Ranking the Green Bay Packers' Most Memorable Snow Games Since 1970
There's nothing like an NFL game played in the snow. It can turn even a contest between two bad teams into an entertaining spectacle.
With the Green Bay Packers heading to western New York to take on the Buffalo Bills this weekend, two of the league's most well-known cold-weather teams are meeting in December. Ironically enough, while the Packers and Bills have played in rain and mud in the past (remember 1982?), these two foes have never met in a real snow game.
Here is a look at Green Bay's best snow games since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. Games are judged on a combination of factors, including the amount of snow, the quality of the game and the Packers' performance in it.
In order to qualify for this list, the snow has to be fairly substantial and accumulate on the ground. Flurries or a little wet snow just aren't going to do it. Both home and road games are included here.
Feel free to comment on any of the games on this list, or to mention a game that is not on this list that you feel belongs here. As always, please indicate why you feel the way you do. Also, memories from people who attended any of these games are always welcome.
December 19, 1982: Packers 20, Baltimore Colts 20
The Packers and Baltimore Colts finished in a 20-20 tie on a snowy field in Baltimore. This was the only non-loss of the season for the Colts, who finished the strike-shortened season 0-8-1.
The Colts tied the game with 1:22 left in the game on a one-yard touchdown run by running back Randy McMillan.
Jan Stenerud had a chance to win the game late in regulation, but his 47-yard field goal fell short.
The Packers offense was inconsistent, and Lynn Dickey completed just 16 passes in 34 attempts for 213 yards and one touchdown. John Jefferson led all Packers receivers with five catches for 101 yards.
The tie dropped the Packers to 4-2-1 on the season. They finished 5-3-1 and reached the playoffs for the first time in 10 years.
December 22, 2013: Steelers 38, Packers 31
The Packers' playoff hopes took a hit when their last-second comeback attempt fell short at Lambeau Field and they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the snow, 38-31.
Pittsburgh took the lead with just 1:25 remaining on a one-yard touchdown run by Le'Veon Bell. The score was set up by a fumble by quarterback Matt Flynn.
Green Bay had a chance to tie it after Micah Hyde returned the ensuing kickoff 70 yards, but the comeback drive fell just short. The Pack was at the Pittsburgh one, but a false start penalty pushed the team back five yards and Flynn's pass for Jarrett Boykin glanced off his finger tips and fell incomplete.
Eddie Lacy ran for 84 yards and two touchdowns on the snow-covered field, while James Jones led Green Bay receivers with nine catches for 84 yards.
The Packers fell to 7-7-1 on the season with the loss, but they were set up for a division title showdown the following week with the Chicago Bears.
9. November 27, 2006: Seahawks 34, Packers 24
The Packers traveled to Seattle and ran into the first snow storm at a Seahawks home game. A national television audience tuned in Monday night to see Brett Favre battle his former backup, Matt Hasselbeck. The ex-understudy led the Seattle Seahawks to a 34-24 win.
The snow in Seattle made things tough for both Favre and Hasselbeck, who each threw three interceptions. The biggest difference in the game was the play of each team's running backs. Ahman Green led the Packers with 44 yards rushing on 14 carries. Meanwhile, Shaun Alexander carried the ball 40 times for 201 yards for Seattle. It was the second 200-plus-yard game of Alexander's career.
The Packers had the lead for most of the first half. Abdul Hodge returned a Hasselbeck fumble 29 yards for a score in the second quarter to put the Packers ahead 14-9.
In the third quarter, Favre found Driver for a 48-yard touchdown that gave Green Bay a 21-12 lead.
But in the end, there was too much Hasselbeck and way too much Alexander. The quarterback threw for three touchdowns in the second half, and Alexander dominated the final 30 minutes, seemingly playing better as the field conditions deteriorated.
The loss dropped the Packers to 4-7-0 on the season, although they rallied to finish 8-8-0 after winning their final four games in Mike McCarthy's first season as head coach.
8. December 6, 1970: Packers 20, Steelers 12
The Packers got off to a fast start against the Pittsburgh Steelers, which is always important in a snow game. Wisconsin native Larry Krause returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. The holder couldn't handle the snap on the extra point, so the Green Bay lead was just 6-0.
The Packers led 6-3 at halftime when rookie Terry Bradshaw replaced Steelers starter Terry Hanratty at quarterback. Bradshaw connected with wide receiver Dave Smith on an 87-yard touchdown toss in the third quarter, but the Steelers also missed the extra point, so the Packers trailed 9-6.
Despite the long bomb, Bradshaw really struggled and made his share of rookie mistakes. The future Hall of Famer completed only three passes in 20 attempts and was intercepted four times by the Green Bay defense.
Packers quarterback Bart Starr also struggled with the snow, but he managed to throw for 235 yards and a pair of second-half touchdowns. The first went to tight end Rich McGeorge from 13 yards out, while the second was a 65-yard bomb to tight end John Hilton.
