Top 50 Bad Weather Games In Sports History

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IFebruary 11, 2011

Top 50 Bad Weather Games In Sports History

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    In the history of sports, there have been numerous games affected by bad weather, from football to baseball to tennis to soccer.

    It can be frustrating for athletes (or exhilarating to some) to know that you don't have complete control during the game—when fog, ice, blizzards, wind and torrential rain become unavoidable challenges.

    Sometimes you can't see, sometimes you can't feel your face, and sometimes you simply get blown off a pitching mound.

    This list commemorates the games when weather affected play the most.

    Some are obvious, some you may have never heard of, but one thing's for sure—Mother Nature was angry at sports these days and the players paid the price.

    Here are the top 50 bad weather contests in the history of sports.

    Thanks for reading.

50. West Virginia Vs. South Florida, 2008

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    On Dec. 6, 2008, West Virginia's Pat White played his final game in Morgantown.

    Not only was that notable, but the game became a wintery wonderland (if you can call giant behemoths crushing each other a wonderland).

    Fans wore white to salute White, then the snow cascaded down and left the field white.

    With a 13-7 Mountaineers win, it was perfect.

49. Boise State Vs. Louisiana State, Women's Soccer, 2008

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    This game between Boise State and Louisiana State wasn't meant to be a bad weather game.

    In fact, it only started off as a light drizzle.

    But the drizzle turned into heavy rain by halftime, then snow at halftime, then heavy snow after halftime.

    The game eventually was suspended after a 2-2 tie.

    It was the most snow Boise had seen in 11 years.

48. Miami Vs. Arizona, 1992

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    This was the year Arizona's famed "Desert Swarm" defense was born.

    The game, which was basically played in a monsoon, started with a safety, continued with botched field goals and ended in triple-OT when Miami QB Gino Toretta connected on a 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dietrich Clausell.

47. MSU Vs. Florida Atlantic, 2008

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    This was a sopping wet one, folks.

    The rain was so bad and the football so slippery between that the two teams combined for six fumbles.

    Michigan State's Javon Ringer was the savior for the Spartans in this sloppy game, rushing for 282 yards and two touchdowns.

    The Spartans won, 17-0.

46. St. Louis Cardinals Vs. Atlanta Braves, 2006

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    On July 19, 2006, a massive storm swept through St. Louis, leading to the biggest power outage in the city's history.

    Winds were approximated at anywhere from 70 to 90 miles per hour—fairly evident in this video.

    The storm actually inspired a Facebook page called "I survived the July 19, 2006 storm at Busch Stadium."

    Unbelievably, the teams actually played through the weather, ending in a Cardinals 8-3 win.

    For those of you who enjoy umbrella-killing weather at its finest, more footage of the storm can be found here.

45. 2011 NHL Winter Classic

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    The most recent bad weather game on this list, the 2011 Winter Classic between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins was marked by heavy rain and high winds.

    The Penguins had the pleasure of participating in both of the Winter Classics that made this list.

    Probably because they play in Pittsburgh.

    The visiting Capitals beat the Penguins, 3-1.

44. 1984 Cotton Bowl Classic

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    The 1984 Cotton Bowl Classic featured the Georgia Bulldogs and the Texas Longhorns.

    The stadium was so soaked with rain that the drainage systems actually flooded.

    With Texas leading 9-3 late in the fourth quarter, the weather conditions caused Texas DB Craig Curry to muff a punt close to his own end zone.

    It led to the Bulldogs scoring on the ensuing change of possession.

    The score stood, 10-9.

43. Washington State Vs. San Jose State, 1955

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    This blistery contest between Washington State and San Jose State way back in 1955 was highlighted by heavy snow.

    With both teams having difficulty pulling away in the harsh conditions, the game ended in a 13-13 tie.

42. 1961 MLB All-Star Game

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    How can you leave Candlestick Park off this list?

    It was so blustery in San Francisco during the All-Star Game in 1961, Giants pitcher Stu Miller was actually blown off the mound.

    Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow once was commenting on a game at Candlestick.

    Scanning the crowd, Krukow said, "Looks like a ski lift at Tahoe."

41. Ryder Cup 2010

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    The 2010 Ryder Cup was highlighted by the U.S. team complaining their rain suits were not good enough to combat the whipping rains.

    Then they realized no amount of attire could have saved them that day.

40. South Carolina Vs. Clemson, 1972

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    This ferocious rivalry was made even more epic on Nov. 25, 1972, when the weather dipped to 33 degrees and rain came down in waves, making the field an absolute mess.

    Nobody ever really remembers Clemson struggling to a 7-6 win.

    They just remember the horrible weather.

    Bleacher Report's own Baby Tate once said of the game, "All I wanted to know at the end was, 'Did I miss the Ark leaving?'"

39. 1982 AFC Championship Game, Jets Vs. Dolphins

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    The Miami Dolphins intentionally left the tarp off the field before this game, leading to complaints by the New York Jets.

    It seemed to pay off for the Dolphins.

    In a muddy quagmire, the game was scoreless until the third quarter when Dolphins linebacker A.J. Duhe intercepted Jets QB Richard Todd for a 35-yard TD.

    Todd went on to finish with five interceptions, and the Dolphins won, 14-0.

38. 2008 World Series, Game 5

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    The 2008 World Series pitted the Philadelphia Phillies against the Tampa Bay Rays.

    The screaming winds and downpour ended up suspending Game 5.

    It was the first time a World Series game had ever been suspended.

37. Penn State Vs. Navy, 1974

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    This was a brutal game for the Penn State Nittany Lions.

    The game marked their winning streak of 13 games snapped as they lost five fumbles in the heavy rain, including one at Navy's 9-yard line.

    Kicker Chris Bahr also missed four field goals, including a 47-yarder that would have won it for the Lions at the game's end.

    Navy won, 7-6.

36. Oklahoma State Vs. Oklahoma, 1985

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    When Barry Sanders is slipping all over the field and looking sloppy, you know something's up.

    This game was characterized by Sanders having trouble gaining his footing multiple times, and Oklahoma coming away with the win on the frozen tundra, 13-0—the Oklahoma defensive coming away with the only touchdown.

    A frozen tundra was the only thing that seemed to be able to stop Sanders in his career.

35. New York Yankees 1996 Home Opener

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    With temperatures of 37 degrees and swirling snow, this was probably not what Yankees manager Joe Torre and Derek Jeter had in mind for their debuts at Yankee Stadium.

    The stinging snow was so brutal that third-base umpire Ken Kaiser and some players actually worse ski masks on the field.

    Numerous players said they had trouble even seeing the ball.

    The Yankees won, 7-3.

34. 1997 World Series, Game 4

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    In Game 4 of the 1997 World Series, the Cleveland Indians and Florida Marlins had the pleasure of playing in the coldest World Series game ever.

    With temperatures of 38 degrees and a wind chill of 18 degrees, the field was an icy mess complete with snow flurries blowing across the stadium.

    The Marlins, predictably shocked after playing the first two games at home in 80-degree weather, lost to the Indians 10-3.

33. Packers Vs. Buccaneers, 1985

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    Dec. 1, 1985 in Green Bay was a lovely day—so lovely that a record 36,000 Packers fans didn't even show up.

    When a game keeps the loyal Cheeseheads away from the field, you've earned the right to call it "The Snow Bowl."

    Those 19,000 Packers fans that did show up witnessed the Packers defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 21-0, as approximately four to five inches of snow fell during the game alone (about 12 inches fell before the game).

    The Packers turned the ball over four times, but the Bucs managed only 65 total yards and five first-downs.

32. Buccaneers Vs. Chiefs, 1979

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    There was so much rain during this game in 1979 between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs, people actually said it appeared as if a waterfall was coming down on the stadium.

    The 3-0 win by the Buccaneers was a big lift for the young franchise at the time, and the fact that they did it in 32-degree weather made it even more epic.

