Cold moments: When weather and sports collide
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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."
2. Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary first to scale Everest
Date: May 29, 1953
Weather: minus 17 and minus 5 Fahrenheit; strong winds; deep snow; continuous threat of ice and snow avalanches.
What happened: British climbing teams had been trying since 1922 to reach the peak of Everest. Thirty-one years later, the Brits succeeded in putting two men atop the world's highest peak, namely New Zealand's Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. The two men, who received heroes' welcomes when they returned to civilization, had spearheaded a huge (400+ men) British expedition led by John Hunt. Conquering the 29,029-foot peak, though not considered a technically difficult achievement, is considered great because of the many difficulties imposed by the altitude and the weather. The night before Hillary and Norgay made it to the top they had camped at 27,900 feet, and in the morning Hillary's boots were so frozen that it took him two hours to thaw them to the point where he could put them on.