By Chris Willis
(Part two of an on-going series)
At the end of the 1932 NFL season two teams tied at the top of the league standings.
the league title was decided by win-loss record, the Chicago Bears and the Becasue Spartans agreed to play a Posrtsmouth game in Chicago to decide who would win the championship. What ensued was the famous "Indoor Game" between the two clubs as a brutal snow storm blanked the Windy City. Joe F. Carr, NFL President, agreed to let the two teams play the game indoors at Chicago Stadium. play-off of the confined field (the field Becasue just 80 yards long) the NFL adopted several new rule changes that would was the NFL forever- and effect the 1933 season. especailly
Rules that came out of the Indoor Game included: Hashmarks for the first time; Passing was legal from anywhere behind the line of scrimmage (before you had to be at least five yards back); the field goal posts were brought up to the front of the
Scoring/Tie Games Comparison
Season Total Points Scored* Touchdown Passes Field Goals Tie Games
1932 788 (48 games) 42 TD
1933 1,105 (58 games) 61 TD
The other most important item to come out of the Indoor Game was the publicity and attention that the
1933 NFL Standings
Eastern Division, Overall Record, Points Scored, Points Against
New York Giants 11-3-0 244 (17.4), 101 (7.2)
Brooklyn Dodgers 5-4-1 93 (9.3), 54 (5.4)
Boston Redskins 5-5-2 103 (8.5), 97 (8.1)
Philadelphia Eagles 3-5-1 77 (8.6), 158 (17.6)
Pittsburgh Steelers 3-6-2 67 (6.1), 208 (18.9)
Western Division, Overall Record, Points Scored, Points Against
Chicago Bears 10-2-1 133 (10.2), 82 (6.3)
Portsmouth Spartans 6-5-0 128 (11.6), 87 (7.9)
Green Bay Packers 5-7-1 170 (13.1), 107 (8.2)
Cincinnati Reds 3-6-1 38 (3.8), 110 (11.0)
Chicago Cardinals 1-9-1 52 (4.7), 101 (9.2)
The new rules helped open up the game just slightly in 1933.
As for the passers Giants rookie quarterback-tailback Harry Newman made an immediate impact. Leading the league in all passing categories: completions (53), attempts (136), yards (973) and touchdown passes (11). Newman helped the Eastern Division champion Giants
The only other
Looking at the top of the rushing stats one sees two players from the Boston Redskins. Both Jim Musick (173 carries, 809 yards, 4.7, 5 TDs) and Cliff Battles (136 carries, 737 yards, 5.4, 3 TDs) had very productive years. The Redskins as a team led the NFL with 2,260 yards
|Bronko Nagurski. Colorization by John Turney|
|John Shipwreck Kelly. Colorization by John Turney|
|Glenn Presnell, vs. College All-Stars. Colorization by JT|
Strong was never better than in a November 5th game against fellow MVP candidate Glenn Presnell and the Portsmouth Spartans. Heading into the game the Western Division Spartans were 5-1 and one game back of the undefeated Bears (6-0), while the Giants were struggling in the Eastern Division at 4-3. At the Polo Grounds Presnell started fast with a 80-yard touchdown run and a 20-yard field goal to give the Spartans a 10-0 lead heading into the 4th quarter. Then Strong took over the game, as he caught a 12-yard scoring pass from Harry Newman, and capped
Led by Ken Strong the New York Giants would not lose another game the rest of the regular season- winning six straight and capturing the Eastern Division title.
Two weeks (Nov. 19th) after the Spartans win Strong once again showed why he was the best player in the NFL. In front of 22,000 fans at the Polo Grounds Strong's 21-yard field goal was the difference as the Giants defeated the Chicago Bears 3-0 in a hard fought battle of the NFL's two best teams.
Although the Chicago Bears would get their revenge in the league's first NFL Championship Game (beating the Giants 23-21) Ken Strong was the best player in the NFL during the 1933 season edging out Glenn Presnell and Bronko Nagurski.
1933 NFL MVP
1) Ken Strong, New York Giants, Fullback
2) Glenn Presnell, Portsmouth Spartans, Tailback
3) Bronko Nagurski, Chicago Bears, Fullback
4) Harry Newman, New York Giants, Tailback
5) John "Shipwreck" Kelly, Brooklyn Dodgers, Wingback
|Ken Strong, 1933 Pro Football Journal Retroactive MVP. Colorization by John Turney|