Remembering the NFL's Worst Weather Games

A roundup of the some of the more noteworthy NFL games with unfavorable weather conditions

Boogie Basham #96 of the Buffalo Bills tackles Damien Harris #37 of the New England Patriots during the second quarter at Highmark Stadium on December 06, 2021 in Orchard Park, New York.
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As the Patriots travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills in a snowy edition of Monday Night Football, the adverse weather conditions will likely play a big role in determining the game's outcome. Wind gusts of over 50 miles-per-hour were recorded in Buffalo, which will surely factor into the teams' decisions on throwing and running the ball.

As the Bills and the Patriots battle it out, here’s a look back at some of the most memorable bad weather games.

“The Ice Bowl”

In 1967, Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers faced off against the Dallas Cowboys in a freezing NFL Championship game. The Cowboys traveled north to Lambeau Field for the game where temperatures hovered around -15 degrees Fahrenheit, with an average wind chill of about -48. 

Green Bay Packers Chuck Mercein (30) in action, rushing vs Dallas Cowboys in the Ice Bowl.

The frigid conditions earned the match the nickname “Ice Bowl.” The matchup pitted two Hall of Fame coaches against each other in Lombardi and Tom Landy, but the Packers took the win in their home stadium, 21-17. 

“Tuck Rule Game” 

In a wintry 2001 AFC Divisional playoff matchup, the New England Patriots beat the Oakland Raiders in a controversial game now known for one decisive play involving a young Tom Brady. Raiders corner Charles Woodson seemingly forced a fumble that would have sealed a victory for Oakland. But upon review, the officials decided Brady’s actions resulted in an incomplete pass and helped the Patriots see out the victory in Massachusetts.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady loses the ball after being hit by the Oakland Raiders Charles Woodson, right, the fumble was recovered by Greg Biekert, left, but it was ruled an incomplete pass, giving the Patriots another chance.

The win meant the Patriots advanced to the AFC Championship where they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers before winning the Super Bowl against the St. Louis Rams. In Oakland, the fallout from the loss meant it would be head coach Jon Gruden’s last game in charge. 

“Red Right 88”

Browns' hopes for an AFC championship in the closing moments of the Oakland Raiders-Cleveland game ended when Brian Sipe's pass intended for Ozzie Newsome was intercepted by Mike Davis.

In the coldest NFL game since the 1967 “Ice Bowl,” the Cleveland Browns suffered a tough loss at the hands of the Oakland Raiders in a 1981 divisional playoff game. “Red Right 88,” as the game and the critical play came to be known, occurred when the Browns trailed 14-12 with under a minute remaining. 

Head coach Sam Rutigliano infamously called “Red Slot Right, Halfback Stay, 88,” which led to Browns quarterback Brian Sipe intercepted in the endzone. The Raiders went on to win the Super Bowl, while the play came to symbolize the difficulty Cleveland teams have had when it comes to playoffs. 

"The Snow Bowl"

In one of the snowiest games in recent memory, the Detroit Lions faced off against the Philadelphia Eagles in conditions that saw snow pile up to eight inches. The game was less about who could handle the other team and more about who could handle the conditions as mistakes and miscalculations plagued both teams. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford fumbled three first-half snaps, while running back Joique Bell also fumbled twice. 

The Eagles adjusted to the blizzard better in the end, and orchestrated a fourth-quarter surge that handed them a 34-20 victory. The standout player of the game was Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, who rushed through the snow to record a franchise-best 217 yards and two touchdowns. 

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