The Ice Bowl
by Rob Holecko
On This Day... 44 years ago, December 31, 1967, what some would say the greatest game ever (1958 Colts-Giants NFL Championship not withstanding) was played in cold frigid conditions. The Cowboys and Packers met for the NFL title for the second year in a row, and the second time in the calendar year. On January 1, they met for the 1966 title at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, and now on the last day of the year they again met for the 1967 title. This would be the Packers defining moment of their 1960s dynasty. It would be their fifth NFL title in seven years, and their eleventh overall, having previously won six titles in an earlier era, from 1929 through 1944.
From the Pro Football Hall of Fame's website, here is the write-up of the game:
Pro football fans in Green Bay, Wisconsin have always been recognized as a loyal and hearty bunch. But one wouldn’t have faulted even the most loyal "Packer Backer" if he’d decided not to attend the 1967 NFL Championship game between the Packers and Dallas Cowboys. Played at Lambeau Field on December 31, the temperature at game time registered a frigid 13 degrees below zero. Nonetheless, more than 50,000 parka-clad fans braved the elements that New Year’s Eve and watched in awe as the Packers claimed their third consecutive NFL title, with a 21-17 victory.
From the start, Green Bay fans felt their team had a distinct advantage over the warm-weather Cowboys, After all, the Packers lived and practiced in the cold Wisconsin climate. Green Bay’s early 14-0 lead probably convinced fans that they were right. However, the severe weather affected the Packers too. Dallas scored a touchdown and a field goal after two Packer fumbles and added a second touchdown in the fourth quarter. Suddenly, with 4:50 left in the game the Packers were behind, 17-14.
The Packers literally and figuratively "kept their cool." Behind the leadership of future Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr, they marched down field. With sixteen seconds remaining and the temperature down to eighteen below zero, the Packers found themselves about two feet away from victory. Starr called time out. The field was like a sheet of ice. The two previous running plays had gone nowhere. With no time outs left, a running play seemed totally out of the question. A completed pass surely would win it. Even an incomplete pass would at least stop the clock so the Packers could set up a field goal to tie the game and send it into overtime. After consulting with Packers coach Vince Lombardi, Starr returned to the huddle.Starr took the snap from center Ken Bowman. Bowman and guard Jerry Kramer combined to take out Dallas tackle Jethro Pugh. With Pugh out of the way, Starr surprised everyone and dove over for the score. "We had run out of ideas," Starr said of the play. However, Lombardi put it another way, "We gambled and we won."
We are proud to add this remarkable game to our database of head-to-head matchups in the Gridiron Uniform Database. So for the final time in 2011, we at the Gridiron Uniform Database will bid you adieu and look forward to seeing you next year, with more head-to-head matchups, more weekly uniform rankings, more On This Day... and much, much more to be added to the database in 2012.