Cold moments: When weather and sports collide   

Updated: October 28, 2008, 10:58 AM ET

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Raiders-Patriots

Matt Campbell/AFP/Getty Images

 

6. AFC playoffs, Raiders vs. Patriots

Date: Jan. 19, 2002

Weather: 25 degrees, windy, steady driving snow

What happened: The snow accumulated 1½ inches on Jerry Rice's helmet alone, according to one report. So if you don't remember, you can imagine how bad the conditions were in what would become known, in Oakland at least, as the "tuck rule game." Pats fans would see it differently, (and with less originality), calling it "The Snow Bowl." The key play (which, just a few years ago, ESPN.com ranked as the 48th greatest sports moment of the past 25 years) occurred with 1:43 left, when Raiders corner Charles Woodson chopped the ball from a perhaps-passing Tom Brady, and the Raiders recovered the ball on their own 47, seemingly sealing a 13-10 win. But ref Walt Coleman called it an incomplete pass instead of a fumble, saying Brady's arm was in forward motion when the ball came loose. A few plays later Pats kicker Adam Vinatieri nailed a 45-yarder into the wind to tie the game and send it into OT. Eight minutes and 29 seconds into the extra period, Vinatieri sliced the poles from 23 yards out, and before the announcers could say "on to the AFC title game," long snapper Lonie Paxton was in the end zone, creating a giant snow angel to secure himself a spot on the list of "best celebrations by non-scorers."

NFL Championship

Pro Football Hall Of Fame/Getty Images

 

11. NFL Championship, Bears vs. Giants at Polo Grounds

Date: Dec. 9, 1934

Weather: Overnight freezing rain, 0 degree temps morning of game and high of 25

What happened: Giants captain Ray Flaherty and back Ken Strong were the Giants' heroes of the day. Flaherty flashed genius pre-game, nudging his noodle to recall an old Gonzaga game when he and his mates had used sneakers on frozen turf with great effectiveness. The search for sneaks began, and bore fruit at halftime. "To the amazement of every one," The New York Times reported, "the Giants raced out on the frozen turf for the second half wearing basketball shoes -- rubber-soled sneakers they had borrowed from Manhattan College -- and it was this unorthodox equipment which aided New York no little in winning the national professional football championship." The Giants, trailing the mighty undefeated Bronko Nagurski-led Bears 13-3, nimble-footed their way to four fourth-quarter touchdowns and a 30-13 win. Strong led the attack with 41- and 11-yard TD runs (with, the Times reported, "his sneakered feet flashing under him"), a field goal, and two PATs.


--Jeff Merron


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