1947 NFL season

The 1947 NFL season was the 28th regular season of the National Football League. The league expanded the regular season by one game from eleven games per team to twelve, a number that remained constant for fourteen seasons, through 1960.

1947 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 21 –
December 28, 1947
East ChampionsPhiladelphia Eagles (playoff)
West ChampionsChicago Cardinals
Championship Game
ChampionsChicago Cardinals
1947 NFL season is located in the United States
Cardinals ....
Cardinals ....
Steelers ....
Steelers ....
NFL teams: Yellow ffff00 pog.svg West, Green pog.svg East

The season ended when the Chicago Cardinals defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL Championship Game on December 28.


The 1947 NFL Draft was held on December 16, 1946 at New York City's Commodore Hotel. With the first pick, the Chicago Bears selected halfback Bob Fenimore from Oklahoma State University–Stillwater.

Major rule changesEdit

  • A fifth official, the Back Judge, is added to the officiating crew.[1]
  • When a team has fewer than 11 players on the field prior to a snap or kick, the officials are not to notify them.
  • An illegal use of hands penalty will be called whenever a defensive player uses them to block the vision of a receiver during any pass behind the offensive team's line.
  • During an unsuccessful extra point attempt, the play becomes dead as soon as failure is evident.
  • Roughing the kicker will not be called if he kicks after recovering a loose ball or fumble on the play.
  • All teams are required to use prescribed standard yardage chains, down boxes, and flexible shaft markers.
  • Games are no longer played on Tuesdays.

Division racesEdit

Starting in 1947, the NFL teams played a 12-game schedule rather than the previous 11 games. The twelfth game proved to be crucial for the Steelers, Eagles, Cardinals and Bears.

In the Eastern Division, Pittsburgh took a half-game lead over Philadelphia after a 35–24 win in Week Five.

In Week Eleven, the Eagles won the rematch, 21–0, to take a 7–3–0 to 7–4–0 lead, while the Cardinals lost to the Giants, 35–31, and the Bears beat Detroit 34–14, leaving the 7–3–0 Cards a game behind the 8–2–0 Bears in the Western Division.

In Week Twelve, the Cardinals beat the Eagles, 45–21, and Pittsburgh beat Boston 17–7, but the Bears lost to the Rams, 17–14.

The Steelers finished at 8–4, leaving the 7–4 Eagles needing to win their last game, while the Bears and Cardinals were both at 8–3, making the Bears-Cardinals game the following week a de facto playoff for the Western title: a tie would force a second playoff game between them.

In Week Thirteen, Philadelphia beat Green Bay 28–14 to force a playoff with Pittsburgh for the Eastern title, while before a sold-out crowd of 48,632 at Wrigley Field, the Cardinals beat the Bears 30–21 to win the Western title and the right to host the Championship Game.

Final standingsEdit


Home team in capitals

Eastern Division Playoff Game

  • Philadelphia 21, PITTSBURGH 0

NFL Championship Game

  • CHI. CARDINALS 28, Philadelphia 21

League leadersEdit

Statistic Name Team Total
Passing yards Sammy Baugh Washington Redskins 2938
Completion percentage Sammy Baugh Washington Redskins .593 (210-for-354)
Touchdown passes Sammy Baugh Washington Redskins 25
Rushing: yards Steve Van Buren Philadelphia Eagles 1008
Rushing: touchdowns Steve Van Buren Philadelphia Eagles 13
Receiving: yards Mal Kutner Chicago Cardinals 944
Receiving: catches Jim Keane Chicago Bears 64
Receiving: touchdowns Ken Kavanaugh Chicago Bears 13
Total points scored Pat Harder Chicago Cardinals 102
Punting: average George Gulyanics Chicago Bears 44.8
Interceptions Frank Reagan New York Giants 10
Frank Seno Boston Yanks 10

Coaching changesEdit


  1. ^ Strickler, George (February 20, 1965). "Sixth N.F.L. official to watch scramblers, clock". Chicago Tribune. p. 1, sec. 2.

Further readingEdit