Cold games bring warm memories of past NFL playoffs

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (BestGrowthStock) – The NFL made a bold move for a memorable championship by setting up the first winter weather Super Bowl by awarding the 48th edition of the U.S. sporting extravaganza to the New York area in 2014.

NFL owners in Dallas took four ballots to decide to stage the game at the New Meadowlands Stadium shared by the New York Giants and Jets, with opponents worried about frigid cold and snow flurries that could hit the area that time of year.

To others, brutal conditions provide a perfect backdrop to high drama on the gridiron and conjure warm memories of classic playoff contests such as the 1967 NFL title game which came to be known as the “Ice Bowl.”

Quarterback Bart Starr’s 1-yard plunge with 13 seconds left gave Green Bay a 21-17 win over the visiting Dallas Cowboys for the Packers’ third successive title.

Starr’s score, on third down with no timeouts left, climaxed a 68-yard game-winning drive. A Lambeau Field crowd of 50,861 watched the NFL’s coldest game with kickoff temperature registered at 13-below zero (-25 C).

The contest was later voted the greatest game ever in professional American football.

TUCK RULE

Another wintry struggle led to a rule-book refinement in a January 2002 AFC divisional playoff between the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders now called the “tuck rule game.”

Played in a heavy snowfall, the tight contest turned on a controversial play late in the game when Raiders’ cornerback Charles Woodson sacked Pats’ quarterback Tom Brady, which seemingly caused a fumble recovered by Oakland.

Officials reviewed the play and determined that Brady’s arm was moving forward, thus making it an incomplete pass.

The original call was overturned and the ball was given back to the Patriots, who moved into field-goal range.

With under a minute remaining, Pats’ placekicker Adam Vinatieri booted a 45-yard field goal to forge a 13-13 tie. In overtime, Vinatieri hit a 23-yarder to win it for the Patriots, who went on to win the first Super Bowl in a run of three titles in four years.

GREATEST COMEBACK

A frigid January day in 1993 saw the NFL’s greatest playoff comeback.

The Buffalo Bills trailed the Houston Oilers by 32 points after slumping to the locker room down 28-3 at halftime, but they rallied back for a 41-38 overtime win behind backup quarterback Frank Reich, filling in for Jim Kelly.

Three seasons ago, the Giants won another icy game at Lambeau with Scottish-born placekicker Lawrence Tynes booting the winning field goal to make up for two earlier misses.

In temperatures that plunged to minus-3 F and turned Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre’s face a painful-looking bright red, the Giants beat the Packers 23-20 in overtime.

The tussle lifted the Giants to the Super Bowl where they ended the Patriots’ quest for a perfect unbeaten season.

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(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Cold games bring warm memories of past NFL playoffs