Tag Archives: 1945 NFL Championship

This Pins the 1945 Cleveland Rams As NFL Champs

Rams pin

Press pin from the 1945 NFL Championship Game, which the Cleveland Rams won over the Washington Redskins, 15-14. (Courtesy Donald Gries Collection)

It may not be the Lombardi Trophy, but seventy years ago this was about as close as you got to NFL-championship swag and bling. This is a press pin issued by the Cleveland Rams, who won the 1945 NFL Championship Game over the Washington Redskins in a near-zero-degree nail-biter at Cleveland Stadium.

The pin belongs to Donald Gries, who is an avid collector of Rams (and Cleveland Browns) memorabilia who also happens to be a grandson of founding Rams owner Robert H. Gries. Don generously provided me access to his collection as background for my forthcoming book about the Rams.

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But For the Snow and Cold, the Cleveland Rams’ 1945 Title Game Could’ve Been a Record-Breaker

Rams sideline 1945 championship game

Cleveland Rams bundle up under parkas and straw, otherwise used to insulate the Cleveland Stadium playing field, during the 1945 NFL title game. (Photo courtesy NFL / Pro Football Hall of Fame.)

In the days leading up to the epic Cleveland Rams-Washington Redskins 1945 NFL
Championship Game, the pundits were widely agreed: Attendance would be a record-breaker, well surpassing the headcount for the league’s dozen previous playoff games. And why not. The league’s popularity was surging, servicemen were coming home, America was ready for some entertainment, and the game would be played in 80,000-seat Cleveland Stadium.

Then a funny thing happened: Cleveland weather.

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Untold Tales of “Waterbuckets” Waterfield and “Jimmy” Gillette of the Cleveland Rams

Rams foursome

Celebrating Cleveland Rams after their 1945 NFL Championship Game victory over the Washington Redskins (left to right): halfback Jim Gillette, quarterback Bob Waterfield, end Jim Benton, and head coach Adam Walsh. (Photo courtesy the Cleveland Press Collection at Cleveland State University.)

Amazing what types of stories you can uncover by sitting down to talk with those who loved
and remember players from the Cleveland Rams.

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Rare Video of the 1945 Cleveland Rams

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 6.56.53 AMDid you know the Rams won the 1945 NFL Championship two months before departing Cleveland for L.A.? If so, you’re in the vast minority. I still recall asking numerous St. Louisans in the mid-1990s, shortly after Georgia Frontiere moved the Rams there, where their team had originated. To a man (and woman) they said “Los Angeles.”

Wrong. If you’re going to have an NFL franchise, know its history.

As a modest step toward setting the historical record straight, here’s vivid archival evidence of that Rams championship, won 15-14 in the frigid cold of Cleveland Municipal Stadium on December 16, 1945. To this day the Cleveland Rams remain the only NFL champions ever to play the following season in a different city.

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