Tribune Reporter Arch Ward is credited with creating the College All-Star Game. According to George Halas in Halas by Halas, Chicago Mayor Ed Kelley asked Ward to arrange for a “unique sporting event” for 1934 since the Chicago World’s Fair (also known as A Century of Progress International Exposition) had been extended into a second year. Ward had initiated the first MLB All-Star Baseball Game in 1933 for the first year of the Century of Progress Exhibition.
Halas had talked to Ward about bringing about a game between the Chicago Bears and College All-Stars. Ward  formed a plan for a game that would be between the current NFL Champion team versus a team of college all-stars seniors. The Tribune reached out to many other newspapers throughout the country to select the college team. The All-Star Game took place from 1934 through 1976 (except 1974 due to players’ strike).  The game was held prior to the NFL season. Some pro owners were supportive and instrumental in the effort (George Halas) and others were initially skeptical, but the crowds and publicity soon attracted everyone in football. The proceeds from the game were given to the Tribune Charities for distribution to good causes.  Most games were played in the Bears’ backyard at Soldier Field. Although other-such College-Pro games were held, those were mostly of regional interest. The College All-Star Game was one of the most popular sporting events in the nation for a time and attendance hit over 100,000 on three separate occasions. In the early days of the contest, many football fans had long held the opinion that the College Game was the best version of football. However, over the life of the All-Star Game, the pros would win roughly 3 out of 4 games.

New Sporting Chance Press Football Book for Youth:

PAPA BEAR AND THE CHICAGO BEARS’ WINNING WAYS reviews the exciting story of George Halas and his dynamic role in professional football for those in middle school and older. Halas who was present in the first days of the National Football League (NFL) all the way into the modern age of football. Author Patrick McCaskey, a Chicago Bears Vice President and Director, is a grandson of Papa Bear George Halas. McCaskey highlights his grandfather’s life with key events from the 20th century. McCaskey follows Halas as a student, athlete, soldier, coach, team owner—a man of commerce and community. Halas’s 20th century path is laid out before readers.

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Image: Century of Progress Exhibition Poster by Weimer Pursell, silkscreen print by Neely Printing Co., Chicago, from Library of Congress