|College All-Star Football Classic (defunct)|
|Chicago Charities College All-Star Game|
Program cover for 1941 game
|Stadium|| Soldier Field (1934–42, 1945–76)|
Dyche Stadium (1943–44)
|Location|| Chicago (1934–42, 1945–76)|
Evanston, Illinois (1943–44)
The Chicago Charities College All-Star Game was a preseason American football game played from 1934 to 1976 between the National Football League (NFL) champions and a team of star college seniors from the previous year. It was also known as the College All-Star Football Classic.
American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, and otherwise they turn over the football to the defense; if the offense succeeds in advancing ten yards or more, they are given a new set of four downs. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.
The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held in the first Sunday in February, and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.
College football is American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities. It was through college football play that American football rules first gained popularity in the United States.
The game was contested annually — except for 1974, due to that year's NFL strike — and was played in July, August, or September. The second game, played in 1935, involved the hometown Chicago Bears, runner-up of the 1934 season, instead of the defending champion New York Giants. The New York Jets played in the 1969 edition, although still an American Football League (AFL) team, as once the AFL-NFL Championship was introduced (including for the two seasons before the "Super Bowl" designation was officially adopted and the remaining two seasons before the AFL–NFL merger) the Super Bowl winner was the professional team involved, regardless of which league the team represented.
The 1934 NFL season was the 15th regular season of the National Football League. Before the season, the Portsmouth Spartans moved from Ohio to Detroit, Michigan, and were renamed the Detroit Lions.
The 1935 New York Giants season was the franchise's 11th season in the National Football League.
The game was the idea of Arch Ward, the sports editor of the Chicago Tribune and the driving force behind baseball's All-Star Game.The game originally was a benefit for Chicago-area charities and was always played at Soldier Field, with the exception of two years during World War II, 1943 and 1944, when it was held at Northwestern University's Dyche Stadium in Evanston.
Arch Ward was the sports editor for the Chicago Tribune and personal friend of the owner, Robert R. McCormick. He created the MLB All-Star Game, the All-America Football Conference (AAFC), the Golden Gloves amateur boxing tournament and the College All-Star Game. Ward was twice offered the job as commissioner of the National Football League. He later feuded with the owners of the league and started the AAFC. He was involved in conservative political causes and as well as the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. Ward was considered a dynamo with powerful contacts in American politics, church matters and journalism. In 1990, Thomas B. Littlewood wrote a biography of Arch titled "Arch: A Promoter Not a Poet- The Story of Arch Ward"
The Chicago Tribune is a daily newspaper based in Chicago, Illinois, United States, owned by Tribune Publishing. Founded in 1847, and formerly self-styled as the "World's Greatest Newspaper", it remains the most-read daily newspaper of the Chicago metropolitan area and the Great Lakes region. It is the eighth-largest newspaper in the United States by circulation.
Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization, the oldest of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 teams play in the National League (NL) and American League (AL), with 15 teams in each league. The NL and AL were formed as separate legal entities in 1876 and 1901 respectively. After cooperating but remaining legally separate entities beginning in 1903, the leagues merged into a single organization led by the Commissioner of Baseball in 2000. The organization also oversees Minor League Baseball, which comprises 256 teams affiliated with the Major League clubs. With the World Baseball Softball Confederation, MLB manages the international World Baseball Classic tournament.
The Chicago game was one of several "pro vs. rookie" college all-star games held across the United States in its early years (the 1939 season featured seven such games, all of which the NFL teams won in shutouts, and the season prior featured eight, with some of the collegiate players playing in multiple games). Chicago's game had the benefit of being the highest profile, with the NFL champions facing the best college graduates from across the country as opposed to the regional games that were held elsewhere. Because of this, the game survived far longer than its contemporaries.
The 1939 NFL season was the 20th regular season of the National Football League. Before the season, NFL president Joseph Carr died, and Carl Storck was named to replace him.
The 1938 NFL season was the 19th regular season of the National Football League. The season ended when the New York Giants defeated the Green Bay Packers in the NFL Championship Game.
