American Football Database
College All-Star Football Classic
First played1934

Recent and upcoming games

The Chicago Charities College All-Star Game was a preseason American football game played annually (except in 1974) from 1934 to 1976 between the National Football League champions and a team of star college seniors from the previous year. It was also known as the College All-Star Football Classic.[1] After the Super Bowl began, including the two seasons prior to the NFL/AFL merger, the Super Bowl winner was the professional team involved, regardless of which league the team represented. Thus, the New York Jets played in the 1969 edition, although still an AFL team. The second game in 1935 involved the hometown Chicago Bears, runner-up in 1934, instead of the defending champion New York Giants.

History of the game

The game was the idea of Arch Ward, the sports editor of the Chicago Tribune and the driving force behind baseball's All-Star Game.[1] The game originally was a benefit for Chicago-area charities and was always played at Soldier Field, with the exception of two years during World War II (1943 and 1944) when it was held at Northwestern University's Dyche Stadium in Evanston.

The Chicago game was one of several "pro vs. rookie" college all-star games held across the United States in its early years (the 1939 season featured seven such games, all of which the NFL teams won in shutouts, and the season prior featured eight, with some of the collegiate players playing in multiple games); Chicago's game had the benefit of being the highest profile, with the NFL champions facing off against the best college graduates from across the country (as opposed to the regional games that were held elsewhere). Because of this, the game survived far longer than its contemporaries.

File:1935 All-Star Collegiate Football (1989.222).jpg

A football signed by the members of the 1935 Collegiate All-Star Team, including Gerald Ford.

The inaugural game in 1934, played before a crowd of 79,432 on August 31, was a scoreless tie between the all-stars and the Chicago Bears. The following year, in a game that included University of Michigan graduate and future president Gerald Ford, the Bears won 5–0. The first all-star team to win was the 1937 squad, coached by Gus Dorais, which won 6–0 over Curly Lambeau's Green Bay Packers. The only score came on a 47-yard touchdown pass from future Hall of Famer Sammy Baugh to Gaynell Tinsley.[2] Baugh's Washington Redskins lost to the All-Stars the next year; he did not play due to injury.[3]

In the 1940s, the games were competitive affairs that attracted large crowds to Soldier Field. But as the talent level of pro football improved, the pros came to dominate the series. The all-stars last won consecutive games in 1946 and 1947 but won just four of the final 29 games. The Philadelphia Eagles fell in 1950,[4] the Cleveland Browns in 1955,[5] and the Detroit Lions in 1958.[6] The last all-star win came in 1963, when a college team coached by legendary quarterback Otto Graham beat Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers, 20–17.[7] In 1949, Ward, who by this time had founded the competing All-America Football Conference, attempted to have that league's champion (the perennially winning Browns) play that year's game instead of the NFL, but the NFL strong-armed the Tribune board into overruling him and renewing its agreement with the NFL.[8]

By the 1970s, enthusiasm for the game started to erode, NFL coaches were reluctant to part with their new draftees (who would miss part of training camp) for an exhibition at which the players might be injured, and a player's strike forced the cancellation of the 1974 game.

The finale took place in 1976 during a downpour at Soldier Field on July 23.[9] Despite featuring stars such as Chuck Muncie, Mike Pruitt, Lee Roy Selmon, and Jackie Slater, the all-stars were hopelessly outmatched by the Pittsburgh Steelers, winners of Super Bowl X. The star quarterback for the College All-Stars was Steeler draft pick Mike Kruczek, out of Boston College. Late in the third quarter, with the Steelers leading 24–0, high winds prompted all-star coach Ara Parseghian to call time out. Fans began pouring out onto the field and sliding on the turf. With the rain getting harder, the officials ordered both teams to their locker rooms. All attempts to clear the field failed; the fans even tore down the goalposts. However, by this time the rain had become so heavy as to make the field unplayable even if order had been restored. Finally, at 11:01 pm NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle and the Tribune announced that the game had been called. The news was greeted with jeers, and numerous brawls broke out on the flooded field before order was finally restored. Joe Washington of Oklahoma was selected MVP of this final College All-Star game.[10]

Chicago Tribune Charities had every intention of staging a 1977 game. However, with coaches increasingly unwilling to let their high draft picks play and insurance costs on the rise due to higher player salaries, the Tribune announced on December 21, 1976, that the game would be discontinued.[11]

In the 42 College All-Star Games, the defending pro champions won 31, the All-Stars won nine, and two were ties, giving the collegians a .238 winning percentage.

