Wednesday, December 29, 2010

December 29, 1947: The drought begins

CHICAGO - The field conditions were icy at Comiskey Park for the 1947 NFL Championship Game. The Chicago Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles were both making their inaugural appearance in the title game, and the slippery conditions made traction nearly impossible.

Perhaps inspired by previous games played on frozen surfaces, Cardinals star running back Charley Trippi switch shoes for the game, wearing basketball sneakers rather than the traditional football spikes. One of the best all-around players in the game, Trippi served as the Cardinals top rusher, receiver, and punt returner, and was a star defensive back, as well.

On this day, he stole the show. Gaining 206 total yards between his rushes and his returns, Trippi scored twice against the Eagles, scoring on a 44-yard run in the first quarter and a 75-yard punt return in the third. Trippi wasn't the only star, though, as Cardinals back Elmer Angsman scored on a pair of 70-yard rushes.

The long plays from their two backs were enough to propel the Cardinals to a 28-21 victory for the championship. The two teams would meet again in the title game the next year, with the Eagles winning 7-0 in a blizzard. The Cardinals' victory in the 1947 title game marks their most recent NFL championship, a drought of 63 years that is the longest in the NFL.

December 29, 1957: DETROIT - With backup quarterback Tobin Rote filling in admirably for starter Bobby Layne, the Lions crushed the Browns 59-14 in the NFL Championship. While the title was the Lions' third in four years, they haven't won one since, the second-longest streak in the NFL. In fact, the Lions haven't even appeared in a championship game since then, making their streak of futility arguably more pathetic than the Cardinals'.

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