31. Bills Vs. Browns, 2007

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    When the Buffalo Bills visited the Cleveland Browns in 2007, they probably should have been given a storm warning first—both literally and figuratively.

    Not only did the Bills have to sludge through a blizzard, they also ended up getting shut-out in one of the lowest scoring games in the modern history of the NFL, losing 8-0.

30. Syracuse Vs. Colgate, 1947

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    The stormy battle between the Orangemen and the Red Raiders is one of the most overlooked bad weather games out there.

    Under an onslaught of snow, it was 5-foot-8, 150-pound Slivers Slovenski that scored the game's only points, taking off for a 65-yard touchdown on a fake punt late in the game.

    Syracuse won, 7-0.

    Note: By the way, Slivers Slovenski is probably the best name ever.

29. Mississippi State Vs. Texas A&M, 2000

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    This 43-41 overtime thriller between the Bulldogs and the Aggies is one of the great bad weather games in college football history.

    The snow never stopped falling in this one.

    The big play came off a weather-related blocked extra-point that set up the winning touchdown drive for Mississippi State in overtime.

28. 1975 AFC Championship Game

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    This ferocious battle of John Madden's Oakland Raiders versus Lynn Swann and the Pittsburgh Steelers had greatness written all over it.

    Raiders owner Al Davis actually accused the Steelers of freezing Three Rivers Stadium intentionally.

    Because of the icy edges of the field, it was almost impossible to run to the outside because it was so easy to slip.

    Swann was knocked unconscious in this game after his head hit the frozen tundra.

    The Steelers still pulled through though, 16-10.

27. Raiders Vs. Bills, 1994

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    It's the 1993-1994 playoffs and the Buffalo Bills found themselves on their way to Los Angeles to battle the Raiders in sunny Southern California.


    This game ended up being not only the coldest game in Bills history, it was the ninth-coldest of all-time, with temperatures at 0 degrees Fahrenheit and a windchill of -32 degrees.

    The snow was shoveled off for the most part, but that just led to players slamming down on ice.

    Not fun.

    But, the Bills ended up winning this one behind Jim Kelly, 29-23—and advanced to the Super Bowl.

    Of course they lost once they got there.

26. Steelers Vs. Dolphins, 2007

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    This video probably best demonstrates what the field conditions were like in this Monday Night matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field.

    When a punt goes straight into the ground, you know it's muddy.

    The 3-0 final score, which dropped the Dolphins to 0-11, was the lowest-scoring Monday Night Football game ever.

    Not only were there only three points scored, the three points came with 17 seconds left in the game, a field goal by Jeff Reed.

25. 1981 AFC Divisional Round, Raiders Vs. Browns

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    With a game-time temperature of 4 degrees, this was the coldest NFL game to be played since the 1967 Ice Bowl.

    With 41 seconds left in the game, the Cleveland Browns, down 14-12,  opted to try for a touchdown instead of kicking a field goal because kicker Don Cockroft had missed two of four field goals in the wintery conditions beforehand.

    The play, known as Red Right 88, resulted in the Raiders DB Mike Davis picking off Browns quarterback Brian Sipe to end the game.

24. Nebraska Vs. Miami, 1962

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    The 1962 matchup between the Miami Hurricanes and Nebraska Cornhuskers essentially marked the end of the charity Gotham Bowl.

    The highly-unsuccessful bowl game never was able to raise enough money, and the 14-degree day on Dec. 4 put a nail in the coffin.

    Only about 6,000 people paid to see the game, and 5,000 tickets were given away.

    With gusts reaching 65 miles per hour, this was a miserable game weather-wise in New York City.

    The football game itself was great however, with Nebraska edging out Miami, 36-34, despite Miami QB George Mira throwing for 321 yards.

23. 2009 NLDS Game 3, Phillies Vs. Rockies

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    With a game-time temperature of 35 degrees, this matchup between the Philadelphia Phillies and Colorado Rockies in Denver was already an historic game, measuring up to Game 4 of the 1997 World Series in terms of sheer frigidness.