One aspect of the College All-Star Game was later revived. The concept of the league champion playing in the first game of the season was adopted in 2004 for the National Football League Kickoff game; in that game, the first game of the regular season is hosted by the defending Super Bowl champion.

The game raised over $4 million for charity over the course of its 42 game run.[12]

Game results

Date played Winning team Losing team Attendance
August 31, 1934 College All-Stars 0 Chicago Bears 0 79,432
August 29, 1935 Chicago Bears 5 College All-Stars 0 77,450
September 2, 1936 College All-Stars 7 Detroit Lions 7 76,000
September 1, 1937 College All-Stars[2] 6 Green Bay Packers 0 84,560
August 31, 1938 College All-Stars[3] 28 Washington Redskins 16 74,250
August 30, 1939 New York Giants 9 College All-Stars 0 81,456
August 29, 1940 Green Bay Packers 45 College All-Stars 28 84,567
August 28, 1941 Chicago Bears 37 College All-Stars 13 98,203
August 28, 1942 Chicago Bears 21 College All-Stars 0 101,103
August 28, 1943 College All-Stars 27 Washington Redskins 7 48,437
August 30, 1944 Chicago Bears 24 College All-Stars 21 49,246
August 30, 1945 Green Bay Packers 19 College All-Stars 7 92,753
August 23, 1946 College All-Stars 16 Los Angeles Rams 0 97,380
August 23, 1947 College All-Stars 16 Chicago Bears 0 105,840
August 22, 1948 Chicago Cardinals 28 College All-Stars 0 101,220
August 22, 1949 Philadelphia Eagles 38 College All-Stars 0 93,780
August 11, 1950 College All-Stars[4] 17 Philadelphia Eagles 7 88,885
August 17, 1951 Cleveland Browns 33 College All-Stars 0 92,180
August 15, 1952 Los Angeles Rams 10 College All-Stars 7 88,316
August 14, 1953 Detroit Lions 24 College All-Stars 10 93,818
August 13, 1954 Detroit Lions 31 College All-Stars 6 93,470
August 12, 1955 College All-Stars[5] 30 Cleveland Browns 27 75,000
August 10, 1956 Cleveland Browns 26 College All-Stars 0 75,000
August 9, 1957 New York Giants 22 College All-Stars 12 75,000
August 15, 1958 College All-Stars[6] 35 Detroit Lions 19 70,000
August 14, 1959 Baltimore Colts 29 College All-Stars 0 70,000
August 12, 1960 Baltimore Colts 32 College All-Stars 7 70,000
August 4, 1961 Philadelphia Eagles 28 College All-Stars 14 66,000
August 3, 1962 Green Bay Packers 42 College All-Stars 20 65,000
August 2, 1963 College All-Stars[7] 20 Green Bay Packers 17 65,000
August 7, 1964 Chicago Bears 28 College All-Stars 17 65,000
August 6, 1965 Cleveland Browns 24 College All-Stars 16 68,000
August 5, 1966 Green Bay Packers 38 College All-Stars 0 72,000
August 4, 1967 Green Bay Packers 27 College All-Stars 0 70,934
August 2, 1968 Green Bay Packers 34 College All-Stars 17 69,917
August 1, 1969 New York Jets 26 College All-Stars 24 74,208
July 31, 1970 Kansas City Chiefs 24 College All-Stars 3 69,940
July 30, 1971 Baltimore Colts 24 College All-Stars 17 52,289
July 28, 1972 Dallas Cowboys 20 College All-Stars 7 54,162
July 27, 1973 Miami Dolphins 14 College All-Stars 3 54,103
July 26, 1974 Canceled due to 1974 NFL strike
Game was originally scheduled between the Miami Dolphins and College All-Stars
August 1, 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers 21 College All-Stars 14 54,562
July 23, 19761 Pittsburgh Steelers 24 College All-Stars 0 52,095

