The NFL’s First Playoff Game Was Played Indoors in a Hockey Arena

On December 18, 1932, with waist-deep snow and freezing weather in Chicago, the Bears moved their NFL Championship game against the Portsmouth, Ohio Spartans from Wrigley Field to the indoor facilities of the city’s NHL team. The league’s first playoff game – and the first contest played indoors – produced what an Ohio newspaper called a “fictitious battle on the kid’s grill.”

The Chicago stadium could only accommodate a field 60 meters long, 40 meters shorter than the regulations and 48 meters wide, five shorter than normal. The end zones were also condensed. Because a circus had recently taken place on the site, the teams played on a field made up of 400 tons of earth. Some circus remnants added an unmistakable scent to the range of oddities of the night.

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