Frozen tundra! 5 coldest games in NFL history

  • Sunday's NFL wild-card game between Packers, 49ers could be coldest in NFL history
  • Past NFL games have seen frozen fields, whistles
Frozen tundra! 5 coldest games in NFL history

Some people say football should be played outdoors. Be careful what you wish for.

The weather for NFL's Wild Card weekend is expected to play a major factor as some sites could see either low temperatures or wintry conditions. Sunday's game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers could be historic as the forecast calls for a high of 5 degrees below zero and possibly dropping to 20 below during the game.

You could call it a dress rehearsal since this year's Super Bowl will be played at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Let's look back at how other NFL teams fared against the elements in some of the coldest games in NFL history. 

1. "The Ice Bowl"  -- This coldest game in NFL history was played on December 31, 1967, between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys at storied Lambeau Field. With the temperature at 13 degrees below zero at kickoff, conditions were far from ideal. Players complained about the field being like a sheet of ice and the football feeling as hard as a rock. It was so cold that when the referee blew the whistle at kickoff, it froze to his lips. Bart Starr scored on a quarterback sneak and the Packers won 21-17, eventually going on to win Super Bowl II against the Oakland Raiders.

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2. "The Freezer Bowl" -- The 1982 AFC Championship between the San Diego Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals at Riverfront Stadium was played in minus 9 degree weather. Former Chargers player Doug Wilkerson told HLN affiliate KGTV that the wind chill brought the temperature down to minus 59 degrees. "I can remember going out for pre-game warmups and I put my finger on the ground and it stuck," he said. The Bengals would go on to win the game 27-7. It could be deja vu as both teams face each other Sunday in the playoffs.

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3. "Arrowhead Duel" -- The Indianapolis Colts traveled to Kansas City to face the Chiefs in an AFC playoff game on January 7, 1996, with the temperature at a "balmy" minus-6 degrees at Arrowhead Stadium. Colts' kicker Cary Blanchard kicked a go-ahead field goal and the Colts topped the Chiefs 10-7.

Both teams met again Saturday in the comfort of the climate-controlled Lucas Oil Stadium in Indy. The Colts, behind quarterback Andrew Luck, rallied from a 28-point deficit to beat the Chiefs 45-44.

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4. "What Could Have Been" -- On January 4, 1981, the Cleveland Browns had a shot of playing in the AFC championship game. First, they had to defeat the Oakland Raiders and deal with game-time temperatures of minus 5 degrees at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. As the Browns drove down the field, the team opted to take a shot at the end zone instead of going for a field goal. Mike Davis intercepted a pass from Browns QB Brian Sipe in the end zone to cap the Raiders' 14-12 win.

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5. "Lambeau, Part Deux" -- A packed and chilled house (temperatures of minus 4 degrees) at Lambeau Field watched the Green Bay Packers face the New York Giants for a berth in the Super Bowl. The January 20, 2008, game was memorable for two reasons. 1) Eli Manning and the Giants would go on to win the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots, stepping out of big brother Peyton's shadow and 2) it was the last time we'd see Brett Favre in a Packers uniform. Those Jets and Vikings' jerseys just don't seem right on him.

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