There Were No More Spare Footballs During The 1940 Championship Game

Published on April 15th, 2022 1:21 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

Extra points balls in the NFL used to be kicked straight into the crowd. The 1940 NFL Championship Game was notable for a number of different reasons.

To start, the 8-3 Chicago Bears trampled the 9-2 Washington Redskins in the game, winning by the score of 73-0. This remains the most lopsided game in NFL history.

This result was especially notable as the Bears were only slight favourites to win.

On top of that, this was the first NFL game that was ever broadcast across the nation on radio.


One interesting fact about this game - the league almost ran out of footballs, and were down to just ONE football when the game was completed.

In fact, officials had to ask Chicago coach George Halas to start running extra points from scrimmage, instead of kicking.

The reason?

The Bears scored so many touchdowns (with extra points) that officials simply ran out of footballs, as the extra points were kicked into the crowd.


If you look at the scoring summary of the game, you can see that the last two touchdowns that the Bears scored saw them run plays from scrimmage from their extra points.

One of these extra points was converted, while the other failed.

Remember - the 2-point conversion wouldn't be introduced for decades, and teams had the option to run plays from scrimmage to try and score an extra point.


In this day and age, the NFL uses nets to collect footballs after extra points and field goals, plus teams have dozens and dozens of footballs, ready to go at any time.

In the 1940 Championship game, however, the league very nearly ran out of footballs.

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