Bears routed Packers in first playoff meeting in 1941
By: Larry Mayer | Last Updated: 1/18/2011 5:14 PM
LAKE FOREST, Ill. – "Bears vs. Packers. These are three of the most explosive words in sports competition and need no amplification under ordinary circumstances."
That buildup certainly could be utilized this week to hype Sunday's NFC Championship Game between the longtime rivals. But it was actually penned by the Chicago Tribune's Edward Prell prior to the only previous Bears-Packers postseason game on Dec. 14, 1941.
That contest, won by the Bears 33-14 at Wrigley Field, was arranged during a special league meeting after the two teams had finished tied atop the Western Division with identical10-1 records. It was the first time a playoff game was held to break a first-place tie since the league formed two divisions in 1933.
The playoff game had to be played because the bitter rivals had split their season series. As Prell described in the Tribune, "The single defeats on the Bears' and Packers' records were love taps inflicted by each other."
NFL commissioner Elmer Layden ruled that the winner of the Bears-Packers game would host the Eastern Division-champion New York Giants a week later for the league championship.
Layden—one of the "Four Horsemen" at Notre Dame—announced that the game would conclude with sudden-death overtime should the score be tied at the end of regulation.
After falling behind 7-0, the Bears exploded for 30 straight points—including 24 in the second quarter—to take a commanding 30-7 halftime lead. Hugh Gallarneau returned a punt 81 yards for a touchdown, Norm Standlee scored on runs of 3 and 2 yards, and Bob Fisher had a 9-yard TD run.
Despite frigid temperatures in the teens, a crowd of 43,424 packed Wrigley Field.