StaTuesday: The coldest games in Wisconsin history
In case you hadn’t noticed (or don’t live here), it’s kind of cold in Wisconsin this week.
The National Weather Service has the high in Milwaukee for Wednesday as minus-10. The. High. This doesn’t count wind-chill factor, which will have things feeling like minus-40 or minus-50. But really once you’re talking minus-40, what’s another 10 degrees?
We of course wouldn’t recommend anyone going outside during these bitterly frigid times. But it did get us to thinking — what’s the coldest temperatures played in by Wisconsin sports teams?
The Green Bay Packers played in arguably the most famous cold-weather game of all time, the 1967 NFC Championship at Lambeau Field on Dec. 31, 1967 vs. Dallas, otherwise known as “The Ice Bowl.” The temperature on that day was minus-13 degrees, the record low — by a big margin — for any NFL game.
In fact, according to pro-football-reference, there have been only nine games in the NFL which have been played at 0 degrees or lower (not including wind chill) since the AFL-NFL merger in 1966, and the Packers have been involved in four of them:
— The Ice Bowl (a 21-17 Green Bay win, by the way, in case you’ve forgotten.)
— Dec. 10, 1972 at Minnesota: minus-2 degrees (Packers won, 23-7)
— Jan. 20, 2008 vs. the New York Giants in the NFC Championship: minus-1. (The Giants won 23-20 in overtime and Tom Coughlin’s face is still beet red.)
— Dec. 26, 1993 vs. Oakland: zero degrees (Packers won, 28-0).
In addition, Green Bay has played two games at Chicago where the temperatures were 0.5 (Dec. 18, 1983) and 0.7 (Dec. 10, 1978). The Packers lost both of those games. Green Bay has played in four other games in which the temperature was three degrees or lower — and lost each one. The Packers are 8-11 in games played at 10 degrees or colder since 1966 (caveat: with the known available data).
The Wisconsin Badgers haven’t played in temperatures under 10 degrees recently. On Nov. 15, 2014, the temperature at gametime against Nebraska was 26 degrees, which was the coldest at Camp Randall Stadium in 50 years (11 degrees on Nov. 21, 1964, a win over Minnesota). By the way, that Nebraska game was game Melvin Gordon rushed for a then-NCAA record 408 yards.
The year previous to that, the Badgers played against Minnesota at TCF Bank Stadium with the temperature at 18 degrees, the coldest game at the time in the short history of the Gophers’ home.
The Badgers’ men’s hockey team has played in three outdoor games, but none were as chilly as that 2014 football contest.
In 2016, Wisconsin played Ohio State in the Frozen Tundra Classic at Lambeau Field. Game time temp: A downright balmy 28 degrees.
Four years later, the Badgers hosted the Camp Randall Classic against Michigan where it was 21 degrees. In 2013, Wisconsin was in Chicago at Soldier Field against Minnesota for the Hockey City Classic; the temperature there was also 28. Wisconsin won all three of those contests.
Finally, there’s the Milwaukee Brewers, who have played exactly one game below freezing (again, without wind chill) in their history, according to baseball-reference. That occurred April 5, 1994 when it was 31 degrees at County Stadium for Milwaukee’s game against Oakland (there was also a 29-mile per hour wind).
The Brewers have had five other games between 33-35 degrees, three of which were in Milwaukee (April 10, 1994, April 10, 2000 and April 7, 1997) plus one in both Toronto (April 16 ,1980) and Cincinnati (April 4, 2000).
Of course, in 1973 a snowstorm delayed Milwaukee’s home opener until April 13. Although there were still snow on the streets, County Stadium was cleared of the white stuff and the Brewers beat the Baltimore in 38-degree weather, 2-0.
This year the Brewers open the 2019 season at home on March 28. Here’s where we all say, “Thank goodness for the roof on Miller Park.”
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