Oh the weather outside has been very frightful most recently. Between 'Nemo' dumping 2+ feet of snow, 2 nights of fog, and then reports of more snow on the way, some might even call into question the legitimacy of playing next year's Super Bowl in the outdoor MetLife Stadium. Now we may potentially be looking at the very first Super Bowl to be snowed on and while people (*ahem* Joe Flacco *ahem*) are going to be griping about that, let's not forgot that snow and football have a very interesting relationship. Let's look at some of the more memorable snow football games in the NFL's 123 years of existence.
Eagles' #15 Steve Van Buren scores
1948 NFL Championship
December 19, 1948
Chicago Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Eagles
You need to start somewhere and what better than an old-school NFL game. First off from 1933-1965, the NFL Championship was the 'Super Bowl' of its time between the NFL East vs. the NFL West. This game was actually a rematch of the previous year's championship game between the same two teams (Cardinals won 28-24). The Cardinals featured the 'Million Dollar' backfield of HBs Elmer Angsman and Marshall Goldberg, FB Pat Harder, QB Paul Christman, and future HOF HB/QB Charley Trippi against an Eagles' team that had featured future HOF RB Steve Van Buren. However the game itself was played in blizzard conditions to the point where it was almost moved to another date. Due to the snowy conditions, the game turned out to be a low scoring affair for the 36,309 fans in attendance. the Eagles got the a 7-0 W and their first Championship game. The game-winning TD came a 5-yd Van Buren TD early in the 4th quarter. It wasn't a winter wonderland but it showed that the game's ultimate game would be played during Mother Nature's worst.
#15 Bart Starr > #4 Brett Farve
1967 NFL Championship
December 31, 1967
Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys
You cannot and I mean not have a list of memorable snow/winter/cold weather NFL games without putting the '67 NFL Championship Game between Landry's Cowboys and Lombardi's Packers. It still stands to this day as the coldest NFL game ever without wind chill with temperatures listed at -13*F. At the time Lambeau Field has a built in turf-heating system to keep the field from freezing over during game time. However it did quite the opposite as both teams played on an ever increasing freezing field. The Lombardi Packers were able to got up 14-0 on two Bart Starr TD passes to WR Boyd Dowler. However Dandy Don Meredith and the Cowboys were able to rack up 17 points to make it 17-14 late in the 4th quarter. Then Bart Starr led the Pack down the field to the Cowboy's 1-yard line before taking the ball and plunging over for the game winning touchdown. Lombardi joked afterwards saying that he didn't want to make the fans sit through the -13*F weather with a sweeping wind chill of -48*F while they played in OT. All jokes aside, this was one of those games where if you were brave enough to withstand the harsh elements of Wisconsin then you were able to peak into football lore and football history.
Mr. Henderson = Mr. Plow
The Snow Plow Game
December 12, 1982
Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots
"What are they gonna do, throw me in jail?" Perhaps one of the more famous and infamous in New England Patriots folklore. That was from Mark Henderson, a man who was on work release that was operating a snowplow at the old Schaefer Stadium in Foxborough, MA. It was a real drag-it-out kind of game with the offenses both floundering due to the snow on the field. The referees could call time-out to have the yard-markers plowed after a certain period of time but with the snow coming down, it made that useless. Then late in the 4th quarter, the Patriots were prepared to kick what would end up being the game winning field goal. The referees called time out to have the yard marks plowed as Henderson drove onto the field. But instead of plowing the yard marks, he end up plowing the spot where Pats PK John Smith was attempting the field goal. Because of that, it gave Smith's holder, Matt Canavaugh, the ability to hold the ball on the ground better for an accurate kick. The kick went up and was good, setting Miami coach Don Shula in a rage, demanding that the officials nullify field goal. However no specific rule was broken, the field goal withstood, and Mr. Henderson became a folklore hero to the Pats faithful.
