Mind Over Sports

WHAT IS THE REAL STORY BEHIND THE CHICAGO BEARS’ ROUTE OF THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS BACK IN THE 1940 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME?

Posted on: May 28, 2013

I recently received a nice e-mail from Mike Thomas who works for RankPop that features “Greatest Moments in Chicago Sports History” and because of that e-mail I thought I would reprint a story I wrote some time ago about the Bears’ lopsided win over the Redskins. Here it is:

NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Sammy Baugh suspects the 1940 NFL championship game – a 73-0 route by the Chicago Bears – was not what it seemed. Baugh believes some of his Washington Redskin teammates tried to lose as a way to spite the Redskin’s owner. Baugh, when he turned 85, said that his teammates were furious with Redskins owner George Preston Marshall and allowed the Bears to run up the score. Baugh acknowledged he had no proof and said he never came forward because he was never asked. Baugh said some of his teammates were upset with Marshall because he had taunted the Bears after Washington defeated Chicago 7-3 two weeks before the title game. “I think it happened because of what the owner did for two weeks,” Baugh said. “He put things in the paper running the Bears down. You don’t want to help the other team. You shouldn’t say things like that. It made us so mad. They decided not to play. Look at the game. How many times do you beat a team two weeks earlier in a real close game, and two weeks later you don’t do a thing? I don’t think we even wanted to win.”

There’s a good lesson to be learned from this story, assuming it’s true. And that is, when it comes to professional sports, team owners should remain quietly in the background and not provide opposing teams with bulletin board material. It could not only provide motivation for the opposing team but can also affect the performance of his (or her) own team.

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