The Ice Bowl, 50 years later: An oral history of the Packers-Cowboys 1967 NFL Championship Game
ON DEC. 31, 1967, THE PACKERS EDGED THE COWBOYS, 21-17, IN A GAME FOR THE AGES. HERE’S THE STORY OF THE ICE BOWL AS TOLD BY THOSE WHO PLAYED IN IT AND WITNESSED IT.
by Gary D’Amato
It would have been a great game if it had been played on a sweltering September afternoon or on a crisp autumn day in November or even indoors, if there were domed football stadiums in 1967.
That year, the NFL Championship Game pitted Vince Lombardi’s proud but aging Green Bay Packers, seeking an unprecedented third consecutive title, against Tom Landry’s Dallas Cowboys, an ascending team out for revenge after losing narrowly to the Packers in the ’66 championship game.
Eight Packers and four Cowboys who took the field that day would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Both coaches would be enshrined, too. The Packers had guile and experience and a field general named Bart Starr. The Cowboys had youth and superior team speed and their “Doomsday Defense.”
Yes, it would have been a great game on any day, in any kind of weather.
It would be played, though, on New Year’s Eve day in Green Bay, in the kind of weather that tested the limits of what a man could endure.
The official low temperature at Austin Straubel Airport that day was 17 below zero. With Arctic winds whipping out of the northwest, the wind chill dipped to 50 below at Lambeau Field, its turf frozen solid and topped by a layer of ice, so that players slipped and slid and fell on what felt like jagged concrete.
The game would be decided in the closing seconds, at the conclusion of a drive that bordered on the mystical, with Starr plunging into the end zone to put a symbolic exclamation mark on the Lombardi era.
Fifty years ago Sunday, on Dec. 31, 1967, the Packers edged the Cowboys, 21-17, in a game for the ages.
The Ice Bowl.
It was and remains the coldest game in NFL history. It is among the most memorable games in league annals because of the wretched conditions, what was at stake and the dramatic way it ended.