Recalling the Coldest Home Games in Packers History

As the Packers enter December, it’s football weather in Wisconsin. Green Bay’s Lambeau Field is famously referred to as “The Frozen Tundra” and that’s not because of the white sand beaches and palm trees outside the stadium.

The cold weather is a part of the lore of the Packers franchise and so we look at the five coldest regular-season home games in Packers history. Keep in mind no playoff games are included in this list so don’t look for The Ice Bowl or the 1996 NFC Championship Game although both obviously featured freezing temperatures. Road games are also not included on this list.

Feel free to add your memories of these games and enjoy the trip down memory lane:

  1. December 20, 1992, vs. Los Angeles Rams W 28-13, 8 degrees at kickoff

The Packers entered this game at 8-6 in Mike Holmgren’s first season as head coach. That meant they were still in the thick of the race for their first playoff berth in a decade.

On a chilly day at Lambeau Field, the Packers fell behind 10-0 early in the second quarter on a touchdown pass from Jim Everett to Flipper Anderson and a Tony Zendejas field goal.

But Brett Favre answered back and the Packers scored 28 points in the second quarter to put the game away.

Darrell Thompson got the Packers on the board with a one-yard touchdown run. Then, first-round pick Terrell Buckley intercepted Everett and ran it back 33-yards for a touchdown and the Packers had a 14-10 lead.

Favre then tossed two touchdown passes to Sterling Sharpe, one of 17 yards and the other of 16. Sharpe finished the game with a team-leading eight catches for 110 yards and two scores while Favre passed for 188 yards and two touchdowns.

The Packers intercepted Everett three times, two by Buckley and one by safety Chuck Cecil. The win kept the Packers in the playoff hunt and was their sixth straight victory. But all the teams the Packers were battling for the playoffs also won.

“We’re playing our butts off and getting no help at all,” fullback Harry Sydney told The New York Times. “All we can do is take care of ourselves.”

The Packers missed the playoffs when they lost the season finale in Minnesota but finished with a 9-7 record, an improvement of five games over the previous year.

  1. November 28, 1976, vs Chicago Bears, Loss 10-16, 6 degrees at kickoff

Bart Starr’s team was hurting coming into this late November game at Lambeau Field. Starting quarterback Lynn Dickey, then in his first season with the team, was injured and out of the lineup when the 4-7 Packers hosted the 5-6 Bears.

With Dickey out, the Packers started Carlos Brown who went on to become a successful actor using the name Alan Autry. Autry later starred alongside Carroll O’Connor in the hit TV show, “In the Heat of the Night.” He was making his second career NFL start.

The Packers offense struggled to move the football while the defense had trouble stopping Walter Payton. The future Hall of Famer gained 110 yards on 27 carries.

Brown struggled, completing only 5-of-17 passes for 125 yards including a 47-yard long toss to Ollie Smith. He threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Ken Payne which tied the game 10-10 in the third quarter before being replaced by veteran backup Randy Johnson later in the game.

The Bears got two field goals from kicker Bob Thomas in the second half and won the game 16-10. Both teams struggled to move the ball in the cold with the Bears outgaining the Packers 273-259.

The Packers finished the season 5-9 in Starr’s second season at the helm.

  1. December 7, 2008, vs Houston Texans Loss 21-24, 3 degrees at kickoff

Aaron Rodgers was in his first year as the Packers starting quarterback when the Packers hosted the Houston Texans in a battle between two 5-7 teams.

This game was a back and forth contest with neither team leading by more than seven points at any point.

Rodgers played well, throwing for 295 yards and two touchdowns with touchdown tosses to tight end Donald Lee and wideout Jordy Nelson. Ryan Grant ran for 104 yards and a touchdown.

Unfortunately, the Packers defense couldn’t stop Texans quarterback Matt Schaub who threw for 414 yards and two touchdowns.

In the end, a 40-yard field goal by Kris Brown on the game’s final play gave the Texans a 24-21 win.

  1. December 22, 1990, vs Detroit Lions, Loss 17-24, 2 degrees at kickoff

The Packers once-promising 1990 season was falling apart rapidly after starting quarterback Don Majkowski and backup Anthony Dilweg were both hurt. So, the Packers turned to third-string signal caller Blair Kiel in their Week 16 game against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field.

The Packers got off to a good start with Kiel running for a three-yard touchdown to give them an early 7-0 lead. The game was tied 7-7 at the half after Lions quarterback Rodney Peete scored on a 26-yard run.

The Packers took the lead in the third quarter on a 76-yard kickoff return by former first-round pick Darrell Thompson. The teams traded field goals in the third quarter and the Packers led 17-10.

But in the fourth quarter, tight end Ed West fumbled and Detroit’s Ray Crockett picked it up and ran it back 22 yards for a touchdown to tie the game. A fumble by Michael Haddix was recovered by Chris Spielman and the Lions went ahead to stay on a six-yard touchdown run by Barry Sanders. Sanders finished with 133 yards rushing and 49 receiving as the Packers lost their fourth straight game and saw their slim playoff hopes end.

“I’ve played in snow, but it wasn’t this cold,” Sanders said after the game. “We anticipated it being cold, but not this cold. We knew we were in a freezer.”

  1. December 26, 1993, vs Los Angeles Raiders, Win 28-0, 0 degrees at kickoff

This famous game was a huge win for the Packers. In the short term, it clinched the team’s first playoff berth in a non-strike season in 21 years. But now this is better known as the game that gave birth to “The Lambeau Leap.”

How cold was it? “The field was like concrete,” Brett Favre told reporters after the game. “With the weather, we had to stretch their defense and we did that with our running game.”

The game time temperature was zero degrees with a wind chill of minus-22.

Favre completed just 14-of-28 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown. Sterling Sharpe caught seven passes for 119 yards and a score and became the first player in NFL history to catch 100-or-more passes in more than one season.

The Packers defense was outstanding, shutting out the Raiders and sacking quarterbacks Jeff Hostetler and Vince Evans eight times and holding the visitors to just 182 total yards.

LeRoy Butler invented the Lambeau Leap after taking a lateral from Reggie White and running 25 yards for a touchdown. He then jumped into the stands to celebrate with the fans and a new Packers tradition was born.

The Packers closed out the scoring with a 60-yard touchdown run by Darrell Thompson and the Packers came away with a 28-0 win and a trip to the playoffs.

Even now 28 years later, it remains the coldest regular-season home game in Packers history.

 

Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

Click here for more great Packers coverage

Visit my Web site for all things Gil Martin