Aikman dodging Eagle defenders & fans
Bad Blood Bowl
Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles
If you wanted to capture the true nature of Philadelphia Eagles fans, this was the game. Now just a quick recap, there was some bad blood between Buddy Ryan's Eagles and Jimmy Johnson's Cowboys that stemmed back to the infamous 'Bounty Ball' game earlier back on November 23rd. Earlier that day, the grounds crew at the old Veterans Stadium in Philly failed to remove the piled high clumps of snow. So basically the equation was as followed: Drunken Eagles Fans + Hatred towards Cowboys + Consumption of alcohol + Lots of snow available = . Throughout the entire game, Eagles fans just pelted Cowboy players, head coach Jimmy Johnson, referees and back judges. Even Philadelphia players were not sparred. Well-respected and loved Eagles DT Jerome Brown got pelted with snowballs after he tried to play peace mediator. Thankfully none of those people were hit by any 'yellow snowballs', that would ruin anybody's day.
Turkey Day Throwdown
November 25, 1993
Dallas Cowboys vs. Miami Dolphins
You're probably asking why is this Thanksgiving game different from the rest? Just watch the video below.
But all was well as the Cowboys went on to win Super Bowl XXXVIII while the Dolphins lost 5 straight to miss the playoffs. Still to this day, everybody remembers Leon Lett and no matter how hard he tries to pull away it will always stick with him.
A Vinatieri Classic Shot
2001 AFC Divisional Game
January 19, 2002
New England Patriots vs. Oakland Raiders
How can you have memorable NFL snow games and not include this one in the list. This is the game that launched the Patriots into their early 2000 dynasty as well as being one of the top-tier AFC teams. This game cost John Gruden his job as head coach of the Raiders. And finally, this game had one of the most controversial calls that will keep debating/arguing till the end of time in the form of the 'Tuck Rule'. Whether it was a fumble or not, the game kept spectators on the edge of their seats. Although Oakland boast the high-octane offense led by QB Rich Gannon and the WR duo of Tim Brown and Jerry Rice, it would end up getting nullified by the steady falling snow. Not to mention that a certain #4 jersey-wearing kicker entered football immortality with one clutch kick to tie the game at 13-13 and send it into OT and then kick the game-winner to propel his team into the AFC Championship and eventual Super Bowl.
Packers vs. Seahawks in Snow
2007 NFC Divisional Game
January 12, 2008
Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks
Most of the time, being down 14-0 after the first quarter in blizzard-like conditions would spell doom to a football team. However if you are the Green Bay Packers, all you had to do was wait for the right moment to turn up the heat and then hit the ground running. With temperatures reading at 31*F at opening kick off and the snow coming down, Brett Farve and Packers took to the field against the Seattle Seahawks for a 42-20 beat down. Although the focus was on Brett Farve, it was former Notre Dame RB Ryan Grant who stole the show. After recovering from a tumultuous 1st quarter were he fumbled twice, Grant burst through and finished the day with 27 carries for 201 yards (a Packers' postseason record) and plunged over the goal line 3 times.
Dallas Clark hauling in a catch
January 3, 2010
Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills
What sticks out to most people in this one is the controversial moves of the Indianapolis Colts. Prior to this game in Week 16 against the Jets, the Colts were riding a 14-0 record and many thought they would make a run for a perfect 16-0 season. Instead, then head coach, Jim Cadwell decided to bench his starters and the Colts lost 29-15. Going into this game, we all assumed that most Colts starters wouldn't even dress. Especially against the Bills up in Buffalo after the weather had dumped a heap full of snow onto the field. Instead we saw shallow performances on behalf of the Colts just to get records (allowing Peyton Manning to continue on what would be his 208 game streak of starting a game a QB, allowing Dallas Clark becoming the 2nd TE in NFL history to have 100 catches in a single season after catching 7 passes, and allowing WR Reggie Wayne to have another 100-catch season by catch 5 passes in this one) as they got shoved out of Buffalo 30-7.
Whether or not it snows during the Super Bowl, you can bet on two things: 1. You will see who is a true die-hard football fan and who just goes to the Super Bowl for the sake of going and 2. The game will be played throughout it's entirety, regardless of how much snow and how cold it will get.
-Ryan L. Fox
Support WBOB Sports