Exactly 80 years ago today, the first real NFL champion was crowned in Chicago when the Bears beat the Giants by a score of 23-21 in front of approximately 26,000 spectators during the NFL championship game. Prior to that championship game, teams like the Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, and Frankford Yellow Jackets earned championships by assembling the best win/loss record every season. But the 1933 NFL championship game changed the game. Literally.

The photo above, which was posted on the NFL's Facebook page earlier today, features a shot from the Giants/Bears championship game. And we can't help but notice how far the league has come in the last 80 years. Some notable differences:

  • Head injuries were obviously not a concern in 1933. Peep the helmets.
  • And pads? HA. No, thanks. Same goes for things like lifting weights. It's pretty clear that the NFL's early players were not yet concerned with taking good care of their bodies or protecting them.
  • They couldn't GIVE tickets to this game away, eh? Although there were reportedly 26,000 people in the stands that day, they obviously weren't sitting in the seats in this photo. Compare that to today when you need to obtain a second mortgage on your house in order to buy Super Bowl tickets and…yeah. Things have changed.
  • The referees looked like milkmen back then.
  • And peep those unis. Ugh!

We're sure you've seen old shots like this one featuring some of the first NFL players on the gridiron. But today, on the 80th anniversary of the first championship game, we think that it's interesting to look at this particular photo and see how much the game of football has evolved. And after seeing this, we can't help but wonder what it's going to look like 80 years from now.

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[via NFL]