The Best of the Worst: The 10 Greatest Bad Weather NFL Games Ever
With the recent announcement that New York would be allowed to host a Super Bowl (repealing the grand old tradition of warmer destinations, at least temporarily) in 2014, the NFL's focus has turned suddenly to weather.
Many other cities that never could have previously had Super Bowl hosting aspirations have immediately begun hoping that some day, they too might play host to the World's Championship Game.
It is time for an interesting stroll through history to see just how bad weather can actually be in the NFL with the teams still taking the field.
Some cities get the cold and snow, others get unbearable amounts of rain, but the greatest bad weather occurrence in the NFL ever?
That happened to be neither.
The NFL Network attempted a fairly similar look back, which should definitely be checked up on as a source of comparison.
While the game in the main picture for this article (Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks, 2007 NFL Playoffs) barely missed the cut, I wanted to give it a little bit of a tribute.
Warning: this article might make you inclined to believe your father/grandfather actually used to walk 8 miles to school in the snow.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 1979
Have you ever seen so much rain that it literally roared down flights of stairs like a waterfall?
Not very many people have, unless they were present at the 1979 showdown between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs. That particular game was a prime example of just how messy the NFL can get above 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
While Tampa Bay (and Florida in general) is no stranger to heavy rains during hurricane season, this game definitely takes the cake as the best rain game in NFL history.
It is also the only game on this list in which it looks like it would have been fun to play.
The Buccaneers were a young, fledgling franchise, and the win was a much needed boost.
Changing their uniforms later from the absolutely awful originals was an even bigger boost.
9. Buffalo Bills vs. Cleveland Browns, 2007
At least the teams involved in this one weren't strangers to bad weather.
This game happens to be the most recent one to make the list, but when the 2007 Cleveland Browns were visited by the Buffalo Bills in the middle of December, snow came down so heavily that even running the football was extremely difficult.
What really made this game unique were the high winds, which coupled with the heavy snow, made visibility extremely difficult on the field.
There is nothing like playing football in a blizzard to make a man out of a quarterback.
Or to cause him to throw a whole heck of a lot of interceptions...
The game ended with a score of 8-0, which is one of the lowest scoring games in the modern history of the NFL.
8. Oakland Raiders vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 1975
In the 1975 AFC Championship, John Madden's Oakland Raiders took on Lynn Swann and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The game obviously had a lot on the line, as the winners would be heading to Super Bowl X.
The game, played in Pittsburgh, proved to provide all sorts of unpleasantness for Oakland: chief among them was the frozen AstroTurf.
John Madden and Al Davis both complained heavily about it, with Davis going so far as to accuse the Steelers of freezing the ground intentionally.
Madden didn't go that far, but he did point out how difficult it made it for the team to run plays to the outside, occurring because the edges of the field were the iciest.
It still hasn't been determined whether or not the icing was intentional (a hose in winter just sounds unlikely to me), but Lynn Swann took a serious beating; he was taken out of the game after being knocked unconscious when his head was slammed into a patch of ice.
7. Los Angeles Raiders vs. Buffalo Bills, 1994
Let me set the scene:
1993-94 NFL Playoffs are deep underway, and, in the depth of January 1994, the Los Angeles Raiders jump on an airplane and head to Buffalo with their season on the line.
It ended up being the coldest game in the history of the Buffalo Bills franchise.
The Bills obviously had a slight advantage over the winter-struck Southern California boys, and not only won that game (29-23), but also their fourth straight AFC title in the weeks following.
So how cold was it?
The game was the ninth coldest in NFL history, with a game time temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit and a wind chill of -32 degrees.
And they were still out there hitting each other on an iced-over field (obviously they moved all the snow so the players would have to land on a harder surface).
6. New York Giants vs. Chicago Bears, 1934
This particular game is referred to as the infamous "Sneakers Game" by the NFL Network, because the New York Giants had a creative response to the iced over field.
It also highlights one of the major risks of having the Super Bowl in the Empire State.
In a manner similar to the 1975 Oakland Raiders vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers, the field was frozen over completely solid. Steve Owen, the coach of the New York Giants, sent out one of his assistant coaches (Abe Cohen) to find sneakers for his team.
All of the sporting goods stores were closed, but Honest Abe managed to borrow nine pairs from Manhattan College's basketball team.
