Winter weather is officially arriving in Wisconsin. With it comes one of the best home-field advantages in sports, as the Green Bay Packers and Lambeau Field are simply something special when the temperature dips below freezing and the snow starts to fall.
Forecasts for Sunday’s upcoming game against the Carolina Panthers currently sit with a high of 33 degrees Fahrenheit, sure to drop a bit before the 3:25 PM kickoff. Adding to the atmosphere may be some snow showers during the day, which makes this game ripe for a perfect afternoon for Packers football.
APC’s contributors have had their share of experiences in cold and precipitation, and for this week’s Walkthrough, we asked our writers to share their favorite such game. Here’s what we came up with.
Evan “Tex” Western: 2009 Week 16 vs. Seahawks
As someone whose family did not have connections to Packers tickets when I was growing up, I have been to precious few Packers games in my lifetime, and only one was a true cold-weather game. That contest was a week 16 game against the Seattle Seahawks in 2009, and my memories of that game are largely of the fun I had in attendance.
The game itself was a blast because it was a blowout — the Packers won 48-10 with three touchdowns from Brandon Jackson, two from Ryan Grant (including a 56-yarder), and one from Ahman Green (!) in what would be his final game at Lambeau Field. Meanwhile, the defense picked off Matt Hasselbeck four times and sacked him three times, and Mason Crosby hit a 52-yard field goal despite temperatures in the teens and some flurries coming down. It was a good, old-fashioned demolition that saw the Packers leading 24-3 at halftime and 48-3 late, and it clinched a Wild Card playoff spot for Green Bay after a 6-10 season the year before.
The tailgating for that game was tremendous as well, as three of my college friends and I drove up Friday night, staying at the home of one of their families close by, then getting out to the parking lots around the crack of dawn to get the day underway. From some tailgate football, featuring plenty of tackles into the massive snowbanks around the lot, to meeting a bunