Why is the NFC championship trophy named after George Halas?
On Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles will fight it out to lift the George Halas Trophy in the 2022 NFC Championship Game.
One of the pioneers of professional football in the early 20th century, George Halas is a legendary figure who helped make the NFL what it is today.
An NFL Hall of Famer
Nicknamed “Papa Bear” and “Mr. Everything”, Halas was the founder and longtime owner of the Chicago Bears, serving from the team’s inception in 1919 until his death in 1983. He also had four spells as the Bears’ head coach. In 1963, he became one of the first 17 inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The NFC awards a trophy to their conference champion, named after Halas, as he was a charter member of the league. This means that whoever wins the Sunday’s game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles will be awarded the George Halas Trophy as the NFC conference champions.
The AFC, on the other hand, awards the Lamar Hunt Trophy to whoever wins the conference; as in 2021, it will this year go to the winners of a conference decider that pits the Cincinnati Bengals against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Halas’ key role in boosting football’s popularity
Halas found the first professional football star in Harold “Red” Grange, and took the Bears and Grange on a coast-to-coast tour to market football as more than just a college sport.
He brought the largest crowd to see a professional football game at the time when he had the Bears play the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds, with more than 65,000 spectators watching. And while the tour only spanned 17 days, it went from New York to California, and included a total of eight games in 12 days.
Vince Lombardi Trophy
The Super Bowl trophy, meanwhile, is named after Vince Lombardi, who was also a legendary figure in the NFL. Lombardi was one of the greatest coaches in NFL history, leading the Green Bay Packers to back-to-back-to-back championships, including the first two official Super Bowls in the 1966 and 1967 seasons.
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