Playing sports outdoors in the elements has created some of the most memorable moments in sports history. The conditions change every element of the game, not only for the coaches and players, but even the spectators. Watching the NFL games during week 14 which were played in near blizzard conditions reminded me of some of the best crazy weather moments in sports. From playing in sub zero temperatures to blinding fog, there are some quite interesting stories whenever Mother Nature leaves her mark on the world of sports. In the following sections we will take a look at some of the best games played in downright awful (or perhaps awesome!) conditions.
During CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers this spring, Costa Rica visited the USA in what would turn out to be a game that some wondered if it should have been played at all. The conditions were nearly a complete whiteout in Commerce City, Colorado and the game became affectionately known as the Snow Classico. The controversy came after the US took a 1-0 victory and the Costa Rican side argued that the game should not ever have been played and the results should be disregarded. This obviously never happened, but helped build what is becoming a very interesting rivalry between these two nations.
The Ice Bowl
Perhaps one of the most famous sporting events of all time in ugly conditions was the infamous Ice Bowl. This chill fest happened in the 1967 NFL Championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys fighting for a spot in the second Super Bowl. The game was held on the “frozen tundra” of Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin where temperatures plummeted to around -15 F (-28C) with wind chills approaching -50 F (-44 C). The extreme cold made the field’s turf heating system malfunction, and to make matters worse, pockets of moisture formed on the playing surface which flash-froze instantly, creating a sheet of ice that only worsened conditions as the game progressed.
Speaking of bad NFL games, Philadelphia and Detroit recently engaged in one of the most entertaining matches of the year in blizzard conditions. You can call it the snow brawl, or maybe the Snowpocalypse – regardless, close to 8 inches of snow fell from the time of pregame warmups to the whistle’s final blow. The game started out slow, but turned into a back and forth battle with LeSean McCoy absolutely blowing up in the final quarter, taking advantage of the conditions to help the Eagles get over 200 rushing yards in the fourth quarter alone. Game’s like these are the things of every little kid’s dreams and provided a memorable experience for everyone able to watch it unfold.
The Snow Bowl
Perhaps the snowiest sports event of all time was between Ohio State and Michigan all the way back in 1950. Temperatures hovered around 5 F (- 15 C) with close to a foot of snow on the field and intense wind gusting over 40 miles per hour. These conditions created one of the worst playing surfaces in history and resulted in some absolutely awful statistics. The game featured an amazing 45 punts and only 12 total points. Check out these clips of the game appropriately dubbed the Snow Bowl.
Football on a foggy day
Snow and rain can make for some crazy playing conditions, but most athletes never get the chance to play in near blinding fog. In 1988, however, the NFL’s Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles played in the epic match known simply as the Fog Bowl. It has been said that visibility was so bad, most players couldn’t see anything beyond the first down marker ten yards down the field which led to both teams essentially abandoning the passing game entirely and relying on a ground game to move the ball down the field. Mike Singletary’s Bears ended up taking the victory despite some of the strangest conditions that a match could be played in.
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