December 31, 2017

"Blood was spurting everywhere. Blood was hitting the ref's face and turning into red icicles. It's a sight I'll always remember."

It was 50 years ago today — The "Ice Bowl"!
In the Cowboys' locker room, players were in a daze, praying that NFL Commis­sioner Pete Rozelle would postpone the game.... The stadium was packed with 50,861 hearty souls who braved the 48-degree below zero wind chill factor with ski masks, blankets and flasks full of brandy....

"I'll always remember (tight end) Marv Fleming being in the huddle and how cold he was and he was trying to keep his hands warm," said Forrest Gregg, who was the Packers' right offensive tackle. "Sometimes when we were out there and time was out, I'd have him put his hands under my arms and I'd clamp down on them trying to keep his hands warm."

The method worked, and suddenly the Packers' huddle had a strange look to it. All the wide receivers and running backs on one side were sticking their arms and hands out so the linemen on the other side could stick them under their armpits.

"When I wasn't doing that, I was sticking my hands down in my crotch area," said run­ning back Donny Anderson....
Much more at the link!

27 comments:

Greg Hlatky said...

Apparently the field was like falling on razor blades.

The referees couldn't use their whistles.

If Dallas went 0-16 fpr the next 200 years I would still hate them.

mockturtle said...

The stadium was packed with 50,861 hearty souls who braved the 48-degree below zero wind chill factor with ski masks, blankets and flasks full of brandy....

Shouldn't that be hardy souls?

Ann Althouse said...

"Shouldn't that be hardy souls?"

I think there's a good argument for either word, but please consult my 2005 blog post ""Party hardy" or "party hearty"?"

eddie willers said...

It was a great game and I was happy I was at home and wearing gym shorts and a T shirt.

But what made it SO memorial was the NFL film with the famous narration: "On the frozen tundra!"

Greg Hlatky said...


Actually, "the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field" was Chris Berman spoofing John Facenda.

eddie willers said...

Actually, "the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field" was Chris Berman spoofing John Facenda.

I read that on Wikipedia. It is wrong.

David said...

I was in Geneva, Illinois, west of Chicago, on the day of that game. Went outside mid morning for the first time. Could not believe that they would play football in that, and Green Bay was 170 miles further north.

But they did. It was mesmerizing from our comfortable living room.

I still think Mercien was the true hero. Without him (and Anderson I guess) the Packers would not have been anywhere near the end zone at the end. The backs had a disadvantage because they could not cut. But that may have actually helped Mercien, who could not cut on good turf. He was in his element as a straight line runner.

Greg Hlatky said...

I read that on Wikipedia. It is wrong.

OK, mistakes were made. I take responsibility if anyone was offended. But I will continue to fight for frozen tundras everywhere.

Yancey Ward said...

It has been funny reading about this latest cold snap like it is some sort of mega-historical thing- it isn't. I am starting to think there is almost no one left alive from January 1982, January 1985, January 1994, or even from January 2015. Really, those were paralyzing deep freezes that make this one look like Miami in a relative sense.

Yancey Ward said...

Or even December of 1988.

EDH said...

Blood was spurting everywhere. Blood was hitting the ref's face and turning into red icicles. It's a sight I'll always remember...

"Nipples as hard as little rocks."

Original Mike said...

Frozen tundra is hyperbole. More accurately, it's the frozen taiga.

rhhardin said...

The only football games worth watching are extreme-conditons ones. Ice or mud.

Robert Frost poem

Original Mike said...

"In the Cowboys' locker room, players were in a daze, praying that NFL Commis­sioner Pete Rozelle would postpone the game."

That's great.

There is no postponing in football. At least, there didn't used to be. Now they postpone if someone saw a lightning bolt.

Gahrie said...

There is no postponing in football. At least, there didn't used to be

Hell this year they actually cancelled the last game of the season because they didn't want the bad press of a crappy match up and an empty stadium.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lpratsch@verizon.net said...

I was there. Bought 4 tickets at $12.50 apiece. Took three buddies, one just home from nam! It was so cold that if you ordered a beer and a hot dog at one of the food stands below the bleachers, and if they poured the beer first and then made your hot dog, by the time you paid the beer foam was frozen and the beer was slushy. In the men's room boys were standing on top of the urinals to warm up in the steam arising from the urinals. I still have the ticket stubs and a pennant we ripped off a pole. A high school friend actually wheeled his acetylene
torch onto the field and cut-down a goal post.

Gahrie said...

My favorite memory of playing football was playing in the cold rain and mud, in December in England on a field so lopsided that when you stood in the lower end zone, you couldn't see the yardlines in the higher end zone.

Ann Althouse said...

@lpratsch@verizon.net said..

Thanks for telling your story!

exiledonmainstreet said...

my father had tickets to go,but gave them away the day before because my mother went into labor 3 weeks early with my youngest sibling. he watched the game in the waiting room at the hospital and was glad my kid brother decided to show up a bit early.

mockturtle said...

I think there's a good argument for either word, but please consult my 2005 blog post ""Party hardy" or "party hearty"?"

In this context--extremely cold weather--it would seem that 'hardy' is the better choice.

Party 'hearty' not only rhymes but is more descriptive of the situation.

hayek said...

It was so cold that even I felt the chili as I watched the game from the warmth of my living room.

walter said...

lpratsch@verizon.net said...A high school friend actually wheeled his acetylene
torch onto the field and cut-down a goal post.
--
There's a guy thinking ahead.

Martin said...

All these comments and nobody has mentioned Jerry Kramer and "Instant Replay." I guess it's up to me.

Greatest football book ever (tho, "The Blind Side" comes close). If you are at all interested in the Packers' 1960's dynasty and esp. the Ice Bowl, you have to get that book.

btb, Kramer threw the block that let Starr score the winning TD, after Mercein and Anderson had set it up.

walter said...

Though there was no stadium crowd to watch, conditions were rough at the "mosquito bowl".

Bay Area Guy said...

You think any of these warriors in the Ice Bowl. would ever take a knee for the National Anthem?

I doubt it.

Mazo Jeff said...

I, also, was there with my sister. In those days, there were "black out" rules so living in the GB area, the tv was unavailable. My dad, through the business, had season tickets but my parents, with some friends, got hotel rooms in Fond du Lac because they could pick up Milwaukee tv.

To me the legacy of the GB Packers is family. Between the Ice Bowl with my sister and the NFC Championship vs the Giants with my son, (the second coldest game in GB history??and Bert Ferve last game as a Packer), I went to many games with my parents, grandfather, uncles, aunts, brother and my own kids. Back then, they had a special kid's section. For a $1 ticket, mom and dad could dump the kids there and sit with the adults drinking beer. Pepole used to dress up to go to the games. Men in suit and tie, women in dresses. That is why we love the GB Packers