-11 all-time in NFL Championships before rebounding with a 3-1 record in the Super Bowl.

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