Remember the Ice Bowl? Nobody mentioned climate change then!
As a new arrival in Wisconsin, I found myself falling in love with the Packers. The Braves moved to Atlanta in 1965, so Lombardi's Packers were the only local team around. (I did love the 1965 A.L. champion Minnesota Twins because they had four great Cuban players, but that's for another post)
On December 31, 1967, the Ice Bowl, as they now call it, was played under the old NFL rules: the NFL champ met the AFL champ in what they later called the Super Bowl.
It was a brutally cold morning. It was so cold that my mother asked my brother and me in Spanish: "Are they going to cancel the game?" We responded that they didn't cancel games in the U.S.!
The Packers-Cowboys came down to the last few minutes. Green Bay was down, and Bart Starr got to work:
On first and 10, Starr faked a double[-]handoff to Mercein and Anderson and then threw a swing pass to Anderson, who gained 6 yards in the right flat. Mercein then ran right for 7 yards and a first down.
Starr hit Dowler over the middle for 13 yards. Dowler suffered a concussion on the play when Cowboys cornerback Cornell Green tackled him and his helmet slammed into the frozen ground.
On the next play, Mercein missed a chip block on Townes, who tackled Anderson for a 9-yard loss. But then Starr threw consecutive passes to Anderson in the right flat. The first went for 12 yards and the second for 9 and a first down.
Then Starr lobbed a pass to Mercein, who was alone in the left flat. Mercein eluded linebacker Dave Edwards and gained 19 yards before stumbling out of bounds at the Cowboys' 11.
The drive, before John Elway coined the term, was amazing. I watched it recently, and it is just fabulous to watch Starr outfox the Cowboys.
Eventually, Starr himself took the ball in, and Green Bay beat Dallas once again in the NFL title game.
Fifty years have flown by since my brother and I watched that game. My father had a second job at a hotel that day, and he called in a couple of times for game updates. My mother had little to say, but she did tell us to wear something heavy if we decided to go out and play football in the snow.
Today, I live in Dallas, and that game draws a totally different reaction from my friends down here.
Of course, it was so cold back then, and nobody called it climate change. They called it Wisconsin weather, as I recall!
I miss that NFL a lot!
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