The inaugural game in 1934, played before a crowd of 79,432 on August 31, was a scoreless tie between the all-stars and the Chicago Bears. The following year, in a game that included University of Michigan graduate and future president Gerald Ford, the Bears won 5–0. The first all-star team to win was the 1937 squad, coached by Gus Dorais, which won 6–0 over Curly Lambeau's Green Bay Packers. The only score came on a 47-yard touchdown pass from future Hall of Famer Sammy Baugh to Gaynell Tinsley.Baugh's Washington Redskins lost to the All-Stars the next year, but he did not play due to injury.
The Michigan Wolverines football program represents the University of Michigan in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision level. Michigan has the most all-time wins in college football history. The team is known for its distinctive winged helmet, its fight song, its record-breaking attendance figures at Michigan Stadium, and its many rivalries, particularly its annual, regular-season-ending game against Ohio State, once voted as ESPN's best sports rivalry.
Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. was an American politician who served as the 38th president of the United States from August 1974 to January 1977. Before his accession to the presidency, Ford served as the 40th vice president of the United States from December 1973 to August 1974. Ford is the only person to have served as both vice president and president without being elected to either office by the United States Electoral College.
Charles Emile "Gus" Dorais was an American football player, coach, and athletic administrator.
In the 1940s, the games were competitive affairs that attracted large crowds to Soldier Field. The college all-stars had the benefit of being fully integrated, since the NFL's league-wide color barrier did not apply to the squad, meaning black players such as Kenny Washington (who played in the 1940 contest) were allowed to play in the game. As the talent level of pro football improved (and the NFL itself integrated), the pros came to dominate the series.
Kenneth S. "Kenny" Washington was a professional football player who was the first African-American to sign a contract with a National Football League team in the modern era.
The qualifying criteria for the College All-Star squad was loose, as the 1945 game featured Tom Harmon, who had begun his professional career in 1941 but had been interrupted by military service.The all-stars last won consecutive games in 1946 and 1947, and won only four of the final 29 games. The Philadelphia Eagles fell in 1950, the Cleveland Browns in 1955, and the Detroit Lions in 1958. The last all-star win came in 1963, when a college team coached by legendary quarterback Otto Graham beat Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers, 20–17.
In 1949, Ward, who by this time had founded the competing All-America Football Conference, attempted to have that league's champion - the perennially winning Browns - play that year's game instead of the NFL champion, but after the NFL threatened legal action, the Tribune board overruled Ward and renewed its agreement with the NFL.
By the late 1960s and early 1970s, enthusiasm for the game started to erode as NFL coaches had become increasingly reluctant to let their new draftees play in the exhibition due to their being forced miss part of training camp, and their draftees being at considerable risk for injury; as early as 1949, these concerns had been raised after Dick Rifenburg suffered a serious knee injury practicing for the game, effectively ending his professional career before it began, and prompting Rifenburg's move into broadcasting.
A player's strike forced the cancellation of the 1974 game. Although the league went forward with the rest of its preseason, they needed access to as many rookies as possible for replacement players to replace the striking veterans and players who defected to the World Football League, leaving the unable to spare any to play the college all-stars.
The league itself was withdrawing from competition against teams that were not members of the league at this time. The College All-Star Game was the last ever contest in which an NFL team played a team from outside the league, with only two other games, a 1969 match against a Continental Football League team and a 1972 split-squad match against a Seaboard Football League team, both major blowout wins for the NFL teams, being played in this time frame.
The final game took place in 1976 during a torrential downpour at Soldier Field on July 23.Despite featuring stars such as Chuck Muncie, Mike Pruitt, Lee Roy Selmon, and Jackie Slater, the all-stars were hopelessly outmatched by the Pittsburgh Steelers, winners of Super Bowl X. The star quarterback for the College All-Stars was Steeler draft pick Mike Kruczek out of Boston College.
With 1:22 remaining in the third quarter and the Steelers leading 24–0, high winds and lightning prompted all-stars coach Ara Parseghian to call for a time out. Fans subsequently invaded the field and began sliding on the turf, and with the rain continuing to fall heavily, the officials ordered both teams to their locker rooms.
Despite the efforts of officials, security and Chicago Police, all attempts to clear the field failed, and a group of drunk fans tore down the goalposts at the southern end of the stadium. However, by this time, the torrential rain had left parts of the field under 18 inches of water, meaning it would have been unplayable in any event.
