|New Year's Day, 1947, in Dallas: the Cotton Bowl -- LSU's worst|
weather football game ever (final score: LSU 0, Arkansas 0)
If you're a fan, you likely have put your health at risk and braved cold weather to sit through games, and you probably haven't forgotten it.
Good luck to those people going to the Super Bowl in the Meadowlands on Sunday. It might not be another Ice Bowl -- nothing will be like that again, hopefully -- but sub-freezing temperatures are likely and snow is possible.
And I'm not envious. If I decide to watch -- and that's a question, as you might've read (or not read) in a blog piece last week -- I'll do it from a warm living room.
I've had my share of bad-weather games, and I'm not volunteering for any more.
We've all sat through the rain to watch football, baseball, golf, soccer -- or most anything outdoors -- and we've might've seen some fog-affected games (if not in person, then on TV), and we have driven through rain and snow to get to basketball arenas.
Many years ago, when I was the sports information director at Centenary College, we had some hellacious basketball trips -- through the snow and ice in New York City, Detroit, Chicago, upstate New York and even to Bozeman, Mont. -- all in the middle of winter.
I knew we were in the deep freeze one night in Omaha, Neb., when I walked out of the hotel to go to the arena just across the street (Centenary was playing Creighton), and the temperature sign closeby said ... 5 degrees. That didn't account for the wind, and wind chill. Thankfully, no snow that day, but that was not a pleasant walk.
Baseball in cold weather is not much fun, either. Few times in my life have I left a game of any sorts early, but one April night at Atlanta Stadium, Terry Tucker and I left the premises after the first inning. It was cold and windy, and we couldn't stand it. The Braves and Padres played on without us.
It makes a difference when you have a child playing in the game. Beatrice and I sat (or stood) through many a soccer game involving Orange Park teams when we lived in North Florida because one of the kids on the field was our Jason.
You generally think "warm" when it's Florida, but you'd be surprised how cold it can be at night in January or February, and how badly you want to watch your son play soccer.
Which brings to mind the soccer games in Europe and the rest of the world when they play in winter, in conditions probably as harsh or worse than here in the U.S., and last I looked, the players were wearing shorts.
I mean, have you ever seen a soccer game in which the players wear long pants? Better yet (Jerry Barnes, take note), have you ever seen a soccer game, period?
I'm wondering, does the cold ever bother those players? Funny, but when I was a kid in Holland going to those soccer games, I don't remember the weather bothering me. I'm thinking now that because I was only 7 or 8 years old, my parents probably kept me at home when the weather was awful. (Could I make you believe that I made that mile walk to Olympic Stadium and back home in the snow?)
Ah, never mind. I'm here to continue my discussion on the Super Bowl being played outdoors in a cold-weather place; I touched on this last week. I think it's a stupid idea, OK.
If the NFL wants to subject the players on the best two teams in the league this season -- and subject the fans and, yes, the media -- to a possible winter storm, or even a pretty miserable cold night, I don't want to hear or read about the whining afterward.
But as I got ready to write this piece and thought about the miserable weather games of the past, I realized that there is a whole history of NFL Championship Games -- pre-Super Bowl era -- being played in snow and ice and brutal cold.
One example: I was reading about the 1945 title game in Cleveland -- Cleveland Rams vs. Washington Redskins -- when 18 inches of snow hit town the week of the game, and the temperature was -8 at game time.
Still, that wasn't as bad as the Cowboys-Packers Ice Bowl in Green Bay at the end of the 1966 season. Nothing was ever as bad.
So, much as the NFL loves its throwback uniforms, this could be a throwback-type game, weather-wise.
There was an NFL game this season reminiscent of those snow/ice adventures: the Dec. 8 game in Philadelphia, with Detroit as the visitor, a game played in a blizzard. You might remember it: The Eagles won 34-20, although at times, the field was practically invisible from the stands or on TV.
I was thinking about the worst LSU football weather game. A friend with a long LSU history chose the 1988 Miami-at-Tiger Stadium game played in, as he put it, "a torrential storm." I remember it because not only did it pour, it also poured Miami points (the Hurricanes, in Jimmy Johnson's last year as their coach, embarrassed the Tigers 44-3).
But that was a rain game. LSU had one of those "blizzard" games ... before I was born. I've seen the photos of the 1947 Cotton Bowl game -- Arkansas vs. a 9-1 LSU team. Dallas-Fort Worth was hit by a snowstorm and the Cotton Bowl Stadium looked like Philadelphia's stadium last month.
The score that day: 0-0. No surprise. I'm posting a picture of the stadium that New Year's Day.
Many of us remember the 1979 Cotton Bowl game, played after D-FW's worst ice storm in 30 years -- the horribly cold, icy day when Joe Montana led Notre Dame to a 23-0 fourth-quarter edge and back from being shellacked by Houston (34-12 lead) to a classic 35-34 victory.
That day, I was cold just watching it on TV.
I'm thinking about the fans who will be in the stands at Sunday's Super Bowl and the media, especially the ones who will be near the field for whatever reason and those assigned to the auxiliary press box (outside?) because the regular press box is full.
Hey, have fun, people. Uh, dress warmly.
I sure hope this isn't a "blizzard" game because I don't think that is fair to either team (or the fans). But if it happens, we can all say "told you so" to the NFL powers-that-be.
I have my own media experiences with terribly cold-weather football games, and I'll write about them in the next episode.
I'll give you two hints: (1) Both games were played in Tennessee and (2) Terry Bradshaw was the quarterback in one of them.