Flashback Saturday: Skins and fans invade NYC

Rich TandlerSenior Analyst IAugust 30, 2008

You're probably going to see "Polo Grounds" as the venue for this game and immediately your eyes will glaze over. But if you'll stick with it, you'll find a great story of a bunch of fans so geeked about their new team that droves of them got on a train and went to battle with them in New York City. From the pages of The Redskins From A to Z:


Polo Grounds--You often hear of a team invading a city for a road game, and it's usually hyperbole, but that's exactly what the Redskins did to New York in the first trip the Washington Redskins made to the Big Apple in 1937. Between ten and twelve thousand fans boarded trains at Union Station to make the trek to the Polo Grounds to watch the two teams battle for the Eastern Conference title on the last day of the regular season. A 150-piece marching band made the trek as well. On arrival, owner George Preston Marshall led an impromptu parade down Seventh Avenue to Columbus Circle. The fans were marching along in step, singing the national capital's new anthem, Hail to the Redskins.

Cliff Battles set the tone, leading the way on a grinding, 83-yard drive that he ended with a two-yard touchdown run. Later in the first, he galloped around left end for 75 yards to the Giants' five. Two plays later, Battles scored again and it was 14-0. A second-quarter drive started at midfield and ended when Max Krause scored on an up-the-middle run from five yards out.

A break got the Giants on the scoreboard as one of their passes bounced off of Erny Pinckert's hand and into the arms of the Giants' Ward Cuff, who scampered 45 yards for the Giants' first score. A second Giants touchdown a few minutes later tied it up and had the Redskins' and their traveling faithful worried. The Giants, after all, had allowed just 60 points all season.

But that didn't stop Sammy Baugh, Battles, and company. Ed Justice was wide open on a 48-yard TD pass and, early in the fourth quarter, got more breathing room when Wayne Milner blocked a Giants' punt and fell on the ball in the end zone to make it 35-14.

The Skins weren't done yet. Battles intercepted a long pass at the Washington 20, broke a couple of tackles, reversed his field twice, cut back and didn't stop until he ran out of gas and was caught from behind at the New York one. Riley Smith got the TD on the next play and, after Ray Flaherty emptied the bench, the Redskins scored once more on a Max Krause TD run of five yards. They were headed to Chicago to play the Bears for the NFL title

The Redskins' fans in the Polo Grounds stormed the field, tearing down the goal posts and reveling long after the final gun. Another gathering of 5,000 greeted the Redskins at Union Station when the trains arrived back in Washington.