Let’s call it ‘Chew the Coffee Bowl’
If an arctic blast visits Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday night, the AFC championship game between the host Chiefs and New England Patriots should be postponed and rescheduled. Let’s face it, an arctic struggle is not really a fair test of football.
There, I said it.
The contest is expected to be played, of course. I mean, there’s a Super Bowl in a couple of weeks, and there’s just too much money on the line, too many sponsors to be satisfied. To the best of my knowledge, in the long and storied history of the NFL, there’s never been a game cancellation of any kind because of single-digit, frigid weather.
I realize football players are a tough breed, but c’mon, -5 to 10 degrees, the projected forecast, is reason enough to put this game on hold.
Here’s what’s going to happen in KC, a lot of players and fans there are going to suffer, just like they did in the long ago Ice Bowl at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisc., when it was around a balmy -15 degrees fahrenheit before kickoff.That 1967 NFL Championship game between the host Packers and Dallas Cowboys should never have been played under those subzero temperatures — but it was.
If you’re a history buff, know that an elderly fan died from exposure at the game.
Four spectators had heart attacks at the stadium, and 14 others out of the 51,000 there were later treated for exposure.
Several members of the-then Wisconsin State University-La Crosse marching band had to be rushed to the hospital for hypothermia. And, not surprisingly, the halftime show was cancelled.
Green Bay DB Willie Wood believed the contest would be “called off'” because of the cold.
And, to the NFL front office’s credit, that was actually considered, but ultimately it was ruled that the game “was playable.”
Referee Norm Schacter’s lips were bleeding after he tried to remove the whistle from his lips. (Same thing happened to some of the marching band members.) After that, officials used hand motions and hollered out calls.
Packer linebacker Dave Robinson’s car wouldn’t start, and he had to get a lift from a passing motorist to make it to the game on time. (Can you imagine Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes doing that?)
Green Bay middle LB Ray Nitschke suffered frostbite feet.
Actually, frostbite was pretty common. GB quarterback Bart Starr had it on his fingers.
Bob Lilly, Jethro Pugh, George Andrie, Willie Townes and Dick Daniels were some of the Cowboys who also developed frostbite.
Trying to stay warm, Cowboy speed burner Bob Hayes had his hands in his pants, except on pass plays, pretty much the entire game.
CBS announcer Frank Gifford had the best line of the day when he said he was “going to take a bite of my coffee.”
Forrest Gregg, one of the greatest Packer offensive linemen of all time, played in the Ice Bowl, and then later coached the Cincinnati Bengals against the San Diego Chargers in the 1981 Freezer Bowl in the Queen City. He was on the winning team on both occasions.
The Freezer Bowl, the coldest game (-37 F with wind chill) in NFL history, should’ve also been postponed.
So, after the expected arctic blast, what cool bowl name will the Chiefs-Patriots showdown be called?
Polar Vortex Bowl?
How ’bout Shiver Me Timbers Bowl? Frostbite Bowl? Cold as Ice Bowl? (with a little background music by Foreigner), or even Chew the Coffee Bowl (in honor of Gifford)?
Somebody somewhere in the comfort of a warm luxury suite or living room will think of something.
Ron Johnston is a Marietta Times sports writer, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org