The 1945 NFL season was the 26th regular season of the National Football League. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Cardinals resumed their traditional operations.
The Brooklyn Tigers and the Boston Yanks merged for this one season. The combined team, known simply as The Yanks, played four games at Boston's Fenway Park and one game at New York's Yankee Stadium (1923). After Brooklyn Tigers owner Dan Topping announced his intentions to join the new All-America Football Conference, his NFL team was immediately revoked after the season and all of its players were assigned to the Boston Yanks.
The season ended when the Cleveland Rams defeated the Washington Redskins in the NFL Championship Game.
Major rule changes
- The inbounds lines or hashmarks were moved closer to the center of the field, 20 yards from the sidelines.
- The player who extends his arms under the center must receive the snap or the offensive team will be penalized for a false start.
- When a snap is muffed by the receiving player and then touches the ground, it is legally a fumble.
- During an extra point attempt, the ball is spotted at the 2-yard line, but the offense may opt to have it be placed further from the goal line.
- After a kicked punt crosses the line of scrimmage, the kicking team may recover the ball if it touches a member of the receiving team before they control the ball themselves.
In the Eastern Division, the Yanks were still unbeaten (2–0–1) as of Week Four; at their only Yankee Stadium game (October 14), they had a 13–10 lead until the Giants tied them 13–13. In Week Five, the Yanks' 38–14 loss to Green Bay, put them at 2–1–1, tied with 2–1–0 Washington, while in the Western race, the Rams reached 4–0–0 after a 41–21 win over the Bears. In Week Six, halfway through the ten-game season, Boston and Washington both won, putting them even at 3–1–1 and 3–1–0. The Rams' 28–14 loss to the Eagles, along with wins by the Lions and Packers, tied all teams at 4–1–0 in the west. In Week Seven, the a blocked extra point attempt gave Detroit a 10–9 win at Boston, keeping the Lions tied with the Rams (5–1–0) for the Western lead, while taking the 3–2–1 Yanks to a game behind the 4–1–0 Redskins. In Week Nine, the Rams took the lead in the Western after a 35–21 win over the Cards, while the Lions lost 35–14 to the Giants.
In Week Ten, the 7–1 Rams and the 6–2 Lions met in Detroit's Thanksgiving Day game. For the Lions it was a must-win game, but they lost 28–21; at 8–1–0, the Rams clinched the division. Days later, the 5–2 Eagles hosted the 6–1 Redskins, and the Eagles' 16–0 win tied the teams at 6–2–0 in the Eastern race. The next week, however, the Eagles lost to the Giants 28–21, while the Redskins beat the Steelers 24–0. Washington's 17–0 win over the Giants the next week clinched its division.
W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT= Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against
Note: The NFL did not officially count tie games in the standings until 1972
NFL Championship Game
Cleveland 15, Washington 14, at Cleveland Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio, December 16, 1945