    But the game, which lasted 4 hours and 6 minutes, was the longest divisional round matchup in the history of Major League Baseball.

    The Phillies won 6-5, when Ryan Howard hit a sacrifice-fly in the ninth inning to score Jimmy Rollins.

    Note: That's Pedro Martinez in the hoodie—if you needed any more proof that he was a goofball.

22. Civil War 2001, Oregon Vs. Oregon State

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    Amidst a torrential downpour, the Oregon Ducks were able to come away with a win against the Oregon State Beavers in this rivalry game in 2001.

    The 17-14 Ducks win, highlighted by a Keenan Howry punt return for a touchdown, gave the Ducks their first Pac-10 championship since 1994.

    It also featured this God-awful trick play by the Beavers.

21. 2008 NHL Winter Classic

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins had the luck of playing in two bad weather games in three years at the Winter Classic.

    This game against the Buffalo Sabres had everything a fan could dream of: sweeping snow, a close battle, and a shootout that saw Penguins star Sidney Crosby score the winning goal.

    The game set an NHL attendance record, as over 71,000 fans turned up, even in Buffalo's blizzard-like conditions.

    The Penguins won 2-1.

20. 2008 Champions League Final

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    This game—played in the driving rain in Moscow, pitted two English teams against each other for the first time in the competition's history.

    Manchester United beat Chelsea 6-5 on penalties, following a 1-1 draw in extra-time.

    The Chelsea loss was highlighted by John Terry slipping on a penalty kick which would have won the game for the club.

19. 1948 NFL Championship Game

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    The 1948 NFL Championship Game—which featured the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Cardinals—was played under so much snow that it was hard to even run the ball.

    The footing was horrendous, but the Eagles had the pleasure of having Steve Van Buren on their side, a future Hall of Famer who ran in the game's only score to give the Eagles their first title in franchise history, 7-0.

18. Oregon State Vs. USC, 1967

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    The weather may have been the reason the Oregon State Beavers won this game—as the torrential downpour certainly soured the score.

    Despite the No. 1 USC Trojans featuring O.J. Simpson and guys such as Ron Yary and Tim Rossovich, the Beavers were able to squeak out a 3-0 victory under the rainfall.

    A 30-yard field goal by Beavers' kicker Mike Haggard was the only difference in the game.

    This marked Simpson's only loss at USC his entire career.

17. Chicago Bears Vs. San Francisco 49ers, 2005

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    The Nov. 13, 2005 game between the Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers featured crosswinds of up to 28 miles per hour and gusts of up to 38 miles per hour.

    Passing became virtually impossible—not to mention kicking a field goal.

    Up 3-0 at the end of the first half, the 49ers elected to let kicker Joe Nedney try a 52-yard field goal as time expired.

    The kick ended up hanging in the wind, which was miraculously caught by the Bears' Nathan Vasher deep in the Bears' end zone.

    What happened next was more miraculous.

    Vasher turned and proceeded to run 108 yards for a touchdown to end the half, the longest play ever in the NFL.

    The Bears ended up winning, 17-9.

    Being a Niners fan, I remember hating Nathan Vasher that day.

16. Bobby Riggs Vs. Jack Kramer, 1947

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    The only tennis match on the list, Bobby Riggs matched up with Jack Kramer at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 26, 1947.

    The match was being called the biggest tennis match in history at the time, and 15,000 fans showed up for the match.

    This was odd, because blizzard conditions grounded traffic to a halt and over 25 inches of snow fell in less than 14 hours that day.

    Kramer lost to Riggs in four sets.

    Later, all Kramer had on his mind was the crowd, reportedly saying, "All I could think of was how did they get here?"

15. Giants Vs. Chargers, 1995

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    The snowy and ultimately ugly game between the San Diego Chargers and New York Giants in 1995 became less known for the Chargers' 27-17 victory and more known for fans at Giants Stadium retaliating by throwing snowballs at players and coaches as they exited out of the field.

