The mighty Chicago Bears came into a cavernous deep freeze called Yankee stadium here today and left as football's greatest enigma, humiliated by the New York Giants, 47 to 7, in the National league's 24th annual championship playoff.
Long after the last witness has forgotten the shocking details there will be a question of precisely what happened to the burly Western division champions.
What Was It?
Were they overtrained, worked out, and stale? Did they have no pride in achievement? Did the Giants find some defect in the Bears' defensive armour? Or were they just overrated, utterly lacking in the competitive qualities of a champion?
Along Broadway tonight, they were leaning toward the latter proposition. When the chips were down, with money and title at stake, these mighty Bears could not rise to the challenge of a Giant team that had played its best against them four weeks ago and only succeeded in tying, 17 to 7.
All-Star Game Next
The best hot weather team in football, they were saying, ran into a cold snap and congealed. The Bears were no more than a good practice opponent for a resolute Giant team that romped recklessly over a frozen gridiron in basketball shoes.
The triumph, scored easily for a record playoff purse, brought the Giants their first world championship since 1938 and qualified them as the National Football league's representative in the Chicago Tribune Charities, Inc.'s College All-Star game in Soldiers' field next August.
It was hardly a contest. From the opening kickoff, when Gene Filipski, a former All-American candidate from Villanova, sprinted 54 yards thru a frustrated, fumbling Bear defense, the Giants held the upper hand.
Fans Lose Interest
They scored 10 points on their first eight plays from scrimmage, led 13 to 0 at the end of the first quarter, and went on to pile up six touchdowns and two field goals in a contest that was so one-sided two-thirds of the 56,836 mufflered and blanketed spectators had retreated to the handiest fireside before the fourth quarter was five minutes old.
No one would have believed that the Bears ever would be caught again as they were in the Polo Grounds, just across the Harlem river from here in 1934 when the Giants, in stolen basketball shoes, rallied for 34 points in the second half to snatch a world championship from the immortal Bronko Nagurski and associates.
But they were. They were caught that way today, outsmarted, outplayed and outfought by a new Giant team that appeared to have greater desire for victory and less regard for the biting wind which blew most of the spectators home early.
Error is Expensive
Tests in pre-game practice dictated sneakers, after an unscheduled cold wave had tightened up the gridiron which yesterday was sticky and heavy. The Giants resorted to conventional basketball shoes, the Bears to a sneaker with a different sole. It was a costly error in selection.
The Bears broke four playoff records set by Washington, the Cleveland Browns, and Giants and they bettered 16 records of their own. But they did not block and tackle like the Bears who routed Detroit, 38 to 10, two weeks ago. All in all, they appeared inadequate and frustrated, with a performance that was best epitomized by the last play of the long, dismal afternoon when George Blanda passed into the arms of a spectator beyond the end zone.
Scores on 4th Play
Mel Triplett, the former Toledo university star and the starting full back on the 1954 Chicago College All-Star team, plunged 17 yards thru the arms of various defenders for the Giants' first touchdown on the fourth play of the game.
Thereafter the Giants appeared able to score at will and their defense, the best in the league statistically, was able to choke off the Bear offense, the best in the league, statistically, almost whenever it pleased. It held Rick Casares, the league's leading ground gainer, to 43 yards in 14 attempts and surrendered only eight first downs rushing to a team which had been rushing opponents to defeat.
giants 47, bears 7