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9 Greatest Snow Games in the History of the NFL

by: Esteban On  Monday, December 9, 2013

greatest memorable nfl snow games

Yesterday, the Philadelphia Eagles played the Detroit Lions at Lincoln Financial Field under conditions that, at times, could only be described as blizzard-like. Only light snow showers had been forecasted, but mother nature ended up dumping a half foot of the white stuff on the Philadelphia area. And while it played havoc with the coaches’ game plans, it ended up being a fantastic game that was a lot of fun to watch from the comfort of your couch…wrapped in a blanket and a clutching warm cup of coffee.

There’s no doubt in my mind that this game will go down as one of the most memorable snow games in NFL history. However, I’m not quite ready to make the call on where, exactly, this one fits. So in the meantime, lets take a look at other famous snow games on the short list. Some were played recently, while others took place a generation ago. However, they were all made more memorable thanks to a blanket of the white stuff.

Take a look, and if you want, weigh in and let us know where you think the Eagles-Lions game ranks.


9. 2008 NFC Divisional Playoff at Lambeau

Seahawks at Packers – January 12, 2008

In Brett Favre’s last season in Green Bay before taking his talents to Jersey, he led the Packers to a 13-3 record and home field advantage through the NFC Championship Game. Unfortunately for Packers faithful, they would lose that NFC Championship Game to Eli Manning and the New York Giants. However, they did pull off a big win over the Seattle Seahawks in the Divisional game—which got snowier…and snowier…and snowier as it went along. It would prove to be Favre’s last win as a Packer, and he did it under quintessential Lambeau conditions.


8. The Thanksgiving Classic

Dolphins at Cowboys – November 25, 1993

Any game with “Classic” in the nickname has to be good, right? Well, the Cowboys-Dolphins game in 1993 certainly was. Or at least, it had one hell of an ending.

Playing in extremely rare Texas snow, the defending Super Bowl champion Cowboys took a 14-13 lead into the final seconds. Then they managed to block a Miami field goal that would have won the game, seemingly wrapping up the victory for themselves. However, it turned out that Leon Lett—the guy who had made an absolutely fool of himself in Super Bowl XXVII—touched the ball after it bounced away. The Dolphins then recovered it, which gave them possession. And on their second try at the game-winning field goal, they nailed it.


7. The Bronco Blizzard

Packers at Broncos – October 15, 1984

Yes, that’s right, October 15. You never know what kind of weather you’re going to get in Denver, and on that day in early fall they got a blizzard. But they decided to play football anyway, and it turned out to be one wild game in which history would be made.

What history, you ask? Well, on the first play from scrimmage, the Packers fumbled the ball and it was returned for a touchdown. Then, on the second play from scrimmage, the Packers fumbled again, and again it was returned for a touchdown.

Broncos up 14-0. It was the first and still only time in NFL history a team’s defense has scored on the first two plays from scrimmage.

The Broncos would go on to win the game 17-14 on a field goal by famed barefooted kicker Rich Karlis.


6. The Snow Bowl

Buccaneers at Packers – December 1, 1985

People much every time it snows a lot at an NFL game, people call it the Snow Bowl. However, this one is The Snow Bowl.

Of course, you may be asking, doesn’t it snow at about one-third of all Packers games? What makes this one so special?

Well let me tell you, this was no ordinary snow game. There was a foot of snow on the ground at game-time, and another four to five inches fell during the game. As result, about two-third of the people who had bought tickets decided not to use them that day. That means there were only 19,856 in attendance, while over 36,000 people decided to watch the game at home.

If you people of Green Bay think the weather is too bad to watch football, you know it’s bad.

Oh, the Packers beat their visitors from The Sunshine State quite easily, 21-0.


5. The (Other) Snow Bowl

Bills at Browns – December 16, 2007

While I’ve allowed the Packers-Bucs game in 1985 to claim the title of The Snow Bowl, this game in 2007 between the Browns and Bills is also very worthy of the name. As in Green Bay that day in December of ’85, it wasn’t just snowing in Cleveland. It was coming down horizontally all day long.

Fortunately for the Cleveland faithful who stuck out the blizzard, they were rewarded with a thrilling 8-0 victory. However, the most amazing part about this game was that there were zero turnovers—probably because both Lake Eerie teams are used to dealing with lake effect snow.


4. The Tuck Rule Game

Raiders at Patriots – January 19, 2002

Come on, every NFL fan knows about this game, right? The Raiders forced what looked like a turnover on a snowy, blustery January night in Foxborough—a turnover that would have sealed a victory and a trip to the AFC Championship Game. However, the referees (correctly) enforced the little-known (really stupid, and now defunct) “tuck rule,” which meant the ball was ruled an incomplete pass instead of a fumble. Adam Vinatieri then kicked an amazing 45-yard field goal in the snow to tie the game, and the Patriots would go on to win in overtime.

Long-term impact of this one? If the ball had been ruled a fumble, Brady would have become the idiot rookie who fumbled away the game. Instead the Pats went on to win the Super Bowl and establish a dynasty, while Brady is…well, Brady.


3. The Snow Plow Game

Dolphins at Patriots – December 12, 1982

Way back in 1982, Bill Belichick was just a linebacker coach for the New york Giants, while Ron Meyer was head coach of the Pats. However, looking back today, you’d have to say the way Meyer won the Snow Plow Game on December 12, 1982, was downright Belichickian.

You see, back then they used special snow plows to clear the yard lines on the field during snow games. And with New England kicker John Smith about to attempt a game-winning field goal in a brutal scoreless game, they sent the plow out to clean up the lines for an accurate measurement.

However, that’s not all he did. Under orders from Meyer, the plow operator—an ex-con named Mark Henderson—veered off the path and cleared a spot for Smith to take his attempt. Then Smith made the kick.

Obviously, Dolphins coach Don Shula (plus every Dolphins fan watching at home) was enraged. But the officials let the play stand, and the Pats won the game.


2. The Philly Blizzard

Cardinals at Eagles – 1948 NFL Championship Game

The snowstorm on Sunday in Philly was bad, but at least that game wasn’t for the NFL Championship. The one played at a snowy Shibe Park in 1948 was. And on that day it was so snowy that they players from both teams had to help the grounds crew removed the snow-covered tarp from the field.

Interestingly, the NFL actually considered postponing the game. However, the players on both teams wanted to play, so they played. And it was the Eagles who came away with the 7-0 victory thanks to a fumble by the Chicago Cardinals early in the fourth quarter.


1. The Santa Clause Game

Vikings at Eagles – December 15, 1968

December 15, 1968 wasn’t just the most infamous day in Eagles history. It is probably the most infamous day in the history of Philadelphia sports.

Why? Because that is the day fans of the Philadelphia Eagles pelted Santa Clause with snowballs during halftime of a season-ending 24-17 loss to the Vikings.

Ever since then, Philly sports fans have had a nasty reputation in the sports world. And it wouldn’t have happened without the snow.