    The game—which ended up resulting in arrests of fans—included a Chargers coach getting hit in the face with a snowball.

    Type in "giants chargers" in Google and the first words that appear are "snowball game."

14. O.J. Simpson Breaks 2,000 Yards Against Jets, 1973

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    On a blustery, snowy, freezing December day in 1973, Buffalo Bills running back O.J. Simpson broke 2,000 yards for the season in New York against the Jets, becoming the first player to do so in the NFL's history.

    He ran for over 200 yards that day, Dec. 16, despite the haphazard conditions.

13. Packers Vs. Seahawks, 2008

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    In what turned out to be Brett Favre's second-to-last game with the Green Bay Packers, the Packers blew out the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round of the playoffs in 2008, 42-20.

    The game was perhaps most known for Favre throwing  a snowball at teammate Donald Driver like a kid in the closing minutes.

    The Packers scored a touchdown in six consecutive possessions in this one.

    Game temperature was 28 degrees.

12. Notre Dame Vs. Penn State, 1992

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    This is one of the few games to be labeled "The Snow Bowl."

    And what a great game it was.

    It was almost too perfect.

    Not only were Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions going up against Lou Holtz' Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the movie Rudy was being filmed at the time on the Notre Dame campus.

    Amid heavy snow, the game turned out to be a great one.

    Late in the game, the Fighting Irish found themselves trailing 16-9.

    In the closing minutes, QB Rick Mirer hit future Pittsburgh Steelers great Jerome Bettis wide open in the flat—cruising into the end zone to cut the game to a one-point deficit.

    Holtz, known as "The Gambler," told Mirer to go for it and the Irish converted, winning the game 17-16.

    An inch of snow ended up on the field by game's end.

11. 1979 Cotton Bowl

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    The 1979 Cotton Bowl Classic, known as "The Chicken Soup Game," featured the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Houston Cougars.

    The two teams played an unusually cold game in Dallas that year, following the worst ice storm to hit the city in 30 years.

    Wind probably affected this game more so than any other game in sports history—all 69 points were scored on whichever team defended the north end zone.

    The game was marked by the great Joe Montana leading the Fighting Irish to a come-from-behind victory, 35-34, despite suffering from the flu.

10. 2008 NFC Championship Game

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    GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 20:  A fan of the Green Bay Packers holds up a sign during the NFC championship game against the New York Giants on January 20, 2008 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Giants defeated the Packers 23-20 in overtime to adv
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    The 2008 NFC Championship Game, featuring the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers, was measured at zero degrees at the start of regulation (-18 windchill).

    The game, which went into overtime, saw Eli Manning's Giants defeat Brett Favre's Packers in Favre's last game as a Packer.

    The Giants went on to win the Super Bowl.

9. 1982 AFC Championship Game, Bengals Vs. Chargers

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    At -9 degrees Fahrenheit, the 1982 AFC Championship Game between the Cincinnati Bengals and San Diego Chargers proved to be the second-coldest game in NFL history.

    It was so cold, there were actually documented cases of frostbite at the game.

    Bengals QB Ken Anderson suffered frost bite on his right ear.

    The temperature was not only -9 degrees, but the wind chill it measured at -58 degrees, by far the worst in league history.

    Anderson at least got a trip to the Super Bowl with a 27-7 win.

8. Mud Bowl, 1977

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    This 1977 playoff game between the Los Angeles Rams and Minnesota Vikings was bizarre in that there was an unusual amount of rain in L.A.

    Vikings coach Bud Grant had QB Bob Lee throw early before the field turned to slop, a wise strategy considering—well—the field turned to slop.

    The Vikings went on to win, 14-7 in the muddy affair.

7. 1934 NFL Championship

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    The 1934 NFL Championship between the Chicago Bears and New York Giants was precluded by overnight freezing rain and 0 degree temperatures.

    During play, the temperature was never higher than 25 degrees.

