How ‘The Ice Bowl’ Became An Instant Classic In 1967

How ‘The Ice Bowl’ Became An Instant Classic In 1967

The contest between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys in 1967 was one for the history books. It saw the Super Bowl champions take on the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Championship Game. The game became known as ‘The Ice Bowl’ due to the frosty weather conditions and the long history between coaches Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry.

The history

There was quite a lot of history in this game as Lombardi and Landry had previously worked together at the New York Giants. The Packers and Cowboys were also renewing their rivalry from a year previous, when they also contested the NFL Championship Game.

With the Packers winning that game and going on to become the first-ever Super Bowl champions, the Cowboys were out for revenge. That title had followed the Packers around all year, and the Cowboys wanted some of the action. With so much at stake, there was nothing left for both teams to do but step out onto the field and play. What transpired on the gridiron that day didn’t disappoint.

The Ice Bowl

This championship game was called the Ice Bowl not only because of this frosty rivalry between the coaches and teams, but also the harsh weather conditions. The game was played at Lambeau Field, in December, and the conditions were freezing. Both coaches were the polar opposites of each other, with Lombardi barking orders at his players from the beginning until the end.

Landry, on the other hand, was stoic and barely flinched, even under intense pressure. There were rumors that the game was going to be called off due to the freezing conditions in the build-up to the game, but it wasn’t.

People were expecting a cold game, but it turned out to be much colder than first thought after a cold front moved in, making it the coldest game in NFL history. That record still stands, as players lined up in -13 degree conditions.

Competing with the weather

While the weather conditions were memorable, the main reason people still talk about The Ice Bowl is because of the action. There were 50,000 fans packed into the arena, and they saw Green Bay take an early 14-0 lead. It was thought that the ‘fair-weather’ Cowboys would struggle to perform in the frosty conditions, and it seemed to be playing out that way. However, that weather also began to take its toll on the Packers. Two Packers fumbles led to Dallas turning things around, and they overturned their deficit to lead 17-14 with just under five minutes left.

One last gamble

The Packers players were under pressure, and they had tried their best to run the ball over the line. It just wasn’t happening, but with 16 seconds left, the Packers had one last play to try and please their fans. Just two feet separated the Packers from victory, but there were no more timeouts left after quarterback Bart Starr consulted with Lombardi.

A pass would do it, but the field was a sheet of ice and too risky. Instead, Starr took matters into his own hands and dove for the line, surprising everyone and sealing the victory for the Packers. Starr later said the Packers had “run out of ideas,” while his coach, Lombardi, said they “gambled and won.”