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1959 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 26 – December 13, 1959
East Champions New York Giants
West Champions Baltimore Colts
Championship Game
Champions Baltimore Colts

The 1959 NFL season was the 40th regular season of the National Football League. Tragedy struck as NFL Commissioner Bert Bell died of a heart attack on October 11 at Philadelphia's Franklin Field while watching the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers play. League Treasurer Austin Gunsel was named interim commissioner for the rest of the season.

The Chicago Cardinals played their final season in the Windy City before relocating to St. Louis for the following season.

The season ended when the Baltimore Colts defeated the New York Giants in the NFL Championship Game for the second year in a row.

Conference races[edit]

The NFL had six teams in each conference. Each team would play a home-and-away game against the other 5 teams in its conference, and two games outside the conference. The Bears and Cardinals, and the Redskins and Colts, faced each other in an interconference game each year.

After the second week, when the 1–1–0 Giants had to share the Eastern Conference lead with all five of the other clubs, the Giants won seven of the next eight games to clinch the title in Week Ten. In the Western Conference, the San Francisco 49ers, who had come close (1952, 1953, 1954 and 1957) several times since joining the NFL, were 6–1 and had a two-game lead over their closest rival, the 4–3 Colts. In Week Nine, though, the 49ers lost in Baltimore, 45–14 (November 22) and they shared the lead at 6–3–0. Two weeks later, San Francisco had the home field advantage when they faced the Colts for a rematch. Baltimore won again, 34–14, and clinched the title the following week.

Week Western Eastern
1 3 teams (Bal, GB, SF) 1–0–0 3 teams (Cards, NYG, Pit) 1–0–0
2 Tie (GB and SF) 2–0–0 6 teams (Cards, Cle, NYG, Phi, Pit, Was) 1–1–0
3 Green Bay Packers 3–0–0 3 teams (NYG, Phi, Was) 2–1–0
4 3 teams (Bal, GB, SF) 3–1–0 New York Giants 3–1–0
5 Tie (Bal, SF) 4–1–0 New York Giants 4–1–0
6 San Francisco 49ers 5–1–0 New York Giants 5–1–0
7 San Francisco 49ers 6–1–0 New York Giants 6–1–0
8 San Francisco 49ers 6–2–0 Tie (Cle, NYG) 6–2–0
9 Tie (Bal, SF) 6–3–0 New York Giants 7–2–0
10 Tie (Bal, SF) 7–3–0 New York Giants 8–2–0
11 Baltimore Colts 8–3–0 New York Giants 9–2–0
12 Baltimore Colts 9–3–0 New York Giants 10–2–0

Final standings[edit]

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

Eastern Conference
New York Giants 10 2 0 .833 284 170
Cleveland Browns 7 5 0 .583 270 214
Philadelphia Eagles 7 5 0 .583 268 278
Pittsburgh Steelers 6 5 1 .545 257 216
Washington Redskins 3 9 0 .250 185 350
Chicago Cardinals 2 10 0 .167 234 324
Western Conference
Baltimore Colts 9 3 0 .750 374 251
Chicago Bears 8 4 0 .667 252 196
Green Bay Packers 7 5 0 .583 248 246
San Francisco 49ers 7 5 0 .583 255 237
Detroit Lions 3 8 1 .273 203 275
Los Angeles Rams 2 10 0 .167 242 315

NFL Championship Game[edit]

Baltimore 31, NY Giants 16 at Memorial Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland, December 27, 1959


Most Valuable Player Johnny Unitas, Quarterback, Baltimore Colts
Coach of the Year Vince Lombardi, Green Bay


The 1959 NFL Draft was held on December 1, 1958 and January 21, 1959 at Philadelphia's Warwick Hotel. With the first pick, the Green Bay Packers selected quarterback Randy Duncan from the University of Iowa.


Eastern Conference[edit]

Western Conference[edit]



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