HOF Artifact of the Week


This week's featured artifact is the game-used football from the Philadelphia Eagles’ 1948 Championship Game victory over the Chicago Cardinals (Final Score 7-0). The game was played on December 19, 1948 in a Philadelphia blizzard and it was the Eagles’ first NFL Championship. Running back and future Hall of Famer Steve Van Buren starred for the Eagles in 1948, but he almost missed the big game. The morning of the 1948 NFL Championship Game, Van Buren slept in thinking the game would be cancelled due to the blizzard. Philadelphia Eagles head coach and Class of 1969 Hall of Famer Earl Greasy Neale had to call him to tell him that the game was not cancelled.  

Due to the heavy snow, the Eagles offered any fan free tickets to the game if they came with a snow shovel and helped remove the snow. The snow was so heavy that the grounds crew could not remove the field tarp and both teams had to help drag it off the field.

Unfortunately for Van Buren, he couldn’t get his car out of his driveway due to the snow. He was forced to take a bus, then a train and finally the subway which transported to him to within six blocks of the Shibe Park. For the final six blocks, Van Buren had to walk through the snow. Fortunately for the Eagles, Van Buren made it on time and scored the game’s only touchdown. In the jubilation of winning their first championship, Eagles fans stormed the field and carried Van Buren off on their shoulders. After the game, the unassuming Van Buren still did not have his car nearby and had to walk six blocks to take public transportation back home.

Our weekly artifacts and other unique items are featured daily in our docent presentations for visitors of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Plan your visit to the Hall to learn more about the collection in our archives.