The snow gave both teams problems, as the Steelers turned the ball over six times, while the Packers lost it four times.
In the end, the Packers won 20-12. Dave Hampton led all Green Bay rushers with 53 yards on 15 carries, while Hilton caught five passes for 99 yards.
This game would be the last victory as Packers head coach for Phil Bengtson. He resigned as head coach after this 6-8-0 season. In three seasons as Vince Lombardi's successor, Bengtson finished with a 20-21-1 record.
7. November 30, 1975: Packers 28, Bears 7
The Green Bay Packers struggled in Starr's first year as coach, but one of the biggest highlights of the season was a 28-7 win over the Chicago Bears in the snow at Lambeau Field. Game-time temperature was 2 degrees above zero with a swirling wind and plenty of falling snow.
John Brockington ran for 111 yards and three touchdowns to pace the Green Bay offense. It was Brockington's only 100-yard game of the season and his first since the previous November.
The Packers defense was the key to this win. The defense limited the Bears to just 132 total yards and 11 first downs in this game. The team also forced six turnovers, including three interceptions of quarterback Bob Avellini, who was making his first career NFL start.
Defensive tackle Mike McCoy forced rookie Walter Payton to cough up the ball in the second quarter, and Dave Pureifory recovered and ran it back to the Chicago 11 to set up Brockington's second touchdown.
Running back Willard Harrell connected with wide receiver Steve Odom for Green Bay's third score on a halfback option play from 14 yards out, and Green Bay led 21-0.
The Packers led 28-0 at the half and coasted to victory. Payton scored the only Bears touchdown to end Green Bay's shutout bid. Payton ran for 40 yards on 12 carries in the game.
The Packers and Bears both finished the season with 4-10 records.
6. December 6, 1992: Packers 38, Lions 10
The Packers faced the Detroit Lions in the snow at Milwaukee County Stadium, and the weather produced one embarrassing moment for wide receiver Sterling Sharpe and an easy 38-10 Green Bay victory.
Favre threw for 214 yards and three touchdowns as Green Bay took a commanding 35-10 lead at halftime.
Linebacker Tony Bennett also returned a fumble for a touchdown in the second quarter to put the home team up 28-0.
The classic winter moment came when Sharpe couldn't tell where the end zone was because the snow had obscured the lines on the field. He stopped at the 5-yard line, was almost tackled and lost the ball on the play. Sharpe recovered, scored and had a good laugh after the play.
Sharpe finished the game with six catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns. Darrell Thompson led the Green Bay rushing attack with 84 yards on 18 carries.
The win improved Green Bay's record to 7-6-0 and kept the team in the hunt for a wild-card berth. The Packers finished the season 9-7-0 but missed the playoffs on a tiebreaker.
5. December 8, 2013: Packers 22, Falcons 21
The Packers were in an 0-4-1 slump since Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone against the Chicago Bears, and the playoffs were looking increasingly out of reach. Neither Seneca Wallace nor Scott Tolzien could lead the Packers to victory, so Green Bay brought back Matt Flynn.
Flynn was making his second straight start when Green Bay faced the Atlanta Falcons at Lambeau Field. In addition to the snow, the game-time temperature was 9 degrees with a wind chill of minus 1.
The Falcons jumped ahead 21-10 in the second quarter when Sean Weatherspoon intercepted Flynn and ran it back 71 yards for a touchdown.
But Flynn was able to lead Green Bay back, setting up a pair of Mason Crosby field goals in the third quarter to pull Green Bay to within 21-16.
A sack and forced fumble by Mike Neal was scooped up by Johnny Jolly to set up the go-ahead score for the Packers early in the fourth quarter. Flynn threw to tight end Andrew Quarless for a two-yard touchdown to give the Pack the lead for good.
Meanwhile, the Green Bay defense shut out the Falcons in the second half. The closest Atlanta came to scoring was a missed 52-yard field-goal attempt by kicker Matt Bryant midway through the fourth quarter.
Flynn threw for 258 yards and a touchdown for the Packers, while Lacy ran for 65 yards and a touchdown.
The win improved the Packers record to 6-6-1. They finished 8-7-1, good enough to win the NFC North for the third straight year.
4. November 27, 1977: Vikings 13, Packers 6
The Packers and Vikings met in a driving snowstorm at Lambeau Field, and neither offense was able to do much under the circumstances. Turnovers created most of the points in this game.
The Packers went up 6-0 on a three-yard bootleg by quarterback David Whitehurst in the first quarter. The score was set up after the Packers recovered a fumble by Vikings running back Brent McClanahan at the Minnesota 21. Chester Marcol's extra point was no good, so Green Bay led 6-0.
With Fran Tarkenton injured, the Vikings turned to backup quarterback Bob Lee. On the first play of the second quarter, Lee found wide receiver Sammy White on a 40-yard bomb down the left sideline for a touchdown. It was the only big offensive play on this snowy day, and it tied the game 6-6. Fred Cox booted the extra point, and the Vikings led 7-6.
