Saturday, December 18, 2010
How about reprise of the 'Sneakers Game?'
By Kevin Seifert
I've got a great idea for the Chicago Bears, a genuinely original thought that will guarantee them a victory Monday night on what is expected to be a frozen field at TCF Bank Stadium.
An unidentified New York Giants player changes from cleats to athletic shoes during a 30-13 New York Giants win against the Bears in the NFL Championship game.
Or, as kids these days might call them, flat-bottomed kicks.
Wait. Someone's already tried that? Sixty-six years ago? Drat. Well, it's original for this generation.
As some of you might know, one of the best seasons in Bears history came to a shocking end at the Polo Grounds in New York City. On Dec. 9, 1934, the Bears lost the NFL Championship Game when the New York Giants ditched their spikes at halftime and wore sneakers in what turned out to be a 30-13 victory.
"The Sneakers Game" is one of the iconic moments in NFL history, mostly for how unusual it was. Some background:
The Bears had finished the regular season 13-0, one of two undefeated seasons in their history. As Mike Beacom explains in a brief history of the game, Bears coach George Halas fielded the NFL's best offense and a defense that had three shutouts and allowed the second-fewest total of points in the league.
The Bears roared into the championship game as heavy favorites against a Giants team that was 8-5. Freezing rain fell the night before the game, leaving the field covered in a sheet of ice. As the legend goes, several Giants players implored coach Steve Owen to wear sneakers in anticipation that their spikes would slip on the ice.
The Bears held a 10-3 lead at halftime, at which point Giants equipment manager Abe Cohen arrived with eight pairs of gym shoes he borrowed from Manhattan College. The Bears extended their lead to 13-3, but the Giants scored 27 unanswered points in the fourth quarter after finding their footing with the new shoes.