The penultimate day of 1967 was as beautiful as it gets in Green Bay in late December. Chilly http://www.neworleanssaintsteamonlines.com/marcus-davenport-jersey , yes, but the Dallas Cowboys enjoyed the sunshine as they practiced at Lambeau Field for their New Year’s Eve game against the Green Bay Packers.
”You could work up a sweat,” said Dan Reeves, then a running back for Dallas. ”You just knew the next day was going to be a great day for football.”
It was sure looking that way for everyone who loved the NFL. Bart Starr was under center for the Packers, and the Cowboys countered with Don Meredith and Bob Hayes, the 1964 Olympic 100-meter gold medalist. The Cowboys and Packers were meeting for the second straight year for the NFL championship, with the winner going to Super Bowl No. 2 (the NFL had yet to get around to Roman numerals) against the champions of the American Football League.
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That night, opposing coaches Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry got together with NFL officials and other team members at the Oneida Country Club for a dinner. The mood was upbeat for a league still trying to digest the merger with the AFL and turn the Super Bowl into a must-see game.
Things were not so cheerful the next morning, when the wakeup call at the Holiday Inn sent startled players to their windows to see what it was all about.
”Good morning 49ers Jeremiah Attaochu Jersey ,” the operator said. ”It’s 7:30 a.m. and 17 below zero.”
It’s one of the defining games of the NFL, a contest played on tundra that truly was frozen by men who really weren’t prepared for the conditions. The game that became known as the Ice Bowl joined the 1958 NFL championship game and the 1969 Super Bowl as one of a trio of iconic contests in the space of a decade that cemented the league into the consciousness of America’s sports fans.
Cowboys executive Gil Brandt wasn’t thinking of history that morning as he stood in the lobby of the Holiday Inn in Appleton. He just wanted something to keep his feet warm as the Cowboys waited for the buses to take them to Lambeau Field.
He found them on the feet of one of the bus drivers.
”I asked if somebody would rent me their boots for $20,” Brandt said. ”They said they weren’t boots but galoshes. But one guy rented me his.”
Players were just as ill prepared. They had long underwear and heaters on the sidelines but little else. For the Cowboys, that meant no gloves for their hands.
”Our (defensive) coach, Ernie Stautner, told our defense that we weren’t going to wear gloves. Said, `Gloves are for sissies,”’ Cowboys lineman Bob Lilly said. ”Well, we go out to warm up and all the Packers had gloves on.”
It was Cheap Sebastian Janikowski Jersey , as Sports Illustrated would write the next week, the coldest New Year’s Eve in the cold history of Green Bay.
”It should have been canceled, but I think the commissioner was watching the West Coast game in Oakland,” Dallas linebacker Lee Roy Jordan said. ”He probably had a nice comfortable day out there.”
How cold was it? The reading at game time was 15 below, with wind chill in today’s calculations at minus-48.
It was so cold that when referee Norm Shachter blew the metal whistle to start play, it froze to lips. When he tried to pry it off, it tore a chunk of his lip off with it.
”He bled most of the game,” Jordan said. ”After that, the NFL went to plastic whistles so it wouldn’t freeze to lips.”
Lambeau Field had heating coils underneath http://www.seattleseahawksteamonline.com/alex-mcgough-jersey , but they were no match for cold this extreme. Compounding the mistake was putting a tarp over the field overnight, which kept moisture in that would later freeze when it was pulled off.
Wide receiver Carroll Dale’s toenails froze and turned black. His frostbit ears are still sensitive today, 50 years later.
Every time Reeves shaves he sees the scar from a tooth that went through his upper lip when he slipped and fell on the frozen field, while Jordan still gets the shivers.
”For years, every time I got in chilly weather I thought I was going to have a relapse,” Jordan said. ”A lot of us had frostbite on our hands. If we had checked back then, probably a lot of us had frostbite on our lungs. But back then we didn’t check much of anything.”
The Packers scored the first time they got the ball, with Starr mixing the running and passing game beautifully. The lead soon became 14-0, and the Cowboys looked like a team that wanted to be anywhere on Dec. 31 than in frigid Green Bay.
Hayes Cheap Rick Leonard Jersey , the star Cowboys receiver, was so cold he kept his hands in his pants when his number wasn’t called, something Green Bay defenders quickly picked up on.
”The first mistake of the day was made by Bob Hayes when he came out of the huddle with his hands in his pants,” Packers offensive lineman Jerry Kramer said. ”When he was in the pattern he took his hands out.”
The Cowboys managed to cut the lead to 14-10 at halftime thanks to a fumble recovery for a touchdown and a field goal. But the Packers still seemed in control until Dallas made adjustments at halftime and shut down the Packers’ offense for most of the second half.
Starr would be sacked a total of eight times, and when Reeves hit Lance Rentzel for a 50-yard touchdown pass on a halfback option in the fourth quarter to take the lead, the Cowboys seemed on their way to the Super Bowl in toasty Miami Beach.
”They were playing lights-out defense in the second half and we were getting our fannies kicked,” Dale said. ”It wasn’t looking good.”
If it was.