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Friday, January 3, 2014

49ers-Packers: Wild-Card Matchup May Be Colder than "The Ice Bowl"

Posted By on Fri, Jan 3, 2014 at 3:59 PM


Niners-Packers Sunday Tilt May Be Coldest Game of All-Time

It is, without exaggeration, a poignant and rose-tinted bit of nostalgia from every American boy's childhood: grainy footage of beleaguered men, grimacing behind the voluminous clouds of steam billowing through their two-bar helmets and into the air above.

Always, always in slow motion. And the voice. The Voice of God.

The booming baritone of NFL Films narrator John Facenda, a man who spoke in all-capital letters, is one of the most- and worst-imitated voices of all-time. And no phrase of his utterance has ever been imitated more -- and more badly -- than THE FROZEN TUNDRA OF LAMBEAU FIELD.

That phrase has grown so ubiquitous, it's easy to assume that, like frozen tundra, it was always with us. But no: It's a relatively youthful artifact of 1967. On Dec. 31 of that year, the Dallas Cowboys met the Green Bay Packers in the NFL Championship Game, played atop -- wait for it -- THE FROZEN TUNDRA OF LAMBEAU FIELD.

That game -- or at least the description of the field -- has been immortalized. It is, forever after, "The Ice Bowl," and with wind-chill pushing the temperature from negative-13 to negative-48, it is acknowledged as the coldest NFL game yet played.

But all that may change. Sunday's Wild-Card matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers at THE FROZEN TUNDRA OF LAMBEAU FIELD may be colder still.

How cold?

Real cold.



Factoring in wind-chill, Sunday's game may be played in temperatures dipping to 51 degrees below zero. In these sorts of conditions, football ceases to resemble a game and begins to more closely approximate The Battle of Hoth. Fans left to sit or stand in place for several hours may face lingering maladies -- like sterilization. Or death.

In Mars-like conditions, there's no way to predict who will prevail. Or, for that matter, to produce wildly memorable football. Outside of Wisconsin, lots of people remember THE FROZEN TUNDRA OF LAMBEAU FIELD. But few know who won that day: Green Bay topped Dallas 21-17, en route to a 33-14 triumph over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II.

May the best team win. And may that team not be Hypothermia.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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