Referee Emil Heintz
Champion Chicago Bears
Stadium Wrigley Field
Announcers Bob Elson, Red Barber
Start date 1941
|Location Wrigley Field, Lake View, Chicago, Illinois, United States|
Similar 1946 NFL Championship Game, 1940 NFL Championship Game, 1934 NFL Championship Game, 1932 NFL Playoff Game, 1942 NFL Championship Game
The 1941 National Football League Championship game was the ninth annual championship game, held at Wrigley Field in Chicago on December 21. Played two weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the attendance was 13,341, the smallest ever to see an NFL title game.
Western Division playoff game
Prior to the title game, the Western Division champion needed to be determined. The defending NFL champion Chicago Bears (10–1) had ended the regular season on December 7 tied with the Green Bay Packers (10–1), the 1939 NFL champions. The two had split their season series in 1941, with the road teams winning, so the tiebreaker was the first-ever divisional playoff game in the NFL, played on December 14 at Wrigley Field.
The Packers had completed their regular season on November 30 and the playoff game was sold out by Tuesday, December 9, at over 46,484, with over 10,000 seats to Packer fans. Chicago was favored, and attendance on game day was slightly lower than capacity at 43,425, the week after Pearl Harbor. The Bears jumped to a 30–7 halftime lead under clear skies and 16 °F (−9 °C) temperatures and easily won, 33–14. The Eastern Division champion New York Giants (8–3) completed their regular season on December 7 with a 21–7 loss to the runner-up Brooklyn Dodgers (7–4), who had defeated the Giants twice in the regular season.
NFL Championship Game
Both the Bears and Giants were making their fifth appearances in the title game, and each had two victories. It was the third time the two teams matched up in the big game; the home teams had won both: the Bears in 1933 and the Giants in 1934. The Bears were favored by two touchdowns and 35,000 were expected to attend. The game time temperature was an unseasonably warm 47 °F (8 °C).
The hometown Bears kicked three field goals in the first half to lead 9–6 at the intermission. The Giants took the opening drive of the second half down to the five, but settled for a short field goal to tie the score. Chicago dominated the rest of the second half with four unanswered touchdowns and won 37–9.
The Bears became the first team in the NFL championship game era (since 1933) to win consecutive titles; it was the franchise's fifth league title (1927, 1932, 1933, 1940, 1941).
Sunday, December 21, 1941
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. CST
Ray "Scooter" McLean elected to drop kick the extra point on the last touchdown, the last successful drop kick in the NFL for 64 years. Doug Flutie of the New England Patriots kicked one in his final regular season game, in the fourth quarter of the last game of the 2005 regular season on January 1, 2006.
The NFL had only four game officials in 1941; the back judge was added in 1947, the line judge in 1965, and the side judge in 1978.
With the extremely low attendance, the net gate receipts were a record low, under $42,000. Each Bear player received $431 while each Giant saw $288, less than half of the previous year's.
Ticket prices were $4.40 for the grandstand and $2.20 for bleachers.
Two players in the game, back Young Bussey of the Bears and end Jack Lummus of the Giants, were killed in action three years later in World War II, in early 1945. Navy lieutenant Bussey died in the Invasion of Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines and Marine lieutenant Lummus was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for valor at the Battle of Iwo Jima.