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Giants-Bears 1956 title game opened eyes to NFL

Giants quarterback Charley Conerly, right, and halfback Frank

Giants quarterback Charley Conerly, right, and halfback Frank Gifford, celebrate in the dressing room after a 47-7 win over the Chicago Bears to win the NFL championship at Yankee Stadium on Dec. 30, 1956. Credit: AP

The Giants’ game against the Colts for the 1958 NFL Championship often is called “The Greatest Game Ever Played.”

Two years earlier, though, the Giants faced the Bears for the title in what many believe was a game with even more significance.

The Giants won, 47-7, in front of 56,836 people on an 18-degree day at Yankee Stadium.

“I’ll always believe that that game and how it opened everyone’s eyes to the excitement of pro football was the key to the development of the NFL, more so than the 1958 title game that gets more attention,” Giants Hall of Famer Frank Gifford said 50 years after playing halfback in the win. “People forget what the NFL was like in those days. It was not America’s No. 1 sport. The game wasn’t even a sellout. But once we played the game, we became heroes in New York. The thing just grew from there.”

The game featured 15 future Hall of Famers as coaches and players: Gifford, Tom Landry, Vince Lombardi, Roosevelt Brown, Sam Huff, Andy Robustelli and Emlen Tunnell for the Giants, and Doug Atkins, George Blanda, George Conner, Paddy Driscoll, Bill George, Stan Jones, Sid Luckman and Clyde Turner for the Bears.


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