The 1938 NFL Championship Game was the sixth championship game played in the history of the National Football League. It was played on December 11 at the Polo Grounds in New York City, with an attendance of 48,120, a record crowd for a title game.
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). The Giants had won the regular season game with Green Bay 15–3 at the Polo Grounds three weeks earlier on November 20, but Green Bay was without hall of fame end Don Hutson; there was no clear favorite for the title game.
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, but New York responded with a touchdown and held on through a scoreless fourth quarter to win, 23–17.
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.
Sunday, December 11, 1938First quarter
NY – FG Ward Cuff 14, 3–0 NY
NY – Leemans 6 run (Johnny Gildea kick failed), 9–0 NY
GB – Carl Mulleneaux 40 pass from Arnie Herber (Tiny Engebretsen kick), 9–7 NY
NY – Barnard 21 pass from Ed Danowski (Cuff kick), 16–7 NY
GB – Clarke Hinkle 1 run (Engebretsen kick), 16–14 NY
GB – FG Engebretsen 15, 17–16 GB
NY – Hank Soar 23 pass from Danowski (Cuff kick), 23–17 NY
Referee: Bobby Cahn
Umpire: Tom Thorp
Head Linesman: Larry Conover
Field Judge: L.C. Meyer
Kickoff: 2 p.m. EST
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.
The victory earned each winning Giant player $504 and each Packer $368.