Bad weather can be a good thing for playoff football
You can hear ‘em now, can’t you?! You know, the skeptics, who think the 2014 Super Bowl in New York-Jersey will be played in two feet of snow with 40 mph winds that will render QBs and WRs useless. But history says otherwise. Over the past seven Super Sundays, "the 07073” has not had an inch of snow or fallen below below 24 degrees. It's not Tampa or South Beach, but it’s still not half bad considering these 10 outdoor playoff classics, Gerrit Ritt says.
Super Bowl XLI (2007), Indianapolis vs. Chicago
Rain is common in the NFL, and even moreso in South Florida. But it’s very uncommon during Super Bowls. Don’t tell that to the Colts and Bears, as the city of Miami unleashed a torrential downpour on Super Bowl XLI. After Devin Hester took the opening kickoff back for a TD, the Bears couldn’t do a thing on offense, fumbling three times and throwing a pair of interceptions. The two teams had eight turnovers combined in the Colts’ 29-17 win.
1975 AFC Championship, Oakland at Pittsburgh
A wind chill of minus-10 degrees, topped with a layer of ice from the night before, made the third playoff matchup in three years between these two teams one of their most memorable. There were a combined 13 turnovers, eight of which were committed by the winning Steelers, but it wasn’t enough to keep Pittsburgh from yet another Super Bowl appearance.
2007 NFC Championship, N.Y. Giants at Green Bay
In his last game as a Packer, Brett Favre couldn’t have looked more miserable. His record in cold-weather games was legendary, but he wiltedin this one as the wind chill was reported to reach negative-23 degrees. The future Hall of Famer threw for 236 yards and two TDs, but also threw two ugly picks. Lawrence Tynes made the game-winning field goal in OT for the Giants in the 23-20 win, only after missing two chippies that would’ve won it earlier.
1934 & 1956 NFC Championships, Chicago at N.Y. Giants
The 1934 title game was dubbed the “Sneaker Game" as a freezing rain the night before made footing difficult. In the third quarter with the Giants down 10-3, the team borrowed nine pairs of sneakers from the Manhattan College basketball team. The final score: Giants 30, Bears 13 as the 8-5 Giants beat a Bears team that had won 33 straight. In 1956, the Giants (pictured before the game) couldn't even warm up, but bounced the Bears again thanks to sneaks, 47-7.
1980 AFC Playoffs, Oakland at Cleveland
In the coldest NFL game in 14 years (four degrees), scoring was difficult. The game had two missed field goals and several interceptions, including one of the most famous in history, as the Browns – down 14-12 late in the game – could’ve attempted a short field goal to win, but chose to throw it instead, resulting in an interception in the end zone that essentially lost them the game. The play call will forever be remembered in Cleveland as “Red Right 88.”
1988 NFC Playoffs, Philadelphia at Chicago
It wasn’t that cold for a December night in Chicago, but “The Fog Bowl” was one of the strangest games in NFL history, as a dense haze engulfed Soldier Field in the second quarter, rendering visibility to no more than 20 yards in any direction and ruining the game for the fans in the stands and millions more watching on TV. The Bears won 20-12 as the offenses combined for just a 27-yard and 35-yard field goal in the second half.
1948 NFL Championship, Chicago Cardinals at Philadelphia
Fans witnessed the first-ever TV broadcast of an NFL title game, and the snow never stopped falling. Philly’s Shibe Park was so covered in white that before the game the grounds crew needed both teams to help remove the tarp protecting the field. The game was almost postponed, but players voted to play earlier that morning. Thanks to the terrible conditions, the teams took a 0-0 tie into the fourth quarter before the Eagles scored the game's only TD.
1981 AFC Championship, San Diego at Cincinnati
The coldest game of the modern era by far welcomed the Chargers from sunny San Diego with a game time temperature of nine below zero and obscene minus-59 degree wind chill factor, thanks to 35 mph gusts. Many Chargers to this day say it was the worst experience they had in their careers. Charger Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow called the conditions “inhumane.” The Bengals took advantage of the weather and won the game 27-7.
2001 AFC Championship, Oakland at New England
NFL fans dub this the “Tuck Rule Game.” Late in the fourth quarter, Patriots QB Tom Brady fumbled, only for officials to rule the play incomplete and return the ball to the Pats due to a little-known rule regarding forward arm motion. That gift was followed by what many consider to be the best FG in NFL history, a 45-yarder by Adam Vinatieri through a blinding blizzard. That kick tied it with under a minute left, and the Pats won with yet another Vinatieri kick in OT.
1967 NFL Championship, Dallas at Green Bay
“The Ice Bowl” remains one of the NFL's most legendary games. The gametime temperature: Negative-13 degrees, with a -36 wind chill. Lambeau Field's underground system to prevent freezing failed, making the surface a hockey rink. Refs couldn’t use their whistles without them sticking to their lips. The halftime band had seven members sent to the hospital for hypothermia. But the hometown Pack survived, moving on to Super Bowl II. -- Gerrit Ritt