Armed Forces Benefit Game Series

George Halas was at the center of the creation of an NFL Series of games in Chicago to raise relief funds for the benefit of the armed forces. Halas was a navy man who enlisted in both World War I and World War II. The annual Armed Forces Benefit Games began in 1946 and continued through 1970. The Harold American sponsored the games in 1946-1947; the Sun-Times from 1949-1954; and four newspapers thereafter, namely the American, Daily News, Sun-Times and Tribune who were all members of the Chicago Newspaper Publishing Association. The outstanding player of the game was awarded the Eisenhower Trophy. The games were approved formally in a meeting in Washington that was attended by George Halas; Ralph Cannon of the Herald American; Dwight D. Eisenhower, then Army Chief of Staff; Admiral Chester Nimitz; and General Carl Spaatz.

Newspapers like sports teams, were important contributors to many charitable events. They could reach out to other papers to seek players and they could certainly promote the games as well. Newspapers have also had certain connections or relationships, even in times past with associations, syndicates, and joint ownership of other media sources.  Chicago newspapers have one of the more interesting stories in how papers developed, for what purposes, who controlled them, how they competed, etc.

 

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