NFL CHAMPIONSHIP - Green Bay Packers (8-2) 14, New York Giants (8-1-1) 7
Sunday December 17th 1944 (at New York)
(NEW YORK) - The football championship of the world remained in the West today when Green Bay’s Packers matched the bruising might of the game’s greatest defense and conquered the New York Giants, 14 to 7. A sun bathed crowd of 46,016 saw the Packers win their sixth world’s championship and their third since the inception of the playoff series in 1932 with two touchdowns in the second period, then stave off a fighting Giant eleven in the second half. The Giants’ only score came on the first play of the fourth period on a 1-yard plunge by Ward Cuff. The Packers today were a team to be proud of. They accepted the challenge with relish and proceeded from the opening kickoff to outfight and outcharge the Giants. Joe Laws, almost as old as the Polo grounds, sparked an attack that featured Ted Fritsch, Paul Berezney, Charlie Brock and Larry Craig. And, of course, there was Don Hutson, who gets an assist on the game winning score. His deft faking pulled the experienced Mel Hein, Ward Cuff and rookie Howie Livingston out of position to permit the touchdown pass to Fritsch. On this day the Packers were high and vicious. They were playing for a championship and all that went with it. In money the victory meant $41,896.64 for them from the record players’ poll of $81,466.51. The Giants’ share was $27,931.91. In addition, the Packers’ reward includes the right to appear in the Chicago All-Star game next August, a contest in which they have made two appearances and have a .500 record. The story of the game is wrapped up in the statistics. Against the finest defensive team in football, one which went through a 10 game major league schedule on a yield of 75 points, including five shutouts, they piled up 162 yards rushing and only 73 passing. Nine of their 11 first downs were through New York’s vaunted line. Only 11 times did the Packers go to the air and they completed only three of these attempts. The rest of the time it was Laws, Comp, Fritsch, and (Paul) Duhart bolting through the holes where Packer linemen were bodily tossing Giants out of their way and scampering over the lunging figures of puzzled Giant secondary men. It was sweet revenge for the 24 to 0 thing perpetrated on the Western Division champions here some four weeks ago – and it was revenge with a sting.
The Packers began their first concerted drive midway in the first period when Comp took (Len) Younce’s punt back nine yards to the Packers’ 44-yard line. The first play was a pass, Comp to Hutson, who fooled the Giant defenders completely and Comp hit him expertly in the flat. But Hutson slipped after making the catch and slid out of bounds with a 22-yard gain. 
Comp’s protection miscued on the next pass and he
was hit from a blind side just as he let the ball go
and Younce intercepted the throw.
An exchange of punts ended the quarter and set up
the stage for the first Packer touchdown. On the
opening play of the second period, Laws broke
inside the Giants’ left tackle and bolted 21 yards to
the Giants’ 23-yard line. On the next play Fritsch
smashed his way through the same hole, broke into
the clear. At the 10-yard line he met Cuff head on,
bounced the Giant out of the path and kept going
until Livingston brought him down from behind on the
1-yard line. Laws slipped trying to score on first
down. Fritsch lost a yard and Laws was held for no
gain. After a time out, during which (Lou) Brock
replaced Laws, Fritsch charged straight ahead
behind (Charley) Brock, (Buckets) Goldenberg and (Bill) Kuusisto and went over. Hutson added the extra point. The Packers came back from this touchdown prepared for greater effort. They throttled the Giants completely, then in the final minutes got their own offense together for their second touchdown. After Laws returned Younce’s punt 11 yards to the Packers’ 38-yard line, Comp was dumped for a yard loss. Laws got back the yard and three more off tackle. Comp then whipped a 25-yard pass to Laws for a first down on the Giants’ 29-yard line. Fritsch bulled his way for three yards inside (Al) Blozis.
The next play found Hutson starting from right end and racing into the deep flat. He was in the clear, but the pass fell five yards behind him. The next play from all intents and purposes was identical. Hutson was in the clear to the right again and the Giants were following him attentively. Comp faked to the lanky end, then wheeled and passed to Fritsch on the other side. He took the ball on the 5 and dashed over. It was a gain of 26 yards and with Hutson’s successful kick gave the Packers a 14 to 0 lead. There was no letup in the Packers’ attack in the second half, but the Giants, who had been roundly rocked in the first half, fought back with more gusto and succeeded finally in making some headway offensively.
Arnie Herber, who was having some difficulty keeping Packer lineman out of his hair, finally got away a long pass on the last play of the period. Comp had end Frank Liebel covered perfectly on the 10-yard line, but as he reached to intercept, his feet went out from under him on the frozen turf and the ball sailed over him into Leibel’s arms. Fritsch finally hauled Liebel down on the 1-yard line as the quarter ended. Cuff smashed over center on the first play of the fourth quarter and Ken Strong kicked the extra point. Thereafter it was a dog fight, with the Giants providing the only sustained drive of the last quarter when they put together three first downs, two running and one passing, for a 38-yard advance before Duhart intercepted Herber’s pass. The Packers had the ball at the end of the game, having taken it on downs at midfield when the Giants tried a fourth down shovel pass maneuver, Herber to Cuff. It gained four yards but missed by three of being a first down.
