Written By: Brian Neudorff
An arctic blast is set to move into the plains and stretch all the way to the east coast by the end of the weekend. Our forecasted highs here in Rochester for Sunday are expected to be in the teens. This blast of arctic air will definitely have an impact on the two NFL conference title games being played this Sunday.
The AFC Championship Game takes place at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. between the San Diego Chargers and the New England Patriots which you can watch on WROC at 3 pm, while the NFC Championship Game takes place at Lambeau Field in Green Bay Wisconsin as the Green Bay Packers host the New York Giants, which can be seen on FOX Rochester at 6:30 pm.
Both games are going to be played in very cold conditions as temperatures in Foxboro are forecasted to be in the low 20s with wind chills near or slightly below zero through out the game. It will be much colder in Green Bay, as temperatures at kick off are expected to be in the single digits and get near or below zero, but winds are not forecasted to be as strong as they are in New England.
Knowing how cold it's supposed to get this weekend I was curious how this weekends games stacked up to previous playoff games played in frigid conditions. Here are the top 5 coldest NFL playoff games:
1) December 31, 1967 - NFL Championship Game between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau Field. Commonly called the "Ice Bowl" because temperature was -13 degrees F and the wind chill was -48 degrees F. The Packers beat the Cowboys in the final 13 seconds of the game as quarterback Bart Star scored on a 1 yard rushing touchdown. The final score was 27-17.
2) January 10, 1982 - AFC Championship Game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the San Diego Chargers at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, OH. Game time temperature was 9 below but is the coldest game ever for wind chill at 59 degrees below zero, as winds gusted up to 35 mph. The Bengals beat the Chargers 27-7, and the only weather related injury was a frost bitten left ear by Bengals defensive end Eddie Edwards.
3) January 7, 1996 - AFC Playoff Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Indianapolis Colts at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. Temperature was -6 degrees F and the Colts defeated the Chiefs 10-7.
4) January 4, 1981 - AFC Playoff Game between the Cleveland Browns and the Oakland Raiders at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, OH. Temperature was 5 below zero and snow fell during part of the game. This time the warm weather team, the Oakland Raiders, came out on top holding off the Browns 14-12.
5) January 15, 1994 - this one brings us a little closer to home with an AFC playoff game between the Buffalo Bills and the Oakland Raiders at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, NY. Temperature was right at zero with a wind chill of 32 below. The Bills came out victorious thanks to a late Jim Kelly touchdown with a score of 29-23.
Honorable mention goes to the AFC playoff game between the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro Mass. on January 10, 2004. Temperature was 4 degrees F and the wind chill 10 below zero. The Patriots pulled it out with a 4th quarter field goal by Adam Vinatieri. This game is actually number 6 and I mention it because it took place fairly recently in the past 5 years.
If you are curious about other bitterly cold NFL games and their history I found the above information at Forbes.com in an article titled "The NFL's Coldest Games."
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