The 1933 NFL season was the 14th regular season of the National Football League.

1933 NFL season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 17 – December 10, 1933
East ChampionsNew York Giants
West ChampionsChicago Bears
Championship Game
ChampionsChicago Bears
1933 NFL season is located in USA Midwest and Northeast
NFL teams: West, East

Because of the success of the Playoff Game the year before, the league divided its teams into two divisions for the first time, with the winners of each division playing in a Championship Game to determine the NFL Champion.

Three new teams joined the league: the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Cincinnati Reds. The Boston Braves changed their name to the Boston Redskins and the Staten Island Stapletons left the league, though they continued scheduling games against league teams.

The season ended when the Chicago Bears defeated the New York Giants in the first ever NFL Championship Game.



The league increased from 8 teams to 10 in 1933.

First season in NFL * Last active season †
Team Head coach Stadium
Boston Redskins William Dietz Fenway Park
Brooklyn Dodgers Cap McEwan Ebbets Field
Chicago Bears George Hallas Wrigley Field
Chicago Cardinals Paul J. Schissler Comiskey Park
Cincinnati Reds * Al Jolley & Mike Palm Crosley Field
Green Bay Packers Curly Lambeau City Stadium and Borchert Field
New York Giants Steve Owen Polo Grounds
Philadelphia Eagles * Lud Wray Baker Bowl
Pittsburgh Pirates * Forrest Douds Forbes Field
Portsmouth Spartans George Clark Universal Stadium

Major rule changes


Due to the success of the 1932 NFL Playoff Game, the league stopped using the exact rules of college football and started to develop its own revisions:

  1. The forward pass is legal anywhere behind the line of scrimmage. Previously, the passer had to be at least five yards back from the scrimmage line. This change is referred to as the "Bronko Nagurski Rule" after his controversial touchdown in the 1932 NFL Playoff Game.
  2. Hashmarks or inbounds lines are added to the field 10 yards in from each sideline. All plays would start with the ball on or between the hashmarks.
  3. To increase the number of field goals and decrease the number of tie games, the goal posts are moved from the end lines at the back of the end zones to the goal lines (reversing the change made before the 1927 season); the goal posts were moved back to the end line in 1974, where it has remained.
  4. It is a touchback when a punt hits the opponent's goal posts before being touched by a player of either team.
  5. It is a safety if a ball that is kicked behind the goal line hits the goal posts, and rolls back out of the end zone or is recovered by the kicking team.

Final standings

NFL Eastern Division
New York Giants 11 3 0 .786 7–1 244 101 W7
Brooklyn Dodgers 5 4 1 .556 2–2–1 93 54 L2
Boston Redskins 5 5 2 .500 2–3 103 97 T1
Philadelphia Eagles 3 5 1 .375 1–2 77 158 L2
Pittsburgh Pirates 3 6 2 .333 1–5–1 67 208 L3
Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.
NFL Western Division
Chicago Bears 10 2 1 .833 7–0 133 82 W4
Portsmouth Spartans 6 5 0 .545 3–4 128 87 L3
Green Bay Packers 5 7 1 .417 2–4 170 107 L1
Cincinnati Reds 3 6 1 .333 2–2 38 110 W1
Chicago Cardinals 1 9 1 .100 1–5 52 101 T1
Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.

NFL Championship Game

Period 1 2 34Total
Giants 0 7 7721
Bears 3 3 10723

at Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois

  • Date: Sunday, December 17, 1933
  • Game time: 1:45 p.m. CST
  • Game attendance: "approximately 21,000"[1] to 26,000
  • Referee: Tommy Hughitt
Game information
  • First quarter
  • Second quarter
  • Third quarter
    • CHI – FG Manders (15 yards), 9–7 CHI
    • NYG – Max Krause 1 yard run (Strong kick), 14–9 NYG
    • CHI – Bill Karr 8-yard pass from Bronko Nagurski (Manders kick), 16–14 CHI
  • Fourth quarter
    • NYG – Strong 8-yard pass from Newman (Strong kick), 21–16 NYG
    • CHI – Karr 31-yard lateral from Bill Hewitt after 3-yard pass from Nagurski to Hewitt (Carl Brumbaugh kick), 23–21 CHI

Statistical leaders


The 1933 season marked the second year in which official statistics were tracked and retained by the NFL.[2] Certain statistics later regarded as staples were not maintained, including interceptions, punting average, kickoff return yardage and average, and field goal percentage, among others.[3] New NFL records are denoted with the ‡ symbol below.

Name Team Yards
Passing 1. Harry Newman New York Giants 973 ‡
2. Glenn Presnell Portsmouth Spartans 774
3. Arnie Herber Green Bay Packers 656
Rushing 1. Jim Musick Boston Redskins 809 ‡
2. Cliff Battles Boston Redskins 737
3. Bronco Nagurski Chicago Bears 533
Receiving 1. Paul Moss Pittsburgh Pirates 283
2. Ray Tesser Pittsburgh Pirates 282
3. Bill Hewitt Chicago Bears 273
Touchdowns 1. Kink Richards New York Giants 7
1. Shipwreck Kelly Brooklyn Dodgers 7
3. Ken Strong New York Giants 6
3. Glenn Presnell Portsmouth Spartans 6

Source: Pete Palmer, et al. (eds.), The ESPN Pro Football Encyclopedia. First Edition. New York: Sterling Publishing, 2006; p. 1041.

Coaching changes


Stadium changes


This was also the first season of selected Green Bay Packers home games in Milwaukee, with the Packers hosting one game in 1933 at Borchert Field. The team would then regularly play two or three home games each year in Milwaukee from 1934 to 1994.


  1. ^ "Hanley Hails Pro Passing Rule," Chicago Tribune, Dec. 18, 1933, p. 25. See also in same issue: "Bears Whip Giants, 23–21, World Champions ... 21,000 See Manders Kick 3 Field Goals," p. 23.
  2. ^ Pete Palmer, et al. (eds.), The ESPN Pro Football Encyclopedia. First Edition. New York: Sterling Publishing, 2006; p. 1040.
  3. ^ Palmer, et al. (eds.), The ESPN Pro Football Encyclopedia, p. 1041.

Further reading

  • NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 1-932994-36-X)
  • NFL History 1931–1940 Archived May 10, 2020, at the Wayback Machine (Last accessed December 4, 2005)
  • Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (ISBN 0-06-270174-6)