1959 NFL season

1959 NFL season

The 1959 NFL season was the 40th regular season of the National Football League. Tragedy struck as NFL Commissioner Bert Bell died of a heart attack on October 11 at Philadelphia's Franklin Field while watching the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers play. League Treasurer Austin Gunsel was named interim commissioner for the rest of the season.

The Chicago Cardinals played their final season in the Windy City before relocating to St. Louis, MO for the following season.

The season ended when the Baltimore Colts defeated the New York Giants in the NFL Championship Game for the second year in a row.

Conference races

The NFL had six teams in each conference. Each team would play a home-and-away game against the other 5 teams in its conference, and two games outside the conference. The Bears and Cardinals, and the Redskins and Colts, faced each other in an interconference game each year.

After the second week, when the 1–1–0 Giants had to share the Eastern Conference lead with all five of the other clubs, the Giants won seven of the next eight games to clinch the title in Week Ten. In the Western Conference, the San Francisco 49ers, who had come close (1952, 1953, 1954 and 1957) several times since joining the NFL, were 6–1 and had a two-game lead over their closest rival, the 4–3 Colts. In Week Nine, though, the 49ers lost in Baltimore, 45–14 (November 22) and they shared the lead at 6–3–0. Two weeks later, San Francisco had the home field advantage when they faced the Colts for a rematch. Baltimore won again, 34–14, and clinched the title the following week.