    Because of the frozen tundra, the Giants decided to run back on the field after halftime with regular basketball sneakers on.

    The sneakers proved more effective on the frozen ground and the Giants went on to win, 30-13.

    It became known as "The Sneakers Game."

6. Dolphins Vs. Patriots, 1982

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    Featuring 20 degree weather, heavy snow, and gusts up to 30 miles per hour, the game between the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots on Dec. 12, 1982, became more of a struggle than a football game.

    Snow was so bad nobody was able to score points until 4:45 remaining, when Patriots kicker John Smith booted home a 33-yarder to win the game, 3-0.

    The game became known as "The Snowplow Game" because a snowplow was used to actually clear a space for the winning field goal.

5. Thanksgiving Game 1993, Cowboys Vs. Dolphins

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    This game is most-known for Cowboys' defensive lineman Leon Lett's huge gaff near the end zone that lost the game for the team (well, one of his huge gaffs, that is).

    On Thanksgiving in 1993, the Dallas Cowboys were clinging to a 14-13 lead with just seconds remaining in the game.

    With the game on the line, Miami's Pete Stoyanovich attempted a 40-yard field goal.

    It was blocked, leading NBC's Dick Enberg to proclaim, "The Dallas Cowboys will win."

    Not so fast, Enberg.

    A split second later, Lett stumbled to the ball like a freight train and for no apparent reason tried to fall on the ball.

    The ball ended up in the Dolphins' possession.

    They proceeded to kick a field goal to win the game, 16-14.

    Emmitt Smith was beside himself.

4. Ohio State Vs. Michigan, 1950

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    This was THE Snow Bowl of all Snow Bowls.

    In 1950, the Michigan Wolverines headed to Colombus, Ohio to face the Ohio State Buckeyes.

    When they arrived, they found out that they would be playing in nearly a foot of snow, facing 5 degree temperatures and wins up to 40 miles per hour.

    A game that only featured field goals and, get this—45 punts—the Wolverines ended up winning the battle, 9-3.

    Ohio State's Vic Janowicz braved through nearly frozen hands only for his team to come up short.

3. Tuck Rule Game, 2002

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    In the 2002 AFC playoffs, the New England Patriots' snowy 16-13 win over the Oakland Raiders proved to be the start of a dynasty.

    The game was named "The Tuck Rule Game" after the Raiders appeared to win the game when cornerback Charles Woodson knocked the ball out of QB Tom Brady's hands with a 13-10 lead and only 1:43 to play.

    But officials ruled that Brady tucked the ball in, which can't result in a fumble.

    The Patriots went on to send it into overtime with a field goal, ultimately winning the game.

    Some Raiders players still complain about it to this day.

2. Fog Bowl, 1988

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    During the 1988 playoffs between the Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles, a dense fog rolled onto the field during the game, making it nearly impossible to play.

    Numerous players complained they couldn't see 10 yards in front of them.

    Both teams were forced to use their running game because receivers couldn't see long passes.

    It ended up working in the Bears' favor, with linebacker Mike Singletary leading the charge to a 20-12 win.

    Singletary ranted about how fun the game was, further demonstrating why linebackers are indeed a little off.

1. Ice Bowl, 1967

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    The 1967 NFL Championship between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys became known as the "Ice Bowl" because, well, it was icy.

    It's considered one of the greatest football games ever played, which makes sense given the rivalry, what was at stake, the weather conditions and two Hall of Fame coaches in Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry going at it.

    It remains the coldest game ever in the NFL, at -15 degrees with a wind chill of -48 degrees.

    Lambeau Field's turf-heating system actually malfunctioned before the game, leaving the turf rock-hard.

    Officials actually had to resort to calling out plays and penalties because when referee Norm Schachter blew his metal whistle, it actually froze to his lips.

    Packers great Ray Nitschke said the next day he had six of his toes were frostbitten.

    QB Bart Starr's QB sneak behind "The Block" gave the Packers the win, 21-17.

    It was their third consecutive championship.


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