NFL Championship Game #1

December 18, 1932 – The Chicago Bears defeat the Portsmouth Spartans in the first NFL Championship Game.

Since the league first began play in 1920, the league title had always been awarded to the team that finished the regular season with the best record. But at the end of the 1932 NFL Season, the Chicago Bears and the Portsmouth Spartans tied for first place. To determine the 1932 league champion, the NFL arranged for an additional regular season game between the two teams that would count in the final standings.  Due to extremely cold weather in Chicago in mid-December, the game was played indoors on December 18 at Chicago Stadium.  The final score was Chicago Bears 9, Portsmouth Spartans 0.

One of the most famoust Chicago Bears from this era honored on a U.S. postage stamp was halfback Red Grange, who played for the team in 1925 and then again from 1929 to 1934.

The two highlights of Grange’s later NFL years came in consecutive championship games. In the unofficial 1932 championship, Grange caught the game-winning touchdown pass from Bronko Nagurski. In the 1933 championship, Grange made a touchdown-saving tackle that saved the game and the title for the Bears.

Pictured today are the 2003 U.S. stamps honoring Grange and Nagurski.

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