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1944 NFL season

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1944 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 17 – December 17, 1944
East ChampionsNew York Giants
West ChampionsGreen Bay Packers
Championship Game
ChampionsGreen Bay Packers

The 1944 NFL season was the 25th regular season of the United States National Football League. The Boston Yanks joined the league as an expansion team. Also, the Brooklyn Dodgers changed their name to Brooklyn Tigers. Meanwhile, both the Cleveland Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles resumed their traditional operations, while the Pittsburgh Steelers merged with the Chicago Cardinals for this one season due to player shortages as a result of World War II. The combined team, known as Card-Pitt, played three home games in Pittsburgh and two in Chicago, and set the 20th century record for lowest punting average by an NFL team with 32.7 yards per punt.[1]

The season is notable in that it featured two winless teams, the only such case in NFL history since 1935 (when the league stabilized from its early years of revolving door membership, when winless teams were much more common) as both Brooklyn and Card-Pitt finished 0–10.

Since 1944, only five teams have had winless seasons in the NFL: the 1960 Dallas Cowboys (0–11–1), the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0–14), the 1982 Baltimore Colts (0–8–1) the 2008 Detroit Lions (0–16), and the 2017 Cleveland Browns (0–16). In the case of the Colts, the season was shortened due to a league-wide players strike, while the Cowboys and Buccaneers were both expansion teams.

The season ended when the Green Bay Packers defeated the New York Giants in the NFL Championship Game.

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Transcription

Contents

Major rule changes

  • The free substitution rule is modified so that substitutes do not have to report to the officials before a play.
  • Communication between the players and coaches on the field is permitted as long as the coaches are in the designated areas along the sidelines, and that they do not cause a delay in the game.
  • If the offensive team commits pass interference in their opponent's end zone, it is just a distance penalty and no longer an automatic touchback.

Division races

Each team played ten games over thirteen weeks. The Brooklyn Tigers lost seven of their games by a touchdown or less. On October 29, they had 14–7 lead over Boston at halftime, before losing 17–14 in Week Seven. The same week, Card-Pitt's 42–20 loss at Washington eliminated it from playoff contention. Card-Pitt had actually taken a 28–23 lead over the Rams in its first game, played September 24 at Pittsburgh, before falling 30–28; its only other lead was a 7–0 in a game at Chicago against the Packers, which it eventually lost 35–20.

The Western Division race was no contest, as the Packers won their first six games and stayed ahead of all challengers. In the Eastern Division, Washington (5–0–1) and Philadelphia (4–0–2) were both unbeaten after nine weeks. The teams met in Washington in Week Ten (November 26), and the Eagles won 37–7, putting them at 5–0–2, with the Redskins and Giants a half game back at 5–1–1. The Eagles lost, while the Giants and Redskins won, in Week Eleven, putting New York and Washington in the lead at 6–1–1. In Week Twelve, a crowd of 47,457 turned out at New York's Polo Grounds to watch the Giants and Redksins. Washington had a 13–10 lead before falling 16–13. In Week Thirteen, the Eagles beat the Rams 26–13, giving them a 7–1–2 finish, then waited to see how the 7–1–1 Giants would fare in their rematch at Washington. The Giants beat the Skins 31–0, capturing the division and the right to host the championship.

Final standings

NFL Eastern Division
W L T PCT DIV PF PA STK
New York Giants 8 1 1 .889 6–1–1 206 75 W4
Philadelphia Eagles 7 1 2 .875 6–0–2 267 131 W2
Washington Redskins 6 3 1 .667 4–3–1 169 180 L2
Boston Yanks 2 8 0 .200 2–6 82 233 L2
Brooklyn Tigers 0 10 0 .000 0-8 69 166 L0

Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.

NFL Western Division
W L T PCT DIV PF PA STK
Green Bay Packers 8 2 0 .800 7–1 238 141 W1
Chicago Bears 6 3 1 .667 4–3–1 258 172 W2
Detroit Lions 6 3 1 .667 4–3–1 216 151 W4
Cleveland Rams 4 6 0 .400 4–4 188 224 L2
Card-Pitt 0 10 0 .000 0–8 108 328 L10

NFL Championship Game

Green Bay 14, N.Y. Giants 7, at Polo Grounds, New York City, December 17, 1944

Awards

Joe F. Carr Trophy (Most Valuable Player)   Frank Sinkwich, Halfback, Detroit

League leaders

Statistic Name Team Yards
Passing Irv Comp Green Bay 1159
Rushing Bill Paschal New York 737
Receiving Don Hutson Green Bay 866

Draft

The 1944 NFL Draft was held on April 19, 1944 at Philadelphia's Warwick Hotel. With the first pick, the Boston Yanks selected quarterback Angelo Bertelli from the University of Notre Dame.

Coaching changes

References

  1. ^ Kiss Em Goodbye: An ESPN Treasury of failed, forgotten, and departed teams, p.69, Dennis Purdy, Ballantine Books, New York, 2010, ISBN 978-0-345-52012-8
This page was last edited on 29 January 2020, at 13:28
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