Tribune Classic: All Bears in '41 game vs. Packers
January 16, 2011 10:58 PM | 2 Comments The 1941 Bears went on to win the NFL championship. (Tribune file photo)
Sunday's NFC championship game will be only the second Bears-Packers playoff game ever. It's historic, and not just because the first game came as the nation was plunging headlong into World War II.
A week after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Bears beat the Packers 33-14 on Dec. 14, 1941, for the NFL's Western Section championship. The win set up the NFL title game against the New York Giants, which the Bears won 37-9 in the era before the Super Bowl.
Tribune reporter Edward Prell had no idea exactly how precient he was in his report on the game. Here's his lead:
"It may have been the last time these two titans of the gridirons will meet for a long, long time. If so, the fans will have plenty to remember them by until this war runs its course."
As Prell described, the Bears "didn't need that specially designed fifth quarter" at Wrigley Field. What was he talking about? Another bit of history.
Before the game, the teams had agreed to play on, past regulation, to a sudden-death finish and avoid a tie. They had set the stage for what is now simply "overtime," a rule the NFL adopted in 1942.
The Bears didn't need the entire second half after jumping out to a 30-7 lead in the 14-degree weather.
Chicago's Hugh Gallarneau, from Stanford by way of the South Side, brought back an 82-yard punt return for a score. Prell does not describe it as "ridiculous." Go figure.
With two scores from Norm Standlee and another by "little Bobby Swisher," as Prell describes, the rout was on.
What else should 1941 be remembered for? "Bear Down, Chicago Bears," the team's now ubiquitous fight song, was published.