1935 NFL season

Last updated
1935 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 13 – December 15, 1935
East Champions New York Giants
West Champions Detroit Lions
Championship Game
Champions Detroit Lions

The 1935 NFL season was the 16th regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with the Detroit Lions' 26–7 victory over the New York Giants in the NFL Championship Game.


Were it not for the cancellation of a Redskins-Eagles game on Nov. 17 due to heavy snow, all of the teams would have played 12 games, which would have made 1935 the first season in which all NFL teams played the same number of games. The standardization of the league's schedule was formalized the following year and has continued ever since, with the number of games being slowly increased to sixteen by 1978, and seventeen by 2021.

Major rule changes

This width lasted for ten seasons, through 1944. The hashmarks were moved to 20 yards from the sidelines (40 feet apart) in 1945, which lasted for 27 seasons. They were moved in to the width of the goalposts (18½ feet) in 1972. [1]

Division races

In the Eastern Division, the key game took place on Thanksgiving Day at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, as the 5–4 Dodgers hosted the 6–3 Giants. A Brooklyn win would have tied the teams at 6–4, but New York won, 21–0, and went on to victories in their remaining two games to win the division championship comfortably at 9–3.

In the Western Division, all 4 teams were in a close race. On Thanksgiving Day the Lions defeated the Bears 14-2 while the Cardinals won over the Packers 9-7, leaving the Lions at 6–3–2 and the Cardinals at 6–3–1. Three days later on December 1, the Lions defeated Brooklyn 28–0, while the Cardinals tied the Bears 7–7. With this win, Detroit finished its season at 7–3–2 and eliminated the Packers and Bears from contention, while the Cardinals stood at 6–3–2 with another game against the Bears coming up on December 8. The Cardinals would need to win in order to force a playoff for the division title. However, the Bears won 13–0, and the Lions were the division champs.

Had the current (post-1972) system of counting ties as half a win and half a loss been in place in 1935, the Packers at 8-4-0 would have tied the 7-3-2 Lions for the Western Division title, requiring a playoff game. However, ties were not then counted in the standings, so the Lions won the division with a .700 win percentage to Green Bay's .667.

Final standings

NFL Championship Game

Detroit 26, N.Y. Giants 7, at University of Detroit Stadium, in Detroit, Michigan, on December 15.

League leaders

Passing Ed Danowski New York794
Rushing Doug Russell Chicago Cardinals499
Receiving Charley Malone Boston433

Coaching changes

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  1. "Owners give offense big seven-yard boost". Rome News-Tribune. Georgia. Associated Press. March 24, 1972. p. 6A.