These are the coldest games the Green Bay Packers have played in Lambeau Field history after the Ice Bowl

JR Radcliffe
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
View Comments
Green Bay Packers quarterback Bart Starr calls signals in bitter cold as he led the Packers to a win over the Dallas Cowboys in Green Bay on Dec. 31, 1967. It became known as the Ice Bowl.

Nobody blinks when asked, "What's the coldest game in Lambeau Field history?"

On Dec. 31, 1967, the Ice Bowl became part of sports iconography, both for the Green Bay Packers franchise that defeated Dallas that day for the NFL Championship (en route to Super Bowl II) and for the NFL in general.

With a temperature of minus 13 and wind chills dipping as low as 48 below zero, fans nonetheless packed the stands to watch the Packers prevail, 21-17, thanks to a late sneak by quarterback Bart Starr for the game-winning touchdown, with Jerry Kramer throwing a famous block.

An arctic front swept across Wisconsin shortly before midnight before the game and temperatures dropped nearly 30 degrees during the 12-hour period ending at 9 a.m. on the day of the Ice Bowl. Referees couldn't use their whistles because they stuck to their lips, so they were forced to shout. Several players were treated for frostbite, and a fan in the stands died of exposure to the cold, according to the National Weather Service.

Green Bay Packers fan Gregg Matuszak of Pulaski, Wis., is bundled up against the cold while waiting to enter Lambeau Field for the start of the NFC Championship game between the Packers and the Carolina Panthers, in Green Bay, Wis., on Jan. 12, 1997.

What's next on the list of coldest games in Lambeau Field history? Weather forecasters initially suggested a new entry could be added to the list in the divisional round when the Packers take the field Saturday night against the San Francisco 49ers, although it now appears the game will simply fall into a "seasonal" category for January football.

Temperatures on this list are documented as of kickoff, as recorded by Football Reference (with one exception — the 1976 game against the Bears is recorded with 2 degrees, but local reporting listed the game time temperature multiple times as 6 degrees).

Jan. 20, 2008: Giants 23, Packers 20 

Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre and the Packers lost to the Giants 23-20 in overtime of the 2007 NFC Championship game on Jan. 20, 2008. The temperature at game time was minus 1, making it the second coldest game at Lambeau Field.

Temperature: minus 1

Fans experienced bitter cold at Lambeau Field and even colder temperatures in their hearts. Brett Favre played his final game in a Packers uniform, throwing a costly interception in overtime that turned into a game-winning field goal by Lawrence Tynes in the NFC Championship game. The Packers, enjoying a renaissance season from Favre, would fall just short of a return to the Super Bowl. 

Dec. 26, 1993: Packers 28, Raiders 0

LeRoy Butler scored on a lateral from Reggie White, who scooped up a Raiders' fumble to seal the Packers' 28-0 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, Dec. 26, 1993, at Lambeau Field. It propelled Green Bay to their first playoff berth in 11 years. Fans celebrated with Butler after he jumped into the stands. This was the original Lambeau Leap.

Temperature: Zero

Like the two games before it on the list, this was a historically meaningful contest for the Packers, who clinched a playoff spot for the first time in 11 years and just the third time since that Ice Bowl season. Not only that, but the game featured an unusual play where Reggie White picked up a fumble and lateraled it to LeRoy Butler, who ran the rest of the way for a touchdown and let his momentum carry him into the stands. The Lambeau Leap was born.

Dec. 22, 1990: Lions 24, Packers 17

Blair Kiel leaves the field after throwing the interception that preserved Detroit's 24-17 victory in 1990.

Temperature: 3

Barry Sanders ran for 133 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown, leaving the Packers still shaking their head over the decision in the 1989 draft to choose Tony Mandarich over Sanders. Although, Sanders said afterward, "I don't think I would have played in Green Bay if they would have drafted me. The weather is something I couldn't handle every day. These are the worst conditions I've ever played in. I've never been this cold before."

The wind chill in the game dropped as low as minus 35 during the game. 

Blair Kiel still had the Packers in position to win before the Lions scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns, abetted by Packers turnovers on their last three possessions. The loss eliminated the Packers from playoff consideration. Ray Crockett returned a fumble 22 yards for a game-tying touchdown, then intercepted Kiel in the end zone to seal the game.

Jan. 12, 1997: Packers 30, Panthers 13

The breath of the Green Bay Packers' Gilbert Brown (93), Santana Dotson (71) and Doug Evans (33) is seen during the 1996 NFC Championship Game against the Carolina Panthers at Lambeau Field. The Packers won the game, 30-13, in one of the coldest games ever at Lambeau Field.

Temperature: 3

The Packers found an opening big enough "to drive a truck to the Super Bowl through," as former broadcaster Jim Irwin said. The NFC Championship game triumph wasn't always as lopsided as the final score made it appear, but the Packers were on what felt like a pre-ordained quest to a championship. For the first time in three decades, the Packers were headed back to the Super Bowl, cold or not. Edgar Bennett ran for 99 yards, and Dorsey Levens ran for another 88 while also catching five passes for 117 yards and a touchdown.

