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Giants destroy Bears in 1956 NFL Championship Game


The Recent York Giants and Chicago Bears have an extended, illustrious history going back to 1925, when the Giants joined the NFL. Through the years, the 2 teams met within the NFL Championship Game six times: 1933, 1934, 1941, 1946, 1956 and 1963.

The Bears won in ’33, ’41, ’46 and ’63 while the Giants won in ’34 (the ‘Sneakers’ game) and in 1956. The 2 clubs would go on to satisfy twice more within the NFC Playoffs. In 1985, the Bears shut the Giants out, 21-0, en path to their only Super Bowl championship. In 1990, the Giants dominated Chicago on their strategy to their second Lombardi Trophy.

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One game that stands out is the 1956 Championship Game played December 30 at Yankee Stadium. The Giants had not been to the postseason since 1950, after they were coached by Steve Owen. Jim Lee Howell took over the reins in 1954 and got the Giants back on the winning track.

In 1956, the Giants finished 8-3-1 and in first place within the NFL’s Eastern Conference. The Bears, under latest head coach Paddy Driscoll (George Halas stepped down after the ’55 season but would return in ’58), finished 9-2-1 and in first place within the Western Conference.

There was no playoff structure within the NFL at the moment, only a title game. So, the Bears and Giants would play for the championship. It was the Giants’ first 12 months at Yankee Stadium and their first appearance within the NFL title game since 1946. The truth is, neither team had been to the championship game since they faced one another in ’46.

The Giants that 12 months had the look of a team of destiny. They proved it within the title game but had slightly help. The temperature in the course of the game was around 20 degrees and the sphere was icy. Similar to they did of their 1934 victory over Chicago within the championship game, they selected to wear sneakers. The Bears stuck to their traditional cleats.

The Bears were slight favorites in the sport. The teams tied, 17-17, five weeks earlier in The Bronx and a detailed game was expected. The Giants got here charging out of the gate, took 34-7 lead into the tunnel at halftime and never looked back.

Legendary sportswriter Tex Maule of Sports Illustrated wrote the next after the sport:

“We were overtrained,” Bears quarterback Ed Brown said. “We only had one time without work — Christmas Day — preparing for this. What the hell — the Giants got five days off. We were just too tied up.”

One more reason for the dimensions of the defeat might need been the Bears’ shoes. The Giants wore fiat-soled basketball shoes throughout the sport and had little or no trouble getting traction on the icy field. The Bears tried rubber-soled shoes with short cleats in the course of the first half, changing to flat soles within the second. That they had trouble with the cleats, slipping and sliding, and the Giant line moved the Bears as in the event that they were on roller skates.

But the primary reason behind the Giant victory was the superb team effort of all 33 Giants. This team would have beaten the Bears on any form of field in any form of shoe.

The Giants got touchdowns from all 4 their star running backs — Frank Gifford, Alex Webster, Kyle Rote and Mel Triplett — with Webster actually scoring twice. Quarterback Charley Conerly threw just 10 passes but seven were accomplished. Two went for scores, one to Gifford and the opposite to Rote.

The Bears couldn’t shake the Giants’ suffocating defense, which was led by their linebackers, primarily rookie Sam Huff. Chicago star wideout Harlan Hill commented on just how well the Giants played that day.

“Those linebackers were terrific,” said Hill. “Irrespective of which way I turned, there was a linebacker on me. They were higher than us. That’s all.”

The Giants and Bears would face each other over again within the 1963 championship game with the Bears prevailing. Neither team would seem in one other championship game until the mid-Eighties.

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