NFL Flashback: 1947 NFL Championship, Eagles-Cardinals

Kevin McGuireSenior Analyst IJanuary 15, 2009

Today we take a look at the 1947 NFL Championship game between the Eagles and the Chicago Cardinals.

If you are an Eagles fan you no doubt know that the last time the Eagles won an NFL championship was 1960, before the Super Bowl was even a thought.

What about the Cardinals? The last time the franchise won an NFL title came thirteen years before the Eagles' last championship, in 1947!

It was a rough road for the Cardinals, who at the time played in Chicago. Playing in the shadow of the Chicago Bears, who had won five NFL titles in eight tries between 1933 and 1946, was a hard task.

But in 1946 they brought back former coach, and now a Hall of Fame coach, Jimmy Conzelman who guided the Cardinals to winning records. The success earned under the leadership of Conzelman paid off the following year when the Cardinals played their way past the city rival Bears and advanced to the NFL Championship game, against the Philadelphia Eagles.

It should be known that prior to the meeting between the Cardinals and Eagles in each team's first appearance in the NFL championship game, that the Cardinals' only previous championship was awarded in 1925. I say awarded because the Pottsville Maroons should have been crowned as champions, but were suspended by league commissioner Joseph Carr for playing in an unauthorized exhibition game. As the Maroons' record no longer counted, the Cardinals had the best record.

So perhaps a rivalry had started in 1925 between the Cardinals and the team that would later represent Philadelphia...

Fast forward now to the 1947 NFL championship game between two first time championship game franchises. The game was played in Comiskey Park in Chicago, home of baseball's White Sox, and had a crowd of over 30,000. The Cardinals entered with a record of 9-3, best in the western division. The Eagles were coming off a 21-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers to clinch the eastern championship. The Eagles were 8-4.

The Cardinals scored twice before the Eagles could dent the scoreboard. Hall of Famer Charlie Trippi had a 44 yard run for the Cardinals and Pat Harder notched an extra point in the first quarter.

Interesting note about Harder was that he was also the team's full back in the "Million Dollar Backfield".

Elmer Angsman scored the second touchdown for the Cardinals in the second quarter and Harder added the extra point to give the Cardinals a commanding 14-0 lead. From there, the teams exchanged touchdowns for the rest of the game.

Steve Van Buren recorded one of the touchdowns for the Eagles. Each team scored a touchdown in the third and fourth quarters. The Eagles defense could not stop the Cardinals when they needed to in order to cut the deficit built in the first half.

The Cardinals won 28-21 for their last NFL championship. The six decade drought is the longest in the NFL to this day.


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