Just Because: Watch the 1944 Bears battle the Cleveland Rams

For the next 5 minutes, 28 seconds of your life, let me transport you back to a time when the Rams professional football team played in Cleveland, when the Chicago Bears competed at Wrigley Field, and when Army and Navy were two of the best college football teams in the nation (and apparently could have given the pro squads a helluva game).

More specifically, let’s go back to Oct. 29, 1944 and watch a few minutes of a tilt between the Cleveland Rams and the Chicago Bears.

Enjoy the highlights and enjoy the word sorcery of the announcer.

A couple things:

1) Sid Luckman, the Bears quarterback and future Hall of Famer, is considered one of the first great T-formation quarterbacks. In a nine-second span, the announcer describes Luckman as the “league’s best aerial bomber” (even during WWII, I guess it was OK to use a term like that) and “a ball-handling magician.” And actually, the 1944 season was his worst in an eight-year span from 1941-1948.


1941*+ P/QB 11 11 68 119 57.1 1181 9 6 95.3
1942*+ P/QB 11 10 57 105 54.3 1024 10 13 80.1
1943+ P/QB 10 3 110 202 54.5 2194 28 12 107.5
1944+ QB 7 0 71 143 49.7 1018 11 12 63.8
1945 P/QB 10 2 117 217 53.9 1727 14 10 82.5
1946 P/QB 11 5 110 229 48.0 1826 17 16 71.0
1947+ QB 12 7 176 323 54.5 2712 24 31 67.7
1948 QB 12 8 89 163 54.6 1047 13 14 65.1
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/14/2013.

Of course, this might have something to do with Luckman missing three games, because he was also serving in the Merchant Marines.

2) At the 0:55 mark, Tom Colella -- who was the team’s punter AND tailback AND who led the team with four interceptions -- tried a quick kick (not something you see happen very often in today’s NFL) and it was blocked. A blocked quick-kick would be a very rare incident these days, indeed.

3) That’s some smooth editing at the 2:18 mark. I’m sure nobody caught on that Luckman didn’t actually have a camera in his face when he went back for a pass.

4) There was a left end who played for the Bears named Connie Mack Berry. He is not related to this Connie Mack -- whose real name was Cornelius McGillicuddy, anyway. The Bears’ Connie Mack also played pro baseball and pro basketball. He probably was a good athlete.

5) At the 5:06 mark, that’s a pretty sweet play-call that springs Chicago’s Al Grygo for the game-winning 66-yard touchdown run.

Other than that, sit back and watch one decent squad (the Bears went 6-3-1 that season) and one mediocre team (the Rams were 4-6) battle it out in front of the Wrigley Stadium faithful (they probably weren’t at Soldier Field because of some ski-jumping event or something).

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