Posted January 03, 2014

Packers-49ers wild-card matchup could be coldest game in NFL history

Green Bay Packers, NFL Playoffs, San Francisco 49ers
The famous Ice Bowl of 1967 could be relegated to the third coldest game in NFL history this weekend.

The famous Ice Bowl of 1967 could be relegated to the third coldest game in NFL history Sunday. (Neil Leifer/SI)

On Jan. 10, 1982, the San Diego Chargers and the Cincinnati Bengals faced off in the AFC Championship game for the 1981 season in conditions that were fit for neither man nor beast. The temperature at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium registered at -9 degrees Fahrenheit, but the wind chill dropped to -59 degrees using the calculations of the time, or -37 using modern calculations. It’s recognized as the coldest game in NFL history, outdoing the 1967 NFL Championship game between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys. The Ice Bowl at Lambeau Field featured a low temperature of -13 degrees, and the wind chill dropped to around -48 degrees.

When the San Francisco 49ers set foot on the frozen tundra of Lambeau this Sunday, the weather could set a new record for an NFL game. According to Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, an AccuWeather forecast for the wild-card contest calls for a high temperature of -5 degrees, and a wind chill that could drop to as low as -51 degrees.

Even for the Packers and their backers, that’s pretty intense. Seats for the game were not sold out until Friday morning — a supreme rarity for that particular setting — and Mike McCarthy’s players already have the weather in mind.

BURKE: Corporate sponsor saves Colts from wild-card weekend blackout

“It’s always a factor,” said defensive tackle Ryan Pickett. “You never get warm. You never get used to it. So it’s going to be cold. Thankfully, we live up here. We deal with it a lot.”

Some players go sleeveless and refuse to change their playing attire no matter the conditions — Vince Lombardi famously didn’t let his players wear gloves in the Ice Bowl — but the Packers of today are open to changes.

“I don’t really subscribe to ‘the less clothes I have on, the tougher I am,’” tight end Ryan Taylor said. “The guys who think they’re the toughest guys in the world go out wearing no sleeves. It doesn’t make any sense. Being cold doesn’t make you tough. It makes you stupid.”

Running backs coach Alex Van Pelt concurred. “If you have to wear sleeves, wear sleeves. Nobody’s going to call you soft.”

Receivers coach Edgar Bennett played halfback and fullback for the Pack from 1992 through 1996, so he’s been through it — and he knows the different types of challenges players face in these conditions.

“You have to rely on your fundamentals and trust your training more than anything. “So when you talk about hand placement, focus, looking the ball in to the tuck, plucking the ball out of the air. The little things. You have to go back, focus on your fundamentals and make sure you’re extremely detailed.”

THE PLAYBOOK: Previewing all four wild-card weekend matchups

The 49ers aren’t intimidated. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick pointed this week to cold-weather games he played at Nevada, and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio mentioned one game from his past — the 1996 NFC Championship game, a game in which he was Carolina’s defensive coordinator and the Panthers lost to the Packers 30-13 in a similar situation. The aforementioned Mr. Bennett ran for 99 yards on 25 carries and scored a touchdown.

“I don’t remember the exact numbers, but I know going into the game it was supposed to be colder than the famous Ice Bowl,” Fangio recalled. “I don’t know if it got to that point or not, but it was real cold … to me it all depends upon what the footing’s like. It could be just a normal game that’s played at a little slower pace. Or it could be where there’s a lot of slipping and sliding going on then you have to adjust a little bit. You need to wait to see Sunday exactly how the field affects the game.”

One thing’s for sure — it will be cold in ways that are unusual even for the league’s most inhospitable January home.

BANKS: Return of Rodgers, Cobb helps, but 49ers will still beat Packers

121 comments
Slatlantican
Slatlantican

Wind chill is not the way to determine the coldest game; raw (pun intended) temperature is. Wind chill varies greatly, depending on where in the stadium one is standing, as well as varying greatly from minute to minute.


The Ice Bowl is still (and apparently, after tomorrow, will still be) the Coldest NFL Game Ever.  Quit trying to rewrite NFL history.

Billll
Billll

I don't get it. It was -13 in 1967 between Dallas and Green Bay and -9 in 1982 between Cincinnati and San Diego, yet -13 is the SECOND coldest and - 9 is the coldest?? 

HopeSmithOverly
HopeSmithOverly

Actually this weather would benefit the Niners style of football, hard nose DF, good running game/strong OF line. The reality is that the Packers passing game will be compromised and they wont run on the Niners Df(are one of the best against the run and have allowed no 100 yd rushers all season), especially with a banged up Lacy...Also, this Niners DF might just knock Rodgers out of the game as thet arent the Pee Wee DF the Packers faced last week..if these teams give it their all, the Niners win as they are better where it counts, DF line&OF line! GO NINERS, LETS EAT SOME CHEESE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AlainLapointe
AlainLapointe

Everybody think San Fran will be the affected team in that weather when it 's gonna be the inverse cause Rodgers is far better passer than Punkernick and passing appears to be all but impossible at -25 .

Wisconsin Death Trip
Wisconsin Death Trip

Heard a forecast today of 0 degrees at game time, with a WIND factor of around MINUS 20-25. We won't ACTUALLY know anything until game time. Common sense people.....ZZzzsst! 

supabo
supabo

Tight end Ryan Taylor sounds about like the smartest NFL player out there:)

jim@warwickpresss.ca
jim@warwickpresss.ca

I also don't believe that the Packers have an advantage because of the cold weather.  It is the same for all players, besides Aaron Rodgers is from California, and Kap was born in Wisconsin.