"I knew it would be cold. I knew they would blitz us and the crowd would be crazy," quarterback Brett Favre said. "It was just a matter of settling down and playing."

Dec. 7, 2008: Texans 24, Packers 21

Temperature: 3

The Packers lost to a team from Texas in the bitter cold? The first year of starter Aaron Rodgers was a rough one, when the Packers went 6-10, and Houston won the game thanks to Kris Brown's 40-yard field goal as time expired. Rodgers threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns and Ryan Grant ran for 104 yards and another score, but it wasn't enough with the defense allowing 549 yards — the most permitted by a Packers team in a single game since 1993 — even if it managed to keep the score reasonable thanks to three turnovers.

Jan. 5, 2014: 49ers 23, Packers 20

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson (87) does the Lambeau Leap near fans after Nelson scored the second-quarter touchdown on Jan. 5, 2014, during the team's 23-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in a wild-card game.

Temperature: 5

The Packers had won a thriller over the Chicago Bears to even reach the playoffs, and they were underdogs despite hosting the wild-card round game. The 49ers, a team that had crushed the Packers in the preceding year's playoffs, were three-point favorites to eliminate Green Bay again, and that's exactly the margin by which it happened. The Packers put up a much better fight this time around and kept Colin Kaepernick at least modestly in check relative to the year before, but Phil Dawson's field goal as time expired ended the season. The weather only got colder from there, closing schools across Wisconsin on Monday.

Dec. 4, 1977: Packers 10, Lions 9

Mike Butler put a heavy rush on Lions quarterback Greg Landry in the third quarter of a 10-9 Packers win in 1977.

Temperature: 5

The heated field melted the considerable snowfall and turned this game into a cold, muddy disaster. David Whitehurst only threw nine passes for the Packers and completed four of them with two interceptions, no less. The Packers only had 11 first downs and 229 total yards of offense. But they won.

Detroit eschewed a chance at a game-tying field goal with five minutes left from 19 yards away, instead trying to score a touchdown from two yards out, but Rich Kane was sacked by a trio of Packers rushers. The Packers ran out of the back of the end zone for an intentional safety, and the Lions finished the game pinned in their own end. Fans rushed the field and a hearty celebration ensued, given that the Packers had snapped a five-game losing streak and won for just the second time in 11 tries.

Dec. 11, 1988: Packers 18, Vikings 6

Temperature: 6

The Packers snapped a seven-game losing streak, getting touchdowns from Keith Woodside and Patrick Scott, though Randy Wright (11 of 20, two interceptions) didn't have a great day and was replaced by Don Majkowski in the third quarter.

Nov. 28, 1976: Bears 16, Packers 10 

Temperature: 6

It was an adventure for Packers quarterback Carlos Brown, who completed just 5 of 17 passes with one touchdown and two interceptions. Ken Payne caught the Packers' lone score, but Green Bay failed to score on three golden opportunities in the second quarter. Chester Marcol missed two field goals in the game. 

Dec. 8, 2013: Packers 22, Falcons 21

Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn reacts coming off the field during the Packers' 22-21 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Dec. 8, 2013, at Lambeau Field.

Temperature: 9

This was part of a remarkable late-season surge in 2013 without injured Aaron Rodgers, when the Packers won a thriller with Matt Flynn at the helm. Flynn threw for 258 yards and one touchdown, a score to Andrew Quarless early in the fourth quarter that gave the Packers the one-point lead.

The Packers then dodged bullet after bullet; Matt Bryant missed a 52-yard field goal, a fourth-down pass to Tony Gonzalez from the Packers' 33 was knocked away by Jarrett Bush, and Bush intercepted Matt Ryan on Atlanta's last-gasp drive. Viewers in Milwaukee didn't get to see a fumble forced by Mike Neal and recovered by Johnny Jolly that set up the go-ahead touchdown because the TV broadcast cut in with a local weather update tracking area snowfall.

Coldest on the road

With the temperatures hovering around zero, steam rises from the faces of Green Bay Packers' Jason Spitz, left, and Tony Moll, during the first quarter against the Chicago Bears on Monday, Dec. 22, 2008, at Soldier Field.

Dec. 10, 1972: Packers 23, Vikings 7, temperature minus 2 degrees. Green Bay clinched the Central Division title and clinched its first playoff spot in five years. Willie Buchanon had two interceptions.

Dec. 10, 1978: Bears 14, Packers 0, temperature 1 degree. Quarterback David Whitehurst injured his shoulder and the Packers laid an egg at Soldier Field. The Packers finished the year 1-5-1 to miss a playoff spot.

Dec. 18, 1983: Bears 23, Packers 21, temperature 1 degree. Bob Thomas hit a field goal with 10 seconds left to lift the Bears past turnover-prone Green Bay, which was eliminated from playoff consideration.

Dec. 22, 2008: Bears 20, Packers 17 (OT), temperature 2 degrees. Robbie Gould's field goal put the Packers out of their misery after a series of special teams foibles.

JR Radcliffe can be reached at (262) 361-9141 or Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.

View Comments