At 11:01pm, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle and the Tribune announced that the game had been called. The news was greeted with jeers, and numerous brawls broke out on the flooded field before order was finally restored. Joe Washington of Oklahoma was selected MVP of the final College All-Star game.
While Chicago Tribune Charities had every intention of staging a 1977 game, a combination of NFL coaches being increasingly unwilling to let their high draft picks play, rising insurance costs and higher player salaries meant the game was no longer viable. The Tribune announced on December 21, 1976, that the game would be discontinued.
In the 42 College All-Star Games, the defending pro champions won 31, the All-Stars won nine, and two were ties, giving the collegians a .238 winning percentage.
One aspect of the College All-Star Game was later revived: the concept of the league champion playing in the first game of the season was adopted in 2004 with the National Football League Kickoff game. Since then, the first game of the regular season is hosted by the defending Super Bowl champion.
The game raised over $4 million for charity over the course of its 42-game run.
All games played at Soldier Field in Chicago, except for the 1943 and 1944 games, which were played at Dyche Stadium in Evanston, Illinois.
|Year||Date||Winning team||Losing team||Attendance||Series|
|1934||August 31||College All-Stars||0||Chicago Bears||0||79,432||Tied 0–0–1|
|1935||August 29||Chicago Bears||5||College All-Stars||0||77,450||NFL 1–0–1|
|1936||September 2||College All-Stars||7||Detroit Lions||7||76,000||NFL 1–0–2|
|1937||September 1||College All-Stars||6||Green Bay Packers||0||84,560||Tied 1–1–2|
|1938||August 31||College All-Stars||28||Washington Redskins||16||74,250||Colleges 2–1–2|
|1939||August 30||New York Giants||9||College All-Stars||0||81,456||Tied 2–2–2|
|1940||August 29||Green Bay Packers||45||College All-Stars||28||84,567||NFL 3–2–2|
|1941||August 28||Chicago Bears||37||College All-Stars||13||98,203||NFL 4–2–2|
|1942||August 28||Chicago Bears||21||College All-Stars||0||101,103||NFL 5–2–2|
|1943||August 28||College All-Stars||27||Washington Redskins||7||48,437||NFL 5–3–2|
|1944||August 30||Chicago Bears||24||College All-Stars||21||49,246||NFL 6–3–2|
|1945||August 30||Green Bay Packers||19||College All-Stars||7||92,753||NFL 7–3–2|
|1946||August 23||College All-Stars||16||Los Angeles Rams||0||97,380||NFL 7–4–2|
|1947||August 22||College All-Stars||16||Chicago Bears||0||105,840||NFL 7–5–2|
|1948||August 22||Chicago Cardinals||28||College All-Stars||0||101,220||NFL 8–5–2|
|1949||August 22||Philadelphia Eagles||38||College All-Stars||0||93,780||NFL 9–5–2|
|1950||August 11||College All-Stars||17||Philadelphia Eagles||7||88,885||NFL 9–6–2|
|1951||August 17||Cleveland Browns||33||College All-Stars||0||92,180||NFL 10–6–2|
|1952||August 15||Los Angeles Rams||10||College All-Stars||7||88,316||NFL 11–6–2|
|1953||August 14||Detroit Lions||24||College All-Stars||10||93,818||NFL 12–6–2|
|1954||August 13||Detroit Lions||31||College All-Stars||6||93,470||NFL 13–6–2|
|1955||August 12||College All-Stars||30||Cleveland Browns||27||75,000||NFL 13–7–2|
|1956||August 10||Cleveland Browns||26||College All-Stars||0||75,000||NFL 14–7–2|
|1957||August 9||New York Giants||22||College All-Stars||12||75,000||NFL 15–7–2|
|1958||August 15||College All-Stars||35||Detroit Lions||19||70,000||NFL 15–8–2|
|1959||August 14||Baltimore Colts||29||College All-Stars||0||70,000||NFL 16–8–2|
|1960||August 12||Baltimore Colts||32||College All-Stars||7||70,000||NFL 17–8–2|