UleNotknow
UleNotknow

"... he toughest guys in the world go out wearing no sleeves. It doesn’t make any sense. Being cold doesn’t make you tough. It makes you stupid.” 


Hear, hear.

ElvisHitler
ElvisHitler

49ers are looking forward to this game, it's sort of like a warm up game to get them ready for the cold temperatures of the Super Bowl. It's gonna be a slaughter, the green & yellow will want to waive the white flag after the 1st qtr

j7apple
j7apple

The 49ers aren’t intimidated. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick pointed this week to cold-weather games he played at Nevada"  


Lol  trying to compare playing "a game or two" when the weather reached down into the 20's or 30"s in Nevada is a far cry than minus 35 degree windchill at Lambeau field.  Players just want the game to be over at some point.


All bets are off on this one. Think it will be who doesnt turn the ball over more.

Starstruck
Starstruck

I know I'm gonna be wearing a parka watching this game in my living room...damn!

Tom52
Tom52

packers will play down to their level and get killed by SF.

AnabelLeeSilva
AnabelLeeSilva

EricMellet ur awesome! These idiots are far beyond naive GO 9ERS! haha get over ur cheese headed bs

John64
John64

If Peyton was playing in those conditions, he would freeze up and crumble to the ground like the liquid nitrogen-soaked T-1000 in "Terminator 2".

EricMellett
EricMellett

Pretty pathetic that the Niners spanked the Packers in the regular season and are 3.5 games better yet have to go on the road because Green Bay plays in the worst division in football and basically won their division by default.

tbbully
tbbully

There is no way in hell the that the Whiners will beat the Pack in these conditions at home...Mr. Colin blow will find out what playing in the cold is alll about...

Serena
Serena

Wonder if a player could sue the NFL if they sustain a cold related injury being forced to play the game in dangerous conditions?

ski66
ski66

Look, if your team is in a city run by morons who haven't figured out how to build a dome yet, then you shouldn't get to host playoff games. Simple as that. 

ShawnKey
ShawnKey

Any coach who has a single player without sleeves should be fired because he's ignorant. Heat retention equals stored energy. Energy equals performance. If you'r expending valuable stored energy to appear "tough", you are about as stupid as they come. With this in mind, I expect the Packers to win thins game!

Andrew21
Andrew21

An online poll in the SF chronicle stated the preferred way for the 49ers to warm there hands is to put them down the front of each others pants. It's a city tradition

BillGaydon
BillGaydon

@HopeSmithOverlyChardonay freezes at 19F. I suspect you have never sat on a bucket fishing for perch. That said, you are indeed correct, D will win or lose this one. As much as I wish to will it away GB is sadly lacking same. Still I have high hopes...I must be. Go Pack, make it happen!!!

j7apple
j7apple

@supabo  "Being cold doesn’t make you tough. It makes you stupid.”  right on...

aishaedu05
aishaedu05

exactly.. everyone is trying 2 under-estimate us bcuz of the cold weather. we are a team dat can play n any type of weather. RAIN,SLEET, or SNOW!!! LETS GO NINERS

Jeana
Jeana

Aaron plays here. Just because kap is from here and doesn't play here all the time doesn't mean anything.

Voiceover310
Voiceover310

@ElvisHitler Slaughtered at Lambeau, cause that is just such a common occurrence. Kaep has weaknesses and the Packers will be looking to exploit them. Frozen tundra is a lot different than playing in Northern Nevada or San Francisco. It will be a close game, could go either way. 

Jeana
Jeana

Packers won their division your guys didn't, Seattle won yours. Win your division and you will be able to play home.

Centrale1
Centrale1

@EricMellettI seem to remember the NFC West sent a 7-9 division champ to the playoffs a few years ago. You probably didn't care about football back then, though.

rampantbombedrat
rampantbombedrat

@EricMellettThe system is what it is. There have been times when the NFC west was the worst conference in the NFL, and they still sent a conference champion to the playoffs. Winning your division needs to count for something. If you don't like it, stop losing out to the BeachChickens.


101philosopha101
101philosopha101

@EricMellettIt's always been like this.  Stop whining and deal with it.  If they can't deal with it, prepare for a long off-season. 

E Money1
E Money1

@tbbully Whiners, that's a new one....how did the Packers do the last 3 games against the NFC CHAMPS....0-3

Voiceover310
Voiceover310

@Serena Who is being "forced" to play? If someone doesn't want to play, they don't have to

rampantbombedrat
rampantbombedrat

@SerenaI suppose I could sue my employer for a cold-related injury if I don't dress warmly enough. I wouldn't win, but any dumbasz can sue anyone for anything in this country. Do you think anyone on either of these teams is going to be sitting there in the locker room of a playoff game, saying "it's too cold out, I think I'll just stay inside"???


Slatlantican
Slatlantican

@ski66 I'll take the winter snow in Wisconsin over the summer heat in Miami, anytime.

Italo
Italo

@ski66  -  Spoken like a true fair-weather Forty-Whiner fan!!!

tbbully
tbbully

@psychsports You sir are a fool...along with every other numb nut that thinks the 49ers will win this game..

DavidNutter
DavidNutter

@Andrew21  well if they do it will be because of the weather just that simple the 49ers are not used to playing in this kind of cold and unless you have ever been in that cold of weather you have no idea what it is like


Italo
Italo

@Tom52 @tbbully : Overrated? Really? The Packers are 6-2 with Rodgers under center, the same winning percentage (.750) as 12-4 San Francisco.  

rampantbombedrat
rampantbombedrat

@tbbully@psychsportsThey could. They're a run-first team, with a D that can stop the run. The Packers have Lacy, but their D hasn't been good against the run lately. This one could go either way. That's why they actually play these games, instead of letting the internet comments boards decide the contest.