The 2012 NFL season kicks off this Wednesday when the New York Giants host the Dallas Cowboys. The last time the NFL played an official game on a Wednesday was way back in 1948. The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Detroit Lions 44-7 in the L.A. Coliseum on September 22nd, 1948. That might be the NFL’s last official Wednesday game, but it isn’t major professional football’s.
A week later on September 29th, 1948, the Los Angeles Dons defeated the New York Yankees 20-10 in an official AAFC game. That game also occurred in the L.A. Coliseum.
Switching back to the New York Giants, it’s appropriate that they are hosting the NFL’s first official Wednesday game in over 60 years. In 1925, the Giants were the first NFL team to ever host a game on a Wednesday.
On Wednesday November 11th, 1925, Armistice Day, the Giants defeated the Rochester Jeffersons at the Polo Grounds 13-0. That same day the Detroit Panthers beat the Cleveland Bulldogs 22-13 at Tiger Stadium. The game in New York started half and hour before the one in Detroit, thus the Giants were the first NFL team to ever host a Wednesday game.
The Giants have played in five other Wednesday games, all on the road, with the last one occurring in 1934. Two of those Wednesday games were season openers for the Giants, much like this year’s game.
List of New York Giants Games Played on Wednesdays
|1925||11/11/1925||vs.||Rochester Jeffersons||W 13-0|
|1930||9/17/1930 ¹||at||Newark Tornadoes||W 32-0|
|1930||11/5/1930||at||Portsmouth Spartans||W 19-6|
|1931||9/30/1931||at||Portsmouth Spartans||L 14-6|
|1933||9/20/1933 ¹||at||Pittsburgh Pirates||W 23-2|
|1934||10/3/1934||at||Pittsburgh Pirates||W 14-12|
|2012||9/5/2012 ¹||vs.||Dallas Cowboys||?|
¹ Season opener.
Most games on Wednesdays…
The Detroit Lions/Portsmouth Spartans have played 13 games on Wednesdays, the most by any NFL team, compiling a record of 11-2 (.846 W Pct). Among teams that have played more than one game on a Wednesday, the Lions franchise has the best Wednesday winning percentage in the history of the NFL. However, if the Giants win this Wednesday they’ll officially have the NFL’s best winning percentage on Wednesdays. The Giants Wednesday winning percentage currently stands at .833 (5-1).
The Pittsburgh Pirates/Steelers have played 10 games (4-6) on Wednesdays, and the Chicago Cardinals played seven games (3-4) on Wednesdays. The Giants will match the Cardinals this week, with seven Wednesday games.
Counting this week’s game, the NFL has played 38 official games on Wednesdays. The AAFC played two games on Wednesdays.
Philadelphia/Pittsburgh home games on Wednesdays in 1933…
The Pittsburgh Steelers (then known as Pirates) first ever game was on a Wednesday. They lost to the New York Giants 23-2 at Forbes Field. The Pirates next three games were also played on Wednesdays.
I don’t know this as a fact, but I’m guessing the Pirates scheduled those home games on Wednesdays, because in 1933 many of Pennsylvania’s cities were still in the process of lifting blue laws that prohibited sporting events on Sundays. That season the Philadelphia Eagles also played a few home games on Wednesdays.
In April of 1933, the state of Pennsylvania passed legislation into law that lifted many of the blue laws, but the legislation also required that each municipality hold a referendum to choose the extent in which the laws should be lifted.
I know that the city of Philadelphia didn’t officially lift the ban on Sunday sporting events until November of 1933, which was the same time the city of Pittsburgh lifted the ban. The Eagles and Pirates first Sunday home games weren’t until November 12th of that year.
The first ever NFL game played in Boston, Massachusetts, was on a Wednesday…
The first ever NFL game played in the city of Boston, Massachusetts, occurred on a Wednesday. On December 9th, 1925, the Providence Steam Roller defeated the Chicago Bears 9-6 at Braves Field. It was also the first ever NFL game played in the state of Massachusetts.
A Wednesday NFL game in Erie, Pennsylvania…
On October 26th, 1938, the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Chicago Cardinals 7-0 in a regular season game played in the city of Erie, Pennsylvania. Erie is one of the smallest metropolitan areas to ever host an official NFL game.
Note: The Pro Football Hall of Fame posted an engaging infographic on the history of NFL Wednesday games. My article and their infographic have some of the same information, but they dug up a handful of facts I missed so it’s worth a look.
I also have a different count of Wednesday games than they do. They count 39 Wednesday games, I only counted 37. The two game difference comes from the 1930 season.
New York Times, 11/11/1925, pp. 21.