10 Best Cold-Weather Performances of All Time

Garrett BakerSenior Analyst INovember 18, 2013

10 Best Cold-Weather Performances of All Time

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    The NFL season is heating up, but temperatures are dropping quickly around the country. Cold-weather football games can sometimes be the most memorable of all, especially considering they are usually in the postseason.

    For this reason, you'll find that nearly every game here was a playoff matchup, although there isn't a single Super Bowl because they are traditionally held in warm climates.

    It's also no surprise that a few of the same teams who play in northern cities show up multiple times on both the winning and losing sides.

    For the game to count as "cold-weather", it had to either have temperatures at or just above freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit), and/or inclement conditions like snow, ice or strong winds.

    Here are the 10 best cold-weather performances in NFL history.

    Weather taken from Farmer's Almanac and Wikipedia articles on individual playoff seasons. Statistics taken from Pro-Football-Reference.com

Adam Vinatieri, Tuck Rule Game

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    Although the 2001 AFC divisional playoff game between the Patriots and Raiders will always be most famous for the "Tuck Rule" call, Adam Vinatieri's incredible performance ultimately won New England the game.

    Vinatieri made three field goals in the blizzard, and although the most notorious may be the 23-yarder that won the game, his successful 43-yard kick to send the game into overtime is the most impressive.

Brett Favre, 2007 NFC Divisional Playoffs

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    In a blustery game at Lambeau Field, Brett Favre put on a show for the ages en route to destroying the Seattle Seahawks 42-20.

    The game began with the temperature just below freezing, but it dropped throughout the evening, and a good bit of snow fell in the stadium.

    Favre persevered and led Green Bay on six consecutive scoring drives. He threw just five incompletions on 23 attempts and registered three touchdowns.

Tom Brady, October 18, 2009

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    This was certainly not Brady's most clutch or important victory in his career, but it was one of his most dominant.

    On a windy and snowy day at Gillette Stadium, Brady led the Patriots to a 59-0 drubbing of the Titans. He went 29-for-34 for 380 yards and six touchdowns and did not turn the ball over despite the brutal conditions. 

Plaxico Burress, 2007 NFC Championship

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    The New York Giants' improbable 2007 Super Bowl-winning run featured a number of remarkable performances, but perhaps none were as impressive as Burress' dominating NFC Championship game.

    On a day where the temperature fell below zero and the wind chill hit minus-24 degrees, Burress managed to keep his hands warm and pull in 11 catches for 154 yards. His effort helped the Giants overcome the favored Packers at Lambeau Field and march on to the Super Bowl.

Bart Starr, Ice Bowl

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    In the 1967 NFL Championship Game, the Green Bay Packers faced off against the Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau Field in a wind chill hovering around minus-50 (which slipped down towards minus-70 by the end of the game.

    On the Packers' final drive of this infamous game, Starr led his team down the field with a number of big throws before scrambling in for the winning score. He finished with 14 completions and two touchdown passes to go along with that game-winning rushing touchdown.

Donovan McNabb, 2003 NFC Divisional Playoffs

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    In the game known mostly for the "4th-and-26" play, Donovan McNabb turned in one of the best postseason performances for a quarterback in Philadelphia history.

    The temperature was hovering around 25 degrees at the 4:30 p.m. start time, but Lincoln Financial Field was assuredly closer to negative temperatures by the time McNabb threw that famous 28-yard pass to Freddie Mitchell to set up a field goal that would send the game into overtime.

    McNabb finished with 248 yards passing and two touchdowns, to go along with 107 rushing yards, which was a postseason record for quarterbacks at the time.

Ty Law, 2004 AFC Championship

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    On a cold January day when Peyton Manning was supposed to shine, Ty Law stepped up and had arguably the biggest game of his entire career and one of the best defensive performances in playoff history.

    The game started at 3:00 p.m. at 32 degrees, but as the day went on, the temperature assuredly dropped in Foxborough and some snow worsened conditions. Law went on to pick off Manning three times and helped limit the Colts to just 14 points en route to a New England victory.

John Elway, 1986 AFC Championship

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    John Elway got his second career playoff win in this matchup with the Cleveland Browns, which was played in temperatures that drifted below freezing and conditions that included some snow and ice.

    Elway threw for 244 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 56 more, but the performance was most memorable because of "The Drive" that he led at the end of the game.

    Elway marched the Broncos 98 yards down the field in 15 plays to tie the game with just 37 seconds remaining. Denver would go on to win in overtime.

Tom Brady, 2011 AFC Divisional Playoffs

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    Tom Brady had arguably the most dominating performance for a quarterback in NFL playoff history on a frigid night in Foxborough, Mass., against the Denver Broncos.

    Despite a gametime temperature of 24 degrees that was likely dropping quickly as the night wore on, Brady threw for 343 yards and six touchdowns to lead the Patriots to their sixth AFC Championship game with him as the quarterback. 

Ricky Manning Jr., 2003 NFC Championship

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    He may have been a rookie, but cornerback Ricky Manning, Jr. was one of the best players in the entire 2003 NFL playoffs.

    In Lincoln Financial Field with the temperature dropping below freezing and a Super Bowl berth on the line, Manning put on a show. He finished the game with three interceptions and helped hold Philadelphia's offense to just three points.