BRONKO NAGURSKI, IN THE GIANTS OF NEW YORK BY BARRY GOTTEHRER
Lineman John Dell Isola and the Giants switched to basketball shoes for the second half of the “Sneakers Game,” giving them a huge edge over the Bears.
The Bears and Giants collided on the icy field at the Polo Grounds in the 1934 NFL Championship Game, forever known as the “Sneakers Game.” (Photo courtesy of WireImages)
Before the game, end Ray Flaherty told head coach Steve Owen that rubber-soled sneakers might provide better footing on the iced-over Polo Grounds surface. Locker-room attendant Abe Cohen was dispatched to Manhattan College to borrow some basketball shoes, since sporting-goods stores were closed on Sunday. At halftime, Cohen returned with several pairs of sneakers, and some of the Giants slipped them on. As the third quarter progressed, the rest of the team changed their footwear during breaks in the action.
The Bears upped their lead to 13-3 on another Manders field goal in the third period, but things began to turn around as the Giants moved the ball to the Bears’ 12. But Chicago’s Ed Kawal ended the threat by intercepting an Ed Danowski pass at the 4. Ken Strong returned the subsequent Bears punt to the Chicago 30, though, and the Giants were in business as the fourth quarter began.
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Danowski dropped back to pass and appeared to underthrow Dale Burnett in the end zone. Chicago’s Carl Brumbaugh got his hands on the ball at the 2, but end Ike Frankian wrestled it out of Brumbaugh’s arms for a 28-yard touchdown pass, drawing the Giants within three points of the Bears.
Soon, New York had the ball in Chicago territory again at the 42, and it was Ken Strong’s turn. This play offered convincing proof that the Giants were now in control. Strong took a direct snap as the entire Giants