1939 Packers-Giants Championship Game At State Fair Park

Many Green Bay Packers fans in the State of Wisconsin and across the nation eagerly await the National Football Conference (NFC) championship game against the New York Giants Sunday, January 20th. This match up features two pillar franchises of the National Football League. The Packers with their 12 championship rank number one with the most championships with the Giants? six championships ranked third. This will be the fifth time the two franchises will be playing in a championship game. The Packers have won four consecutive postseason games against the Giants. If the Packers win on Sunday, they will tie the NFL record of five, set by the Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Colts).

One of the most memorable championship games is one played at Wisconsin State Fair Park within the historic one-mile oval of the Milwaukee Mile. On December 10, 1939 the Packers played the Giants for the NFL Championship under blustery conditions with revenge on their mind.

The game was moved from Green Bay to Wisconsin State Fair Park for monetary reasons. The Packers could seat more spectators within the racetrack?s grandstand and wooden bleachers located on the east-side of the field.

The Packers had lost to the Giants in New York the year before in which many blamed a bad ruling on the field. Head Coach Curley Lambeau didn?t want to take any chances this time. With wind gusts from the north approaching 25-miles an hour, the two teams battled before a capacity crowd of over 32,000. With the arm of Arnie Herber, the speed of Don Hutson along with stars such as team captain Milt Gantenbein, Charlie Brock, Cecil Isbell, Joe Laws, Andy Uram, Eddie Jankowski the Packers dominated the majority of the game. However, early in the game, the Giants Jim Poole blocked Hinkle?s fourth down punt. In spite of this, the Giants weren?t able to capitalize when they missed a 45-yard field goal. Another Packer miscue occurred with the Packers threatening deep in Giants territory. The team from Gotham intercepted a pass but once again missed a field goal in the blustery conditions. The see-saw battle of turnovers continued when the Packers intercepted an Eddie Danowski pass. A first quarter touchdown pass from Herber to Gantenbein was the only scoring as the Packers led 7-0 at the halftime break.

Punting was tough in the wind throughout the game as both teams struggled with to improve field position. In the third quarter the Giants moved to ball deep in Packer territory only to be intercepted by the opportunistic Brock. Earlier Herber threw a touchdown pass to Laws and Packers later added a wind-aided field goal. Harry Jacunski assisted the victory with a 31-yard reception and later scored on a one-yard run in the fourth quarter. With the Packers well ahead Coach Lambeau substituted heavily late in the game. After the game Lambeau was quoted in the Wisconsin State Journal, ?The club played its best game of the year, it worked as a unit and you can?t pick out any individual player as a star.? Future Hall of Famer, Don Hutson said after the game, once the Packers scored their first touchdown, they know they would win, ?We were keyed up more for this game than any other. The line did the trick.?

The Packers played at Wisconsin State Fair Park from 1934 to 1951. The team moved to Marquette Stadium in 1952 and eventually to Milwaukee County Stadium.

The Milwaukee Mile will host the IndyCar Series stars one week after the 92nd Running of the Indianapolis 500. For more information on the IndyCar Series competing May 31-June 1 at The Milwaukee Mile, visit the speedway?s website, or call the Milwaukee Mile ticket office at (414) 453-8277.

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