Cold moments: When weather and sports collide
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1. NFL Championship Game
Date: Dec. 31, 1967
Weather: minus 13 degrees with a wind chill of minus 48 at game time; field frozen
What happened: The Packers had installed 14 miles of wiring under the field to keep the turf warm and soft. The wiring failed, but only after it had had enough time to turn snow to water. When the wires cooled off, that water became ice: hence the Ice Bowl, not "The Freakin' Cold Bowl." The Packers beat the Cowboys 21-17 after Green Bay QB Bart Starr sneaked over the line from about a foot away for a touchdown with 13 seconds remaining. Packers coach Vince Lombardi let Starr run the play even though a field goal attempt would have been the less-risky move and likely would have tied the game and sent it into overtime.
Lombardi, a risk taker? No, but something even less likely: Lombardi, the compassionate. Referring to the crowd of 50,861 who'd stuck around Lambeau throughout the frigid afternoon, he said, "I didn't figure all those people could stay on in the stands. You can't say I'm always without compassion." Literary lineman Jerry Kramer said the goal-line turf was "solid like cement."
Here's some more trivia: Q) How was the Packers' D able to figure out, for certain, when Bob Hayes was Don Meredith's primary receiver? A) He took his hands out of his pants at the line of scrimmage. Q) What is the sound of a ref's frozen whistle? A) Silence.
5. Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
Date: March 20, 1985 (day of finish)
Weather: Multiple blizzards and whiteouts throughout the race.
What happened: Libby Riddles became the first woman to win the Iditarod, and the weather was so brutal it took her just over 18 days to complete the course -- more than six days longer than it would take Susan Butcher, the second woman to win Iditarod, in 1986. Riddles credits her win (by about five hours) to two crack lead dogs Axle and Dugan. Those dogs kept running while all the other mushers and teams were holed up during a blizzard at Shaktoolik, three days before the finish. "It was grim," she said of the final push. "I could not see from one trail marker to the next. I let my dogs go so far that I could barely see the marker behind me, because I didn't want to lose that sucker. When that was at the edge of my visibility, I'd put my snowhook in and walk up ahead of the dogs until I could see the next marker. And we repeated that process. It was very slow. For some idiot reason the dogs trusted that I knew what I was doing."