1938 NFL Championship Game

1938 NFL Championship Game
1234 Total
GB 01430 17
NYG 9770 23
Date December 11, 1938
Stadium Polo Grounds, New York City
Referee Bobby Cahn
Attendance 48,120
Location in the United States

The 1938 National Football League Championship Game was the sixth championship game played in the National Football League (NFL). It was played on December 11 at the Polo Grounds in New York City,[1] with an attendance of 48,120, a record crowd for a title game.[2][3][4]

The game matched the New York Giants (8–2–1), champions of the Eastern Division, against the Western Division champion Green Bay Packers (8–3–0).[5][6] The Giants had won the regular season game with Green Bay 15–3 at the Polo Grounds three weeks earlier on November 20,[7] but Green Bay was without hall of fame end Don Hutson; there was no clear favorite for the title game.[6][8][9]

This was the Giants' fourth championship game appearance, their previous victory was in the famous "Sneakers game" of 1934 and they were runners-up in 1933 and 1935. It was the Packers' second trip, winning in 1936. New York also won the 1927 NFL title when the championship was awarded to the team with the best season record. Green Bay had similarly won three straight league titles in 1929, 1930, and 1931.

After trailing two points at halftime, Green Bay took the lead in the third quarter with a short field goal,[4] but New York responded with a touchdown and held on through a scoreless fourth quarter to win, 23–17.[10][11]

With the victory, the Giants became the first team to win two championship games since the league split into two divisions in 1933. The two teams met again in the title game the following year in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with different results.

The Giants' next title was in 1956, won at Yankee Stadium.

Scoring summary

Sunday, December 11, 1938
Kickoff: 2 p.m. EST


  • Referee: Bobby Cahn
  • Umpire: Tom Thorp
  • Head Linesman: Larry Conover
  • Field Judge: L.C. Meyer [1][2]

The NFL had only four game officials in 1938; the back judge was added in 1947, the line judge in 1965, and the side judge in 1978.

Players' shares

The victory earned each winning Giant player $504 and each Packer $368.[11]


  1. 1 2 Strickler, George (December 11, 1938). "Packers clash with Giants today for pro title". Chicago Tribune. p. 1, part 2.
  2. 1 2 Strickler, George (December 12, 1938). "Giants take pro title; beat Packers, 23-17". Chicago Tribune. p. 21.
  3. "Grid Giants 'cuff' Packers to win professional title". Pittsburgh Press. United Press. December 12, 1938. p. 26.
  4. 1 2 "Giants capture league crown". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. December 12, 1938. p. 10.
  5. "Lions upset by Eagles; Packers win title". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. December 5, 1938. p. 11.
  6. 1 2 Burton, Lewis (December 11, 1938). "Packers, Giants meet for title". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1B.
  7. Schumacher, Garry (November 21, 1938). "Leemans starts in Giants' 15-3 win over Bays". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 13.
  8. Ferguson, Harry (December 11, 1938). "Giants-Green Bay clash for pro grid championship today". Pittsburgh Press. United Press. p. 3, sports.
  9. Gannon, Pat (December 11, 1938). "Record crowd of 62,000 to see pro play-off". Milwaukee Journal. p. 1, sports.
  10. Burton, Lewis (December 12, 1938). "Giants defeat Packers, 23-17 for pro title". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 13.
  11. 1 2 Gannon, Pat (December 12, 1938). "Giants' early attack defeats Green Bay for title, 23 to 17". Milwaukee Journal. p. 4, part 2.

Coordinates: 40°49′52″N 73°56′13″W / 40.831°N 73.937°W / 40.831; -73.937

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