Lambeau Field’s Frozen Tundra for the Ice Bowl
The MMQB presents NFL 95, a special project running through mid-July detailing 95 artifacts that tell the story of the NFL, as the league prepares to enter its 95th season. See the entire series here.
When the Packers and Cowboys awoke on Dec. 31, 1967, the day of the NFL Championship Game, they were greeted by temperatures of minus-15 degrees with the wind chill around minus-48 degrees. Lambeau Field, which had fine footing during the walkthrough the previous day, had become a sheet of ice because the turf-heating system had malfunctioned. When the tarps were taken off the field, the moisture on top flash froze.
Temps warmed to a balmy -13 and -38 wind chill by kickoff. The conditions would negate one of Dallas’ biggest assets, its team speed. But the Cowboys finally adjusted to the weather and took a 17-14 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter when running back Dan Reeves threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Lance Rentzel on a halfback option play. The Packers had the ball at the 32-yard line with 4:50 left in the game. Three completions from quarterback Bart Starr to Boyd Dowler, Donny Anderson and Chuck Mercein, and a Mercein 8-yard run got Green Bay to the Dallas 3-yard line. Anderson ran to the 1 the one for a first down, then twice more for no gain, leaving the Packers with third-and-goal at the 1-yard line with 16 seconds remaining and no timeouts left. Starr and right guard Jerry Kramer thought they could get enough traction for a quarterback sneak. “Run it, and let’s get the hell out of here!” was Vince Lombardi’s reply. Kramer and center Ken Bowman doubled Cowboys defensive tackle Jethro Pugh to allow Starr to cross the goal line for an eventual 20-17 victory.
The win earned the Packers a trip to Super Bowl II two weeks later, where they beat the Raiders 33-14 at the Orange Bowl in Miami. Temperature at kickoff was 68 degrees.
—Greg A. Bedard