1949 NFL season

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1949 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 22 – December 18, 1949
East ChampionsPhiladelphia Eagles
West ChampionsLos Angeles Rams
Championship Game
ChampionsPhiladelphia Eagles

The 1949 NFL season was the 30th regular season of the National Football League. Prior to the season, Boston Yanks owner Ted Collins asked the league to fold his team due to financial woes, and give him a new one in New York City. This new team would be called the New York Bulldogs. As a result, professional football would not return to Boston until the Patriots began play in 1960.

As the regular season came to a close, a merger agreement between the NFL and the All-America Football Conference was announced on December 9. Three AAFC teams joined the NFL in 1950, the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, and Baltimore Colts.[1][2]

The season ended on December 18 with the NFL Championship Game. In muddy conditions, the visiting Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Los Angeles Rams 14–0, as heavy rain in southern California kept the attendance under 23,000 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.[3] Both teams had potent offenses, but were severely limited by the poor field conditions. The management of the Eagles and Rams had favored a postponement for a week, but were overruled by commissioner Bert Bell.[4]


The 1949 NFL Draft was held on December 21, 1948 at Philadelphia's Bellevue-Stratford Hotel. With the first pick, the Philadelphia Eagles selected center Chuck Bednarik from the University of Pennsylvania.

Major rule changes[edit]

  • The free substitution rule (any or all of the players may be replaced by substitutes after any play) was re-adopted for one year. The rule was previously adopted in 1943 in response to the depleted rosters during World War II, but repealed in 1946.
  • Plastic helmets allowed again, after being outlawed in 1948.

Division races[edit]

In the Eastern Division, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh both had records of 4–1–0 when they met in Week Six. The Eagles won 38–7, and kept the lead for the remainder of the season. In the Western Division, the Rams got off to a 6–0–0 start while the Bears were 3–3–0 at midseason. Though the Bears won all of their remaining games, they never caught up to the Rams, who finished at 8–2–2.

Had the current (post-1972) system of counting ties as half a win and half a loss been in place in 1949, the Rams would have required a playoff with the Bears for the Western Division.

Final standings[edit]

W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT= Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against

Note: The NFL did not officially count tie games in the standings until 1972

Eastern Division
Philadelphia Eagles 11 1 0 .917 364 134
Pittsburgh Steelers 6 5 1 .545 224 214
New York Giants 6 6 0 .500 287 298
Washington Redskins 4 7 1 .364 268 339
New York Bulldogs 1 10 1 .091 153 368
Western Division
Los Angeles Rams 8 2 2 .800 360 239
Chicago Bears 9 3 0 .750 332 218
Chicago Cardinals 6 5 1 .545 360 301
Detroit Lions 4 8 0 .333 237 259
Green Bay Packers 2 10 0 .167 114 329

NFL Championship Game[edit]

Philadelphia 14, Los Angeles 0 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, December 18, 1949.[3][4]

League leaders[edit]

Statistic Name Team Yards
Passing Johnny Lujack Chicago Bears 2658
Rushing Steve Van Buren Philadelphia 1146
Receiving Bob Mann Detroit 1014

Coaching changes[edit]

Stadium changes[edit]

The New York Bulldogs began play at the Polo Grounds, sharing it with the Giants


  1. ^ "Pro football leagues agree to merge;". Milwaukee Journal. December 10, 1949. p. 8.
  2. ^ "Four-year pro grid war ends! NFL, AAC merge". Milwaukee Sentinel. December 10, 1949. p. 4, part 2.
  3. ^ a b "Philadelphia Eagles take NFL championship with 14-0 win in rain, mud". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. December 19, 1949. p. 9.
  4. ^ a b "Eagles winners in muddy battle". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Associated Press. December 19, 1949. p. 17.