It was 1946, the war was over, and sports were huge as the country yearned for the "good ol' daze" before the war and wanted to see the pre-war Gods who were mercifully left alive play like they were still in their twenties.. The not so infant NFLwas drawing sellout crowds in many of their venues as the WWII veterans didn't disappoint and theyplayed better than ever. Gamblers attempted to fix the 1946 NFL title game between the Bears and Giants by bribing two players, Giant QB (Flingin') Frankie Filchock and their main running back, Merle Hapes. Pro football was already giving off hints of the "coming" game.   58,000 jammed the old Polo Grounds for the '46 title game, and so the "fix" story would have had great resonance at the time. The scheme was discovered the day before the game and it was so big that the mayor of New York, the police commissioner, together with Giant owner (the first Mara), and NFL Commissioner Bert Bell all met secretly in the Mayor's office on Saturday. It has always been rumored that Giant owner, the grade school educated Mara, made much of his money before owning the Giants as a bookie and thus knew "everybody." The main New York interest in the game surrounded the really good "Frankie"Filchock who was so good that he beat out Sammy Baugh for the starting QB job when both played for the Redskins and the first great Jewish player, Bear QB and Hall of Famer Sid Luckman.

Bert Bell, the NFL commissioner, had vast illegal gambling connections and it is said that the nation wide bookie establishment let Bell know that huge amounts of money were being bet on the Bears, which meant beating the fourteen point spread (the Bears won a non fixed game by 14 points, the exact point spread). Tim ("What, Me take bets?") Mara quite possibly been aware of the action as well. The meeting resulted in the immediate suspension of both Hapes and Filchock. Mara and the cops apparently discovered that, while Hapes had accepted the money, Filchock had turned them down flat. Filchock was allowed to play while Hapes never played another down in the NFL. Later, Filchock was also banned, a dirty deal if ever there was one, and the fact that he actually beat out the legendary Baugh for the position quickly forgotten.

The important things to know here are that the scheme was uncovered because the illegal bookmakers phoned both Bell and Mara and told them of the huge bets being placed on the Bears. Without the "help" of the bookies the fix would have worked. That relationship between the NFL commissioner's office and the vast network of illegal bookies has been maintained through this day so that any and all unusual betting is known long before a game is played. It is a sign of the times that the bribe offered to each player was only $2,500. The winning NFL players share was $1,900.