|Duration||September 30 -|
December 23, 1956
|East Champions||New York Giants|
|West Champions||Chicago Bears|
|Champions||New York Giants|
The Lions and the Cardinals had both finished 1955 poorly, 3-9 and 4-7-1, but both got off to fast starts in 1956. Both ended up finishing second in the Conference races.
The Chicago Cardinals got off to their best start ever, going 4-0, until the Redskins beat them 17-14 on October 28. At the midway point, they and the Giants had 5-1 records. In the Western Conference, the Detroit Lions roared to a 6-0 start. In Week Seven (November 11), the Giants pulled ahead with a 23-10 win over the Cards. In Washington, the Lions finally lost. Trapped on his own 1-yard line, Yale Lary took a safety in order to get a free kick. That, and Sam Baker's field goal, gave the Redskins an 18-10 lead to put the game out of reach, and the Lions lost 18-17. The Bears, who had dropped their opener at Baltimore, 28-21, beat Green Bay 38-14 for their sixth straight game, matching Detroit's 6-1 record.
In Week Nine, the Lions dropped their Thanksgiving Day game as Tobin Rote guided Green Bay to three last-quarter touchdowns in a 24-20 win. On Sunday, the Cards 38-27 win over Pittsburgh put them a half game out. The Bears cancelled a loss, while the Giants watched a win elude them, as Harlon Hill caught a last-ditch 56-yard touchdown pass from Ed Brown in tying the Giants, 17-17. Both the Bears and the Giants continued to lead their conferences, but only by half a game.
The Cards lost the next two games and any chance at the Eastern title, which the Giants clinched, in part because of a 28-14 win over Washington on December 2. The Western race came down to the Bears and Lions. In Week Ten (December 2), the Lions hosted the Bears and won 42-10, to take the lead. When both teams won the following week, the trip to the championship came down to December 16, the last game of the season, which would have the 9-2 Detroit Lions visiting the 8-2-1 Chicago Bears, who hadn't forgotten the earlier drubbing. The game at Wrigley Field was marked by numerous fights, including a fourth quarter melee involving players, fans, and the police, and a vicious hit well behind the play by the Bears' Ed Meadows that knocked Detroit quarterback Bobby Layne out of the game with a concussion. So, the Bears exacted their revenge with a 38-21 victory. After the game Lions' coach Buddy Parker appealed to the commissioner to punish what the Lions felt was the dirty play of George Halas's Bears, but no ruling was forthcoming.
|1||3 teams (Bal, Det, LA)||1-0-0||3 teams (Cards, NYG, Pit)||1-0-0|
|2||Detroit Lions||2-0-0||Chicago Cardinals||2-0-0|
|3||Detroit Lions||3-0-0||Chicago Cardinals||3-0-0|
|4||Detroit Lions||4-0-0||Chicago Cardinals||4-0-0|
|5||Detroit Lions||5-0-0||Tie (Cards, NYG)||4-1-0|
|6||Detroit Lions||6-0-0||Tie (Cards, NYG)||5-1-0|
|7||Tie (Bears, Lions)||6-1-0||New York Giants||6-1-0|
|8||Tie (Bears, Lions)||7-1-0||New York Giants||6-2-0|
|9||Chicago Bears||6-2-1||New York Giants||7-1-1|
|10||Detroit Lions||8-2-0||New York Giants||7-2-1|
|11||Detroit Lions||9-2-0||New York Giants||7-3-1|
|12||Chicago Bears||9-2-1||New York Giants||8-3-1|
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
NY Giants 47, Chi. Bears 7 at Yankee Stadium, New York City, December 30, 1956
The 1956 NFL Draft was held on November 28, 1955 and from January 17-18, 1956 at Philadelphia's Warwick Hotel, The Bellevue-Stratford Hotel and Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel. With the first pick, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected quarterback and safety Gary Glick from the Colorado State University.