A great find on youtube, a film (in color!) of the Oct. 13 1946 game between the Washington Redskins and New York Football Giants from Griffith Stadium in D.C. Sammy Baugh led Washington a 24-14 win over New York (Pro Football Reference boxscore).
The half-time show and other festivities get more attention than the first game. A second game, featuring a trip to Philadelphia’s Shibe Park for an Eagles game, is also featured. Even weirder is a 1947 game against the Green Bay Packers in Baltimore.
The narration is by Harry Wiese, long-time Skins radio play-by-play man and future owner of the AFL’s New York Titans.
“In a wild, frenzied battle for points on the frozen turf of Wrigley Field, the deft arm of Slingin’ Sammy Baugh prevailed today and Washington’s Redskins emerged as the champions of the National Football League,” the A1 dispatch began. “From the stabbing efforts of Baugh’s rapier-like heaves, the big, bruising Chicago Bears, champions of the West, reeled and stumbled and finally yielded to the Redskins, 28 to 21. It was a triumph of Baugh over brawn, of East over West.
Emphasis mine — that was the great Shirley Povich reporting. Baugh led the Redskins back from a 21-14 defecit for the 28-21 win. The rookie quarterback threw 3 touchdowns on an icy Wrigley Field with a bad leg while wearing rubber souled sneakers for the first time in his life. Fewer than 16,000 fans braved the sub-freezing temperatures, but apparently 3,000 came from the nation’s capital.
Here is a newsreel of the game – no narration, just music and title cards to go with the action.
The Redskins beat the Bears again for the championship in 1942, avenging a close loss in 1940. In the modern era, they won Super Bowls XVII, XXII and XXVI.
The greatest Redskin of all (if not the greatest D.C. athlete ever), Sammy Baugh, died last night. For some reason, washingtonpost.com did not feature this news above the scroll as of 9:45 a.m. Their local competitors washtimes.com and dcexaminer.com both had Baugh in their carousels. On the print edition, Baugh’s passing is only noted at the bottom. The front page of The Wash. Times has the news on the fold. Even the Philly Daily News had Baugh’s passing noted on the back (sports) page.
Baugh made football in this town and revolutionized passing. He was also one of the greatest punters of all time and an excellent defensive back. His #33 is the only number officially retired by the Redskins. He was the only quarterback to lead the Redskins to multiple titles (1937 and 1942). I hope the Redskins honor him with a #33 patch on their uniforms for the rest of the season.
Depending on the source, Baugh may have never returned to Washington after retiring in 1952, preferring life on his Texas ranch.