How will this game be remembered? Will it be remembered for its frigid, deadly temperatures? Will it be remembered for the game itself? Will it be remembered at all? As a fan, not a writer, I believe this truly incredible show of human ambition will be remembered forever in National Football League lore. In 40 or so years, The Ice Bowl will be looked back on as one of the greatest games in the history of this great American sport.
When it came time for kickoff, the temperature at Lambeau Field was around negative fifteen degrees, with the wind chill being around negative forty-eight degrees. From what this reporter has heard, the new eighty thousand dollar General Electric field heating system bought from George Halas, Jr. (nephew of Bears owner George Halas aka Papa Bear) had failed before game-time. This created absolutely no heat on the field, which in turn made the field as smooth as ice. Truly dangerous playing conditions, but it makes the game more thrilling in this reporter’s opinion.
If you only watched this game on the television, you cannot imagine the sheer conditions these fine men fought through to play this spectacle of a game. The field was turned to ice, the only things you could see in the stands were the vapor coming from the mouths of the fans, and people were getting frostbite and hypothermia. This was not you’re average football game. This was the Green Bay Packers kind of football. Packers head coach Vince Lombardi would not even let his players wear gloves, according to reports. Regardless, his leadership, along with the play of legendary players such as Bart Starr, Ray Nitschke, Jim Taylor, and Paul Hornung helped lead the Green Bay Packers on an incredible sixty-eight yard drive. This drive, proving the definition of clutch, took the Packers down to the two-yard line where Packers quarterback Bart Starr ran it into the end zone himself. This quarterback sneak will be remembered as one of the all time great sneaks in National Football League history.
The Dallas Cowboys had their share of troubles on the field. For one, Dallas quarterback Don Meredith only through for fifty-eight yards total. His running back threw a fifty-yard touchdown pass, almost matching Meredith’s total for the game. Both Dallas and Green Bay players slipped and fumbled from the field completely covered in a thin layer of ice. With the score 17-14 Dallas and the temperature now down to negative eighteen degrees, Bart Starr constructed a drive, which will be long remembered in both Green Bay Packers lore and NFL lore, as one of the all time great drives. Two big Dallas penalties and a big, seventeen-yard pass from Starr helped lead the Green Bay Packers down to the two-yard line. With sixteen seconds remaining, the Green Bay Offense had run out of ideas. As Vince Lombardi had put it after the game, “We gambled and we won.” Win they did, as Bart Starr ran in for the surprising quarterback sneak. Even with 12 seconds left, the announcers were calling the Green Bay Packers world champions for the third straight year. Will they win the championship in 1968? The look on those men’s faces looked as if they had cheated death itself, but they looked ready to win another championship next year.