|1961||August 4||Philadelphia Eagles||28||College All-Stars||14||66,000||NFL 18–8–2|
|1962||August 3||Green Bay Packers||42||College All-Stars||20||65,000||NFL 19–8–2|
|1963||August 2||College All-Stars||20||Green Bay Packers||17||65,000||NFL 19–9–2|
|1964||August 7||Chicago Bears||28||College All-Stars||17||65,000||NFL 20–9–2|
|1965||August 6||Cleveland Browns||24||College All-Stars||16||68,000||NFL 21–9–2|
|1966||August 5||Green Bay Packers||38||College All-Stars||0||72,000||NFL 22–9–2|
|1967||August 4||Green Bay Packers||27||College All-Stars||0||70,934||NFL 23–9–2|
|1968||August 2||Green Bay Packers||34||College All-Stars||17||69,917||NFL 24–9–2|
|1969||August 1||New York Jets||26||College All-Stars||24||74,208||NFL 25–9–2|
|1970||July 31||Kansas City Chiefs||24||College All-Stars||3||69,940||NFL 26–9–2|
|1971||July 30||Baltimore Colts||24||College All-Stars||17||52,289||NFL 27–9–2|
|1972||July 28||Dallas Cowboys||20||College All-Stars||7||54,162||NFL 28–9–2|
|1973||July 27||Miami Dolphins||14||College All-Stars||3||54,103||NFL 29–9–2|
|1974||July 26||Canceled due to 1974 NFL strike |
Game was originally scheduled between the Miami Dolphins and College All-Stars
|1975||August 1||Pittsburgh Steelers||21||College All-Stars||14||54,562||NFL 30–9–2|
|1976||July 23 1||Pittsburgh Steelers||24||College All-Stars||0||52,095||NFL 31–9–2|
1Game was called with 1:22 left in 3rd quarter because of lightning storm and torrential rain.
Listed by number of appearances
|Green Bay Packers||8||6||2||0||.750||1940, 1945, 1962,|
1966, 1967, 1968
|Chicago Bears||7||5||1||1||.786||1935, 1941,|
1942, 1944, 1964
|Cleveland Browns||4||3||1||0||.750||1951, 1956, 1965||1955|
|Detroit Lions||4||2||1||1||.625||1953, 1954||1936, 1958|
|Baltimore Colts||3||3||0||0||1.000||1959, 1960, 1971|
|Philadelphia Eagles||3||2||1||0||.667||1949, 1961||1950|
|New York Giants||2||2||0||0||1.000||1939, 1957|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||2||2||0||0||1.000||1975, 1976|
|Los Angeles Rams||2||1||1||0||.500||1952||1946|
|Washington Redskins||2||0||2||0||.000||1938, 1943|
|New York Jets||1||1||0||0||1.000||1969|
|Kansas City Chiefs||1||1||0||0||1.000||1970|
The Most Valuable Player award was given from 1938 through 1973 and was always awarded to a player on the College All-Stars
|1938||Cecil Isbell||Running back||Purdue|
|1939||Bill Osmanski||Running back||Holy Cross|
|1940||Ambrose Schindler||Running back||USC|
|1941||George Franck||Running back||Minnesota|
|1942||Bruce Smith||Running back||Minnesota|
|1943||Pat Harder||Running back||Wisconsin|
|1944||Glenn Dobbs||Running back||Tulsa|
|1946||Elroy Hirsch||Running back||Wisconsin|
|1947||Claude Young||Running back||Illinois|
|1948||Jay Rodemeyer||Running back||Kentucky|
|1949||Bill Fischer||Offensive lineman||Notre Dame|
|1950||Charlie Justice||Running back||North Carolina|
|1954||Carlton Massey||Defensive end||Texas|
|1955||Ralph Guglielmi||Quarterback||Notre Dame|
|1958||Bobby Mitchell||Halfback/Wide receiver||Illinois|
|Jim Ninowski||Quarterback||Michigan State|
|1959||Bob Ptacek||Running back||Michigan|
|1963||Ron Vander Kelen||Quarterback||Wisconsin|
|1964||Charley Taylor||Wide receiver||Arizona State|
|1965||John Huarte||Quarterback||Notre Dame|
|1967||Charles "Bubba" Smith||Defensive end||Michigan State|
|1968||Larry Csonka||Running back||Syracuse|
|1970||Bruce Taylor||Defensive back||Boston University|
|1971||Richard Harris||Defensive end||Grambling State|
|1973||Ray Guy||Punter||Southern Mississippi|
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