1937 Chicago Bears season
|1937 Chicago Bears season|
|Head coach||George Halas|
|Home field||Wrigley Field|
|Division place||1st NFL Western|
|Playoff finish||Lost NFL Championship|
The 1937 Chicago Bears season was their 18th regular season completed in the National Football League. The Bears started the season fast, winning their first five games, three of them on the road. After a tie to the Giants and a loss to the Packers, the Bears finished the season strong, winning their last four games. The club was second in scoring offense, behind Green Bay, and led the league in scoring defense.
The Bear offense relied on a rugged rushing attack and a quick-strike passing game. Sixteen of their 21 offensive touchdowns were through the air and the team averaged a league-leading 18.3 yards per completion. Future hall of fame end Bill Hewitt was gone to Philadelphia and Luke Johnsos did not play so coach Halas relied on young Les McDonald and "Eggs" Manske, along with veteran Bill Karr to catch the long ball. Bernie Masterson was still the primary quarterback but rookie Ray Buivid played regularly and showed promise. Ray Nolting led the team in rushing, with Bronko Nagurski and Jack Manders contributing as well. Manders led the league in scoring with 8 field goals and 15 of 20 PATs, finishing with 69 points. The Bears' interior line was their real strong suit, however, with Musso, Stydahar, and Fortmann anchoring the best line in the NFL. Frank Bausch emerged as a top flight center as well. With a consistent offense and a solid defense, the Bears were the class of the West, finishing 2½ games ahead of the Packers and Lions and winning 3 of 4 games against those two teams.
On October 6, 1937, the team scheduled a charity exhibition game against the Warren Redjackets. Because Warren, Pennsylvania was too small of a city to support such a game, the game was held in Erie, Pennsylvania and Warren's fans were transported to Erie by rail. Chicago won the game 49–7.
Future Hall of Fame Players
- Dan Fortmann, Guard
- George Musso, Tackle
- Bronko Nagurski, Fullback
- Joe Stydahar, Tackle (rookie from West Virginia University)
Other Leading Players
- Frank Bausch, Center (acquired from Boston Redskins)
- Ray Buivid, Back (rookie from Marquette)
- Bill Karr, End
- Jack Manders, Fullback / Kicker
- Edgar Manske, End (acquired from Philadelphia Eagles)
- Bernie Masterson, Quarterback
- Les McDonald, End (rookie from University of Nebraska)
- Keith Molesworth, Halfback
- Ray Nolting, Halfback (rookie from University of Cincinnati)
- Gene Ronzani, Back
Players departed from 1936
|Sep 19||Green Bay Packers||East Stadium||Win||14–2|
|Oct. 4||Pittsburgh Pirates||Forbes Field||Win||7–0|
|Oct 10||Cleveland Rams||League Park||Win||20–2|
|Oct 17||Chicago Cardinals||Wrigley Field||Win||16–7|
|Oct 24||Detroit Lions||Wrigley Field||Win||28–20|
|Oct 31||New York Giants||Polo Grounds||Tie||3–3|
|Nov 7||Green Bay Packers||Wrigley Field||Loss||14–24|
|Nov 14||Brooklyn Dodgers||Wrigley Field||Win||29–7|
|Nov 25||Detroit Lions||Titan Stadium||Win||13–0|
|Nov. 28||Cleveland Rams||Wrigley Field||Win||15–7|
|Dec. 5||Chicago Cardinals||Wrigley Field||Win||42–28|
|NFL Western Division|
|Green Bay Packers||7||4||0||.636||6–2||220||122||L2|
Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.
The Bears lost to the Washington Redskins at Wrigley Field 28–21. Sammy Baugh threw three third-quarter touchdown passes to upset the Bears. The Bears quarterbacks were ineffective, completing only 8 of 30 passes for 207 yards. Baugh set several NFL championship game records while completing 17 of 34 passes for 358 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.