1 Game was called late with 1:22 left in 3rd quarter because of heavy rain.[9][10]


The Most Valuable Player award was given from 1938 through 1973 and was always awarded to a player on the College All-Stars

Year Player Position College
1938 Cecil Isbell Running back Purdue
1939 Bill Osmanski Running back Holy Cross
1940 Ambrose Schindler Running back USC
1941 George Franck Running back Minnesota
1942 Bruce Smith Running back Minnesota
1943 Pat Harder Running back Wisconsin
1944 Glenn Dobbs Running back Tulsa
1945 Charley Trippi Multiple Georgia
1946 Elroy Hirsch Running back Michigan
1947 Claude Young Running back Illinois
1948 Jay Rodemeyer Running back Kentucky
1949 Bill Fischer Offensive lineman Notre Dame
1950 Charlie Justice Running back North Carolina
1951 Lewis McFadin Multiple Texas
1952 Babe Parilli Quarterback Kentucky
1953 Gib Dawson Multiple Texas
1954 Carlton Massey Defensive end Texas
1955 Ralph Guglielmi Quarterback Notre Dame
1956 Bob Pellegrini Linebacker Maryland
1957 John Brodie Quarterback Stanford
1958 Bobby Mitchell Halfback/Wide receiver Illinois
Jim Ninowski Quarterback Michigan State
1959 Bob Ptacek Running back Michigan
1960 Jim Leo End Cincinnati
1961 Bill Kilmer Quarterback UCLA
1962 John Hadl Quarterback Kansas
1963 Ron VanderKelen Quarterback Wisconsin
1964 Chuck Taylor Guard Arizona State
1965 John Huarte Quarterback Notre Dame
1966 Gary Lane Quarterback Missouri
1967 Charles Smith Defensive end Michigan State
1968 Larry Csonka Running back Syracuse
1969 Greg Cook Quarterback Cincinnati
1970 Bruce Taylor Defensive back Boston University
1971 Richard Harris Defensive end Grambling State
1972 Pat Sullivan Quarterback Auburn
1973 Ray Guy Punter Southern Mississippi


  1. 1.0 1.1 Grogan, John (2000). "The College All-Star Football Classic" (PDF). The Coffin Corner (Professional Football Researchers Association) 22 (2). Archived from the original on January 30, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kuechle, Oliver E. (September 2, 1937). "Sam Baugh's pass, stalwart defense give Stars 6-0 victory over Packers". Milwaukee Journal: p. 5-part 2.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Isbell sparks rally as All-Stars beat Redskins in second half". Milwaukee Journal: p. 6-part 2. September 1, 1938.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Kuechle, Oliver E. (August 12, 1950). "College stars spring startling upset". Milwaukee Journal: p. 6.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "All-Stars beat Browns 30-27". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press: p. 7. August 13, 1955.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Johnson, Chuck (August 16, 1958). "Grid All-Stars slay inept Detroit Lions". Milwaukee Journal: p. 12.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Lea, Bud (August 3, 1963). "All-Stars upset Packers". Milwaukee Sentinel: p. 2-part 2.
  8. The NFL's Official Encyclopedic History of Professional Football, 1977: The AAFC, pgs. 245-251
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Rampaging fans, rain shorten all-star game". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press: p. 3B. July 24, 1976.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Shepard, Terry (July 24, 1976). "Rain and fans do in players". Milwaukee Journal: p. 10.
  11. "Game ended by Tribune". Milwaukee Journal: p. 10-part 2. December 22, 1976.
  12. "College All-Star Game: A Charity Dies". Evening Independent. Chicago Tribune: p. 1-C. December 22, 1967.,1573517&hl=en. Retrieved January 30, 2012.

See also

External links