August 23, 2020

NFL 1963 season, map with helmets/jerseys & final standings + offensive stats leaders; champions: Chicago Bears.

Filed under: NFL>1963 map/season,NFL/ Gridiron Football,Retro maps — admin @ 9:50 am

NFL 1963 season, map with helmets/jerseys & final standings + offensive stats leaders; champions: Chicago Bears

By Bill Turianski on the 23rd of August 2020;
-1963 NFL season
-1963 NFL Championship Game (
-1963 NFL season (

-The Chicago Bears win the 1963 NFL Championship (by Larry Kart at

1963 NFL title game: Chicago Bears 14, New York Giants 10 (Bears win their 8th title, and their first title in 17 years)…
The 1963 NFL Championship Game (December 29 1963) was played at Wrigley Field, with a full house of 45,801 on hand, despite the windy and freezing 8°F temperature [-13° Celsius].

The game pitted the NFL’s best offense (the Giants) against the league’s best defense (the Bears).

The 1963 Chicago Bears defense had conceded a then-record low of only 10.2 points-per-game, and finished 11-1-2 to win the Western Conference. Two of the Bears’ eleven wins came against the defending champions, Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers, and the Bears ended up beating out the Packers for the Western title by just half a game (the Packers finished 11-2-1). The heart of the Bears’ crushing defense was their linebacker trio of Bill George (MLB), Larry Morris, and Joe Fortunato.

The 1963 New York Giants, who finished 11-3, also narrowly won their conference, over-taking and eventually edging out the Cleveland Browns by one game, for the Eastern title. The ’63 Giants were an explosive offensive juggernaut, led by veteran QB YA Tittle and a host of scoring threats, including Del Shofner (End) and Phil King (HB). YA Tittle had won the NFL’s 1963 Most Valuable Player award: Tittle had thrown for 36 TD passes for the Giants that year (setting an NFL record).

The Bears won the 1963 NFL title game by wearing down the Giants’ vaunted offense. YA Tittle took so many hits from the blitzing Bears defense that he was nullified. The Bears made 5 interceptions, two of which set up both of their touchdowns. Both of the turnovers which led to the Bears’ TDs were pick-offs from screen passes. Tittle had not given up a screen-pass-interception in all of the 1963 regular season, but in the title game that year he was picked off on screens twice by the Bears. And that was what decided it.

The Giants took an early 7-0 lead, and were clicking well on offense despite the icy conditions. So the Bears switched tactics and started blitzing. Late in the first quarter, Bears LB Larry Morris hit Tittle’s left knee with his helmet as the quarterback threw. The injured Tittle was much less effective for the rest of the game. Near the end of the 1st quarter, Larry Morris intercepted a Tittle screen pass, and returned the ball 61 yards to the Giants 6-yard line. Two plays later, Bears QB Billy Wade scored a touchdown on a two-yard quarterback sneak, to even the score at 7-7. Then 9:49 into the 2nd quarter, New York retook the lead, 10–7, on a 13-yard FG. But on the Giants’ next drive, Tittle hurt his left knee again, from another hit by Morris. Backup rookie QB Glynn Griffing replaced Tittle, to little effect. The score stayed 10-7 Giants at halftime.

In the 3rd quarter, Tittle was back in, shored up by novocaine and cortisone and heavy bandages. But Tittle could not throw off his bad foot, and his passing was erratic. This led to the second screen pass intercepted by the Bears. Late in the 3rd quarter, on the Giants’ own 35-yard-line, Tittle tried to float a screen pass as the Bears blitzed. But Bears DE Ed O’Bradovich anticipated the pass, intercepted, and ran 10 yards to the Giants’ 14. Three plays later, Billy Wade hit TE Mike Ditka for a quick toss that Ditka bulled to the 1 yard line. Then Wade pulled off his second QB-sneak, for a 1-yard-TD, and the Bears led 14-10. That score held, and LB Larry Morris was named the MVP of the game.

And the Bears had won their first NFL title in 17 years, and their 8th NFL title overall. And the New York Giants had thus lost 5 NFL title games in 6 years (and would not win another NFL title until the 1984 season). It was another 22 years until the Bears won another NFL title (in the 1985 season).

Photo and Image credits above -
Aerial shot of Wrigley Field for the 1963 NFL Championship Game: photo unattributed at[@OTBaseballPhoto]. Screenshot of Bears QB Billy Wade and Bears owner/head coach George Halas, from video uploaded by Classic Sports Pictures at Larry Morris, 1964 Kahns trading card via Bears linebacker Larry Morris returns interception 61 yards, screenshot from video uploaded by Classic Sports Pictures at Larry Morris upends Giants RB Joe Morrison, photo unattributed at Bears DE Doug Atkins (#81), LB Larry Morris (#33) and LB Joe Fortunato (#31) blitz Giants QB YA Tittle: photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images via Interception on a screen pass by Bears DE Ed O’Bradovich (#87), photo unattributed at QB Bily Wade’s title-winning 1-yard TD run, photo from George Halas in the final minutes of the game, photo unattributed at[@sigg20].

Bears players on map page,
Reproduction of early-1960s Chicago Bears helmet, photo from Segment of NFL-logo-themed playing cards [from 1964], from Billy Wade [photo circa 1964], photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images via Mike Ditka [photo from 1963], photo by Malcolm Evans/USA Today via Mike Ditka [action-photo circa 1963], unattributed at Joe Marconi [photo circa 1963], unattributed at Johnny Morris [1964 Philadelphia card], from Stan Jones [photo circa 1964], unattributed at Doug Atkins [photo circa 1963], unattributed at Joe Fortunato [1964 Philadelphia card], from Bill George [photo circa 1963], photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images via Rosey Taylor [photo circa 1963], unattributed at Richie Petitbon [1963 Topps card], from

Offensive stats leaders on map page,
YA Tittle (Giants) [photo circa 1962], unattributed at
Johnny Unitas (Colts) [photo from 1963], photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images at
Jim Brown (Browns) [photo circa 1965], unattributed at
Bobby Mitchell (Washington) [photo circa 1963], unattributed at
Terry Barr (Lions) [photo circa 1964], unattributed at

Thanks to all at the following links…

-Blank map by anonymous US federal government employee, at File:StatesU.svg (
-Thanks to the contributors at
-Thanks to the contributors at NFL 1963 season (
Special thanks to Tim Brulia, Bill Schaefer and Rob Holecko of The Gridiron Uniform Database, for giving the permission to use football uniforms illustrations from Gridiron Uniform Database {GUD}.

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