1949 NFL Championship Game
The 1949 National Football League Championship Game was the 17th title game for the National Football League (NFL), played on December 18 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. It is remembered for the driving rain that caused the field to become a mud pit. Its paid attendance was 27,980, with only 22,245 in the stadium.
|Date||December 18, 1949|
|Stadium||Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California|
|Attendance||27,980 (paid); 22,245 (actual)|
|TV in the United States|
|Announcers||Harry Wismer, Red Grange|
The game featured the Eastern Division champion Philadelphia Eagles (11–1), the defending NFL champions, against the Los Angeles Rams (8–2–2), winners of the Western Division. This was the first NFL title game played in the western United States. The Rams had last appeared in a title game in 1945, a victory and the franchise's final game in Cleveland.
The Eagles were favored by a touchdown, and won 14–0 for their second consecutive shutout in the title game. Running back Steve Van Buren rushed for 196 yards on 31 carries for the Eagles and their defense held the Rams to just 21 yards on the ground.
Philadelphia head coach Earle "Greasy" Neale did not like to fly, so the Eagles traveled to the West Coast by train. On the way west, they stopped in Illinois for a workout at Stagg Field at the University of Chicago on Wednesday morning.
The Eagles players earned $1,090 each and the Rams got $789, about one-third of what was expected with fair weather. Anticipating 70,000 or more in attendance and a large payoff from the gate, the players and owners wanted to postpone the game for a week, but were overridden by Commissioner Bell, reached at home in Philadelphia.
This was the first NFL game which was broadcast on television, although only on the West Coast, under the auspices of NFL Commissioner Bert Bell. The traditional 60–40 player bonus for playing in a championship game was augmented by $14,000 (presently, $147,421) from the NFL. Although sources are unclear, a source writes the NFL received $20,000 (presently, $210,601) from the broadcasting rights.
- Warren, Harry (December 18, 1949). "Eagles play Rams today for N.F.L. title". Chicago Sunday Tribune. p. 1, part 2.
- Warren, Harry (December 19, 1949). "Eagles keep title in Los Angeles rain". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 1, part 3.
- "Small payoff irks Eagles and Rams". Pittsburgh Press. United Press. December 19, 1949. p. 22.
- "Eagles submerge Rams for title, 14-0". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. December 19, 1949. p. 20.
- Warren, Harry (December 16, 1949). "Eagles 7½ point choice for title". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 1, part 4.
- "Rams point for upset over Eagles". Reading Eagle. Pennsylvania. United Press. December 17, 1949. p. 7.
- "Eagles, Rams battle for NFL title today". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. December 18, 1949. p. 2B.
- "Eagles retain title, beat Rams in rain". St. Petersburg Independent. Florida. Associated Press. December 19, 1949. p. 21.
- Forbes, Gordon (August 28, 1980). "Steve Van Buren". St. Petersburg Independent. Florida. Knight-Ridder Newspapers. p. 6C.
- Warren, Harry (December 14, 1949). "Eagles pause in Chicago for drills today". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 1, part 4.
- "Los Angeles Rams seek pro grid crown today from Eagles". Reading Eagle. Pennsylvania. Associated Press. December 18, 1949. p. 44.
- Myers, Bob (December 18, 1949). "Philadelphia, Los Angeles meet in NFL playoff today". Youngstown Vindicator. Associated Press. p. E1.
- "Eagles get $1,090 each for victory". Reading Eagle. Pennsylvania. INS. December 19, 1949. p. 21.
- "Eagles on coast ready for championship". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. December 17, 1949. p. 11.
- Lyons: 156–157
- Coenen: 155–156