1940 NFL season

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1940 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 8 – December 8, 1940
East Champions Washington Redskins
West Champions Chicago Bears
Championship Game
Champions Chicago Bears

The 1940 NFL season was the 21st regular season of the National Football League. The season ended when the Chicago Bears defeated the Washington Redskins in the NFL Championship Game, 73–0. This game still stands as the most one-sided victory in NFL history. The Pittsburgh Pirates were renamed the Pittsburgh Steelers before the 1940 season.

Major rule changes

  • The penalty for a forward pass not from scrimmage is 5 yards.
  • Penalties for fouls that occur prior to a pass or kick from behind the line of scrimmage are enforced from the previous spot. However, penalties for fouls during a free ball or when the offensive team fouls behind their line are enforced from the spot of the foul.
  • Fouls enforced in the field of play cannot penalize the ball more than half the distance to the offender's goal line.
  • If the offensive team commits pass interference in their opponent's end zone, the defense has the choice of 15 yards from the previous spot and a loss of down, or a touchback.

Final standings

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

Eastern Division
Washington Redskins 9 2 0 .818 245 142
Brooklyn Dodgers 8 3 0 .727 186 120
New York Giants 6 4 1 .600 131 133
Pittsburgh Steelers 2 7 2 .222 60 178
Philadelphia Eagles 1 10 0 .091 111 211
Western Division
Chicago Bears 8 3 0 .727 238 152
Green Bay Packers 6 4 1 .600 238 155
Detroit Lions 5 5 1 .500 138 153
Cleveland Rams 4 6 1 .400 171 191
Chicago Cardinals 2 7 2 .222 139 222

NFL Championship Game

Chi. Bears 73, Washington 0, at Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C., December 8, 1940


Joe F. Carr Trophy (Most Valuable Player)   Ace Parker, Halfback, Brooklyn

League leaders

Statistic Name Team Yards
Passing Sammy Baugh Washington 1367
Rushing Whizzer White Detroit 514
Receiving Don Looney Philadelphia 707


The 1940 NFL Draft was held on December 9, 1939 at Milwaukee's Schroeder Hotel. With the first pick, the Chicago Cardinals selected halfback George Cafego from the University of Tennessee.


Eastern Division

Western Division


  • NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 1-932994-36-X)
  • NFL History 1931–1940 (Last accessed December 4, 2005)
  • Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (ISBN 0-06-270174-6)
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