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Coldest NFL Games in History

Garrett BakerSenior Analyst ISeptember 9, 2013

Coldest NFL Games in History

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    The NFL is unusual because although football is a predominantly outdoor game, the season is played right through the absolute coldest time of the year.

    As we have seen throughout the past few decades, weather conditions can make a huge difference in a game, with extreme cold completely changing strategies for both the home and away teams.

    Because the coldest time of the year usually coincides with the NFL playoffs, those big games played in the brutal cold are often remembered for their combination of massive stakes and frigid temperatures.

    Although there is no official record kept by the NFL of the coldest games, different websites, people and teams have kept their own history. 

    Here are the 10 coldest NFL games of all time.

    Temperatures taken from pro-football-reference.com and Kevin Brewster's NFL Weather Hall of Fame.

The Freezer Bowl

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    Considered the most memorable game in Cincinnati Bengals history and the coldest game in NFL history as measured by wind chill, the "Freezer Bowl" was a game for the ages.

    Despite a record-setting wind chill of minus 59 degrees Fahrenheit, the 1982 playoff matchup between the Bengals and San Diego Chargers was played to completion with Cincinnati coming out on top.

December 3, 1972, at Metropolitan Stadium

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    This game between bitter rivals Chicago and Minnesota was not really memorable for any reason other than the unbelievable temperatures at Metropolitan Stadium that day.

    During the game, which the Vikings controlled and won 23-10, temperatures hovered in the low single digits and the wind chill was a brutal minus 15 degrees. 

December 10, 1972, at Metropolitan Stadium

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    Just one week after that Vikings game on Dec. 3, the Green Bay Packers came into town and found themselves somehow up against even colder temperatures than the Bears were in the previous week.

    The Packers fared better than Chicago did, however, beating Minnesota handily. But with the temperature dropping to below zero and a wind chill of minus 19, any fan who soldiered through the game will surely remember it.

The Chilling Championship

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    The 2007 NFC Championship Game was referred to as the "Chilling Championship" by the NFL's Greatest Games television series, and for good reason. The temperature dipped below zero to about minus 3 with a wind chill as low as 24 below zero.

    The contest between the Green Bay Packers and visiting New York Giants ended up being a fierce battle, with the Giants winning on a field goal in overtime.

1996 AFC Divisional Playoffs

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    In this AFC divisional matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts, the two teams' kickers combined to miss five field goals.

    The kickers likely struggled because they were kicking a frozen ball in the coldest ever game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Temperatures were as low as 6 below zero, and snow accumulated up to three inches throughout the day as quarterback Jim Harbaugh led Indianapolis to an enormous upset.

The Ice Bowl

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    The 1967 NFL Championship Game between the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers was a legendary contest that is still considered the coldest game in history by air temperature.

    Played at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, temperatures hovered around 19 below zero. The Packers ended up winning on their home field-turned-ice, with a famous final drive capped off by quarterback Bart Starr scrambling and slipping across the goal line for the winning score.

2003 AFC Divisional Playoffs

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    In the 2004 AFC playoffs, the New England Patriots ended up facing the Tennessee Titans at home after a first-round bye. The Patriots would go on to win the game in dramatic fashion on a field goal by Adam Vinatieri.

    It was one of a few thrilling cold-weather home playoff victories for the Patriots in the early 2000s. The minus-10 wind chill made it the coldest of them all.

December 26, 1993, at Lambeau Field

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    It is not a coincidence that three games on this list took place at Lambeau Field. Wisconsin gets some of the coldest temperatures in the country, and Green Bay is no exception.

    This game was memorable because of the 20-below wind chill and the original Lambeau Leap, which Bleacher Report's Bob Fox explains further in this interesting article. The Packers ended up shutting out the Los Angeles Raiders by a 28-0 score.

Red Right 88

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    The city of Cleveland is no stranger to cold weather, but even Browns fans had to be shocked by the absurd cold and heavy snow during a 1981 divisional playoff game against the Oakland Raiders.

    The teams suffered through the minus-5-degree temperature and roughly eight inches of snowfall in Cleveland Stadium. On a play famously called Red Right 88, safety Mike Davis intercepted a pass in the end zone to stun the home crowd and clinch a victory for Oakland.

1993 AFC Divisional Playoffs

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    On Jan. 15, 1993, the Buffalo Bills overcame what the Baltimore Sun called "arctic conditions" to defeat the Los Angeles Raiders, 29-23.

    At halftime of the game, the Sun reported that the temperature had dipped just below zero, and the wind chill was at a downright-miserable minus 32 in Buffalo's Rich Stadium.

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