When the Lions and also Giants met in November 1943, the 2nd world war and terrible field conditions helped create a historical oddity


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Mel Hein, coach Steve Owen and also Tuffy Leemans were all component of the Giants in 1943 and would later sign up with the room of Fame. Photograph: AP
Mel Hein, coach Steve Owen and also Tuffy Leemans were all component of the Giants in 1943 and also would later sign up with the hall of Fame. Photograph: AP

We must generate more than zero points to victory games, yes sir no doubt,” Chicago bears coach man Fox.

You are watching: Has there ever been a scoreless nfl game

This is solid assailable logic. Comes after his Bears lost 26-0 come Seattle last Sunday what else could Fox say? as soon as I first read this line ns chuckled as everybody more than likely did. Fox is a master of the ethereal quips, those self-deprecating one-liners the break up room. It’s a component of what has actually made him one of the finest coaches of his time, taking two groups to supervisor Bowls and inventing an offense mid-season that worked for Tim Tebow.

yet his native on Monday made me think: If you nothing score and also the other team doesn’t score and also the game ends in a 0-0 tie climate presumably that is a success of sorts. At the very least it’s no a loss. Yet i couldn’t remember an NFL game that ended scoreless. I could recall part 3-0 gamings in recent years but never one the was 0-0. So ns looked that up. Surprisingly the critical 0-0 video game was an ext than 70 year ago. It was played top top 7 November 1943 between the Detroit Lions and brand-new York Giants.

The record of the game, though, to be sparse. It said the Lions and also Giants played before 16,992 in Detroit’s Briggs stadion generating just 214 yards in between them. Discovering there had actually to be more I referred to as Dan Daly, a football researcher exterior of Washington DC.

Daly to know a lot about the last 0-0 game. In reality he thinks around it every time a game is scoreless in ~ halftime or drifts into the 3rd quarter there is no a point. He has a crate score from the game, uncovered in an old copy that the brand-new York Times. Package score revealed a few interesting truth that can have described how the game could have ended as the did.

for instance, Lions kicker Augie Lio missed field goal attempts from 32, 40 and 15 yards. Giants kicker Ward Cuff additionally missed one.

“It had to have actually been a disastrous field,” Daly said. “It was more than likely muddy and also guys couldn’t get their footing. The kickers probably couldn’t acquire their footing.”

In those days, he said, the was typical for one NFL stadion to host high school gamings on Friday nights, college gamings on Saturday, leaving the ar a trampled chaos for the professional game top top Sunday. Since fields then weren’t constructed with sophisticated drainage systems, rain would frequently render castle useless.

But even if the ar was in top shape, no team was most likely to be really good. This remained in the middle of civilization War Two and 1943 was the very first season that saw a prevalent exodus the players, drafted come fight overseas. The Rams rely operations for the year and the Steelers and also Eagles merged into a team everyone dubbed the Steagles. While plenty of teams still had stars who had been given deferments because they had family members or ran ranches or farms, they lacked depth. The starting 11 might be good, expert players however the backups would certainly probably have never make a roster in common times.

In the following season, play after the D-Day invasion, Daly claimed the Giants might actually placed out a backfield in which nobody of the players had played varsity soccer in college.

One of those players, Bob Pachel, a tailback for the Giants in the 0-0 game, damaged his college career at Georgia Tech as soon as he injured his leg slipping out of an top bunk in a dormitory bedroom his student in the first year year. When the leg failed to sufficiently heal, he left school, found a job, got married and also had children until trying football again years later.

That was football in those days. The Giants room of call center, Mel Hein, operated as a physical education and learning instructor during the weeks at Union College, prior to rushing come the games on Sunday. Detroit’s beginning guard, Riley Matheson, to be a mining engineer whose nickname to be “The Rattler” since he preferred to record rattlesnakes.

The Lions tailback that day, Frankie Sinkwich – the 1942 Heisman Trophy winner -- to be nicknamed “Flat Foot Frankie” since his condition gave the a medical discharge native the Marines. Return Daly has seen proof that the genuine reason because that Sinkwich’s discharge was ulcers, that was more fun to call him flat Foot Frankie, for this reason the story stuck.

Two players in the video game – Giants best tackle Al Blozis and also Lions tackle Alex Ketzko – would be dead within two years, killed in the war. Ketzko died barely a year later during the battle of the Bulge. He to be 25. Blozis was eliminated at 26 in France in January 1945.

Details on what occurred in the 0-0 game are limited. The Lions go rush for 102 yards and also the Giants 81. New York attempted only 4 passes that day, completing just one for 3 yards, making it likely that the weather to be miserable.

Since the day there have been six 3-0 games, including the notorious 1982 snowplow game, which associated a much more blatant kind of cheating indigenous the brand-new England Patriots 보다 we room accustomed to today. With 4:45 left in a scoreless tie and also the ar in Foxborough’s Schaefer Stadium covered in snow, Patriots coach Ron Meyer instructed a plow operator to clean a spot for kicker man Smith who hit a 33-yard field goal to beat Miami.

provided the weather that day and the reality the field under the eye was frozen after ~ rainstorm the night before, the snowplow game might be the closest us have involved a scoreless tie in a contemporary era.

The critical one continues to be a long forgotten day in Detroit in the middle of civilization war two.

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“It doesn’t get mentioned a lot due to the fact that it is so beyond the kingdom of imagination in the pass era,” Daly said.

however given the Bears are looking at another week with Jimmy Clausen as their quarterback a 0-0 tie could be the finest hope for man Fox.