The weather got worse as the game continued. Lee completed his first give passes but didn't complete another toss for the rest of the game.
The Vikings added a pair of field goals in the second quarter. One was set up by a fumble by Willard Harrell, and the other a drive led by the running of Chuck Foreman, who finished with 101 yards on 26 carries. Minnesota led 13-6 at the half.
The Packers had their chances to tie the game in the second half. They came close to scoring several times but just couldn't get the equalizer. A pass from Whitehurst to backup tight end Bert Askson got the Packers to the Minnesota 5-yard line, but Whitehurst's next pass was intercepted in the end zone by cornerback Bobby Bryant.
The Pack started another drive late in the fourth quarter, but that ended when running back Barty Smith fumbled at the Minnesota 11 with 4:04 left in the game.
The weather shut down the Green Bay passing attack. Whitehurst completed just six passes on 23 attempts in this game. Facing a tough and experienced Vikings defense didn't help either.
The loss was the fifth in a row for the Packers, who finished the season 4-10-0. Minnesota finished 9-5-0 and won another division title.
3. October 15, 1984: Broncos 17, Packers 14
It was only October 15, but a Monday night audience tuned in to see the Packers and the Denver Broncos play in a mid-fall snow storm in Denver.
The game started horribly for the Packers. Running backs Gerry Ellis and Jessie Clarke each fumbled in the opening minute of the first quarter, and Steve Foley and Louis Wright of Denver both ran them back for Denver touchdowns. Rich Karlis booted a 30-yard field goal in the second quarter, and the Broncos led 17-0 at the half.
The Packers dominated the second half. Ellis scored from five yards out to put the Packers on the board in the third quarter. Then, Dickey threw a 54-yard pass to James Lofton midway through the fourth quarter to pull the Pack to within 17-14.
Dickey and Lofton were a deadly combination in this game. The snow did not seem to slow them down, and they took advantage of the bad weather to torch the Denver defense. Dickey completed 27 passes in 37 attempts, while Lofton caught 11 balls for 206 yards.
While the Packers had 25 first downs to Denver's 10 and outgained the Broncos 423-193, they never managed to tie the game. Five turnovers, including four fumbles, were a big reason why.
The loss was the sixth straight for the Packers under new head coach Forrest Gregg. Green Bay rallied in the second half to finish with an 8-8-0 record.
2. January 12, 2008: Packers 42, Seahawks 20
It was a beautiful, snowy day for football at Lambeau Field as the Packers came back to beat the visiting Seattle Seahawks 42-20 in their NFC divisional playoff game.
Ryan Grant got off to a poor start, fumbling twice on each of Green Bay's first two possessions, which led directly to two Seattle scores. The Seahawks led 14-0 before the game was even four minutes old.
But Grant overcame his slow start to play a dominant game. The star running back finished with 201 yards on 27 carries and ran for three touchdowns. The 201 yards was a new franchise postseason record.
Favre overcame the bad weather to throw for 173 yards and three touchdowns, two of them going to wide receiver Greg Jennings.
The Green Bay offense scored touchdowns on six straight possessions to put the game out of reach. The Packers outgained the Seahawks 408-200 and advanced to the NFC Championship Game for the first time in 10 years.
1. December 1, 1985: Packers 21, Buccaneers 0
There have been many snow games in Packers history, but none matches the outrageous conditions at Lambeau Field on December 1, 1985, when Green Bay hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The storm caused blizzard-like conditions and brought 16 inches of snow to the Green Bay area, including more than five inches during the game itself. The game-time temperature was 27 degrees with a wind chill of minus 5. The bad weather made it nearly impossible for ticket-holders to get to the game, and only 19,856 fans actually got to Lambeau Field for this one. They enjoyed a 21-0 Green Bay victory.
Dickey was outstanding despite the tough conditions. In what would be his last start in a Green Bay uniform, the veteran quarterback completed 22 passes in 36 attempts for 299 yards.
“Being able to throw the ball that well in these conditions is close to phenomenal,” Packers head coach Forrest Gregg told Rich Cimini of Newsday. “He definitely had the hot hand today.”
The Packers seemed much more comfortable in the bad weather than the Buccaneers did. Green Bay finished the game with 512 total yards, while Tampa Bay gained just 65. Future Hall of Famer Steve Young started at quarterback for Tampa Bay but completed just eight passes for 53 yards in the game. He was sacked five times.
Both Eddie Lee Ivery (109 yards on 13 carries) and Ellis (101 on nine attempts) went over 100 yards rushing for the game.
Lofton again had a big game in the snow, catching six passes for 106 yards.
All three Green Bay scores came on the ground. Dickey scored on a rare touchdown run in the second quarter from one yard out. Ellis scored on a 35-yard run in the third quarter, while Clark scored from three yards out to end the scoring.
The win improved the Packers' record to 6-7-0. They finished the season with an 8-8-0 mark.
(Quotes taken from microfilm; no links available.)