GREEN BAY -  0 14  0  0 - 14
NEW YORK  -  0  0  0  7 -  7
2nd - GB - Fritsch, 1-yard run (Hutson kick) GREEN BAY 7-0
2nd - GB - Fritsch, 28-yard pass from Comp (Hutson kick) GREEN BAY 14-0
4th - NY - Ward Cuff, 1-yard run (Ken Strong kick) GREEN BAY 14-7
  Mostly it was the war. Patton was doing his end-run through Europe, the Marines were plunging across the Pacific, and long bombs were what the Air Force dropped on Berlin and Tokyo. Football — even a championship game — didn't seem all that important to most Americans. A diversion. No more. Moreover, many of the stars who might have lifted the 1944 NFL Championship Game out of the commonplace were wearing khaki. That made it hard to gauge the Packers and Giants. How would they have fared against some of the pre-war powerhouses? Not too well, most people agreed. Even the pairing was pedestrian. Baseball had been lucky. 1944 was the year the St. Louis Browns won a pennant, lending an aura of the unusual — even the bizarre — to the World Series. But the Packers and Giants? That was old news. The championship game ALWAYS had the Bears or Redskins or Packers or Giants. Was it an NFL rule? Four decades later, it takes a good trivia expert to recall which teams played in 1944. If he can remember who won, he gets an orange wedge. It's a shame really. The teams were actually pretty good, despite the loss of so many players to the military.
  The Packers had Hutson, of course. Irv Comp, the passer, was no Cecil Isbell but he could get the job done. Ted Fritsch made a first-rate fullback and Lou Brock could scamper. The line had big Baby Ray, Buckets Goldenberg, Charley Brock, and Larry Craig. They ran off six straight wins to start the season and then coasted home at 8-2-0. The Giants caught them relaxing four weeks before the end of the regular season and zapped them 24-0, then knocked off Washington twice in the final two games to nose out the Eagles and Redskins. A typical Steve Owen concoction, the New Yorkers played tough defense. During the season, they shutout half their opponents enroute to an 8-1-1 mark. Frank Cope, Al Blozis, Len Younce, and Mel Hein did the tough work in the line, and blond Bill Paschal was the league's best runner. In a "human interest" story, long-time Packer thrower Arnie Herber came out of retirement, paunchy and graying, to give New York its best passing in years.
  A large and loyal New York crowd of 46,016 showed up at the Polo Grounds on December 17. They hoped Paschal could still go despite an ankle injured in the final regular season game against the Redskins. They prayed Hutson could be held to some ordinary mortal stats by tough Giant double and triple-teaming.
They wanted a win. In the push-and-shove first quarter neither team gained an advantage. New York defenders covered Hutson like a coat of whitewash. That was the good news for Giant fans. The bad news was that Paschal's ankle made him nearly immobile. About all he could do in the backfield was act as a decoy. Early in the second quarter, Green Bay gained decent field position with a punt return to the New York 48. On first down, eleven-year veteran Joe Laws slashed through the line for 20 yards. Before the Giants got their bearings, 210-pound Ted Fritsch rumbled for 27 more to put the ball at the one. New York's tough defense stiffened and held off the Packers for three downs, but on the fourth Fritsch smashed over behind Goldenberg's block for a touchdown. Hutson kicked the PAT and Green Bay led 7-0. New York still couldn't get any offense going. Late in the second period the Packers started another drive at their own 38. On third and three, Hutson worked clear of the Giant defenders and Comp hit him for a 24-yard gain to the New York 30. Three downs gained only two yards and only a little over a minute remained in the half. Everyone in the Polo Grounds knew it was "Hutson time."
  At the snap Hutson moved to the right and virtually every Giant on the field (and probably some on the bench) moved with him like a herd of lemmings. Meanwhile, Ted Fritsch strolled through the line, looking for all the world like a guy out on his Sunday constitutional. None of the New Yorkers paid him a mind. He would have had to have insulted their mothers to get a glance. Everyone was after Hutson. But once he was past the line of scrimmage, Ted put on speed and for a big guy he could motor pretty well. When Comp finally launched his pass, it wasn't to Hutson loping through a Giant team meeting to the right. Instead it went straight down the middle to Fritsch, the lonely guy at the five. Once Ted clutched the ball he could have sung two choruses of the Packer fight song and still walked over the goal line before any Giant could have caught up with him. Hutson kicked the extra point to put the score at 14-0, but he deserved credit for the touchdown too.
  Down by two TDs as the second half began, the Giants had to pass and Green Bay knew it. Old friend Arnie Herber was playing against a stacked deck and a couple of his tosses were picked off — Joe Laws had three interceptions on the day — but he kept pitching. With Paschal unable to run, there wasn't much else in the New York arsenal. Late in the third stanza, Arnie hoisted a long one to Frank Liebel for 41 yards to take ball to the Packer one. Another ex-Wisconsinite, Marquette's Ward Cuff, smacked over for the score on the first play of the final quarter. Ward had spent eight years as a New York wingback, but he took this one in from tailback-one of those little adjustments necessitated by Paschal's injury. Ken Strong,who'd been kicking since Walter Camp was around, knocked the football through the uprights to make the score 14-7. Giant fans screamed for just one more big pass from Herber's ancient arm. Arnie did his best to accommodate them. A final desperation drive late in the period was going pretty well. But suddenly Green Bay's Paul Duhart was in the right spot at the right time — the Packer 20 just as a Herber heave descended on that spot. It was Green Bay's fourth interception and New York's last gasp.
  All things considered, it wasn't a bad game. It broke all play-off game records financially with a gross gate of $146,205.15 and a net gate after taxes of $121,703. Each Packer got $1,449.71; each Giant $814.36. There was lots of great defense and a couple of big plays. It almost had a great comeback, and it did have some human interest in Arnie Herber versus his old team. It was Al Blozis' last game. It even had one of those screwy twists people like to remember — the biggest offensive threats for both teams, Hutson and Paschal, were used almost exclusively as decoys. But you never hear fans fondly reminiscing about the "Decoy Game." Instead it's "Who played?" "Who won?" "Who cares?" Fans forget a lot of games, of course, even championships, but — if such a thing could be measured — this one would win the cup as least remembered. And they'd probably forget to inscribe it. Mostly it was the war.