I don't think anyone has ever determined if they were returned, but they managed to do the trick.
The New York Giants beat the Chicago Bears 30-13.
5. New England Patriots vs. Oakland Raiders, 2002
This particular game is known by many names.
Some people call it the "Snow Bowl," or the "Tuck Rule Game," but for Oakland Raiders fans, it will always be, "that time we got screwed."
The game, which was played at Foxborough Stadium in New England, was undoubtedly snowy, and also very cold. However it became infamous because of a sack made by Charles Woodson on Tom Brady.
Brady lost control of the ball and the Raiders ended up recovering it, but the play was subsequently reviewed and overturned because of an obscure rule that had been entered into the books in 1999.
Essentially, it said that if a quarterback is trying to bring the ball back into his body, after deciding not to release it for a pass, but it never gets there, it still counts as an incomplete pass.
Brady and the Patriots finished the drive with a field goal that tied the game, and then they beat the Oakland Raiders in overtime.
The New England Patriots went on to win their first Super Bowl Championship, and the Oakland Raiders made the Super Bowl the next year.
However, many people feel that XXXVI should belong to the Raiders to this day.
4. Philadelphia Eagles vs. Chicago Cardinals, 1948
In the 1948 NFL Championship Game, there was so much snow that it became impossible to actually move the football.
The Philadelphia Eagles had one distinct advantage, Steve Van Buren.
Van Buren went on to become an NFL Hall of Famer, as well as a member of the NFL's 75th Anniversary All-Time team, but on that day, he was simply the only guy to score (unless you include the kicker).
As the two teams battled it out in snow so thick that footing became a figment of a player's imagination, the Philadelphia Eagles eventually turned up victorious with a final score of 7-0.
It was their first-ever league title, and Van Buren ran for 196 yards.
He had originally thought that the game would be canceled because of the blizzard, but after a call from his coach, he walked through all of the ice and snow to get to the field.
So again, your father/grandfather might not have been lying when he was telling that story...
3. San Diego Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 1982
While the picture for this game actually looks kind of pleasant, let me assure you it wasn't.
That picture isn't from the actual game. There were no pictures taken at the actual game because only people who were absolutely insane showed up to it.
Cases of frostbite were confirmed among attendees. Now that is some really impressive devotion to your team.
Obviously, the San Diego Chargers were in for a climate shock when the made the trip to Cincinnati, but no one expected it to be as bad as it was.
The game time temperature was an unreal -9 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the second coldest game in NFL history. Even crazier was the -58 degree wind chill, which was the absolute worst in league history.
The Cincinnati Bengals overcame the frozen Chargers to win the AFC Championship, but for both teams, the opportunity to go inside was a welcome relief.
2. Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys, 1967
This game simply goes by the legendary title of the "Ice Bowl," and many people will probably think it should be number one on this list.
It isn't for good reason.
While it certainly was the coldest game in NFL history (coming in at a crazy -13 degree Fahrenheit), it didn't make the number one slot.
The game is probably one of the most legendary ever, as it pitted Vince Lombardi against Tom Landry in a spectacular NFL Championship at the horrifically cold Lambeau Field.
No other field has hosted so many cold games in NFL history.
Before the game, most of the players figured it would be canceled, and Vince Lombardi showed up and told them they were playing. He also told them not to wear gloves.
Certainly makes it seem like I had it easy during high school football.
1. Chicago Bears vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 1988
As far as weird NFL weather goes, there has simply never been anything else like this.
Approximately 70 percent of all senses is the sense of sight, so how can teams play football when that is taken away?
On a bizarre day in Chicago in 1988, when the Mike Ditka's Bears took on the Philadelphia Eagles, something strange happened at Soldier Field.
Instead of the predicted cold for that day, the weather was warm, creating a thick layer of fog off of Lake Michigan. That fog engulfed the football game during the second quarter and onward.
No one could tell what was going on during the game. Commentators couldn't broadcast the game. Spectators couldn't see it.
How could a quarterback pass?
It brought a whole new meaning to hearing footsteps.
The game was almost called because of fog... but it wasn't, and the Eagles ended up losing.
Mike Singletary was ranted about how much fun it was, but that particular game was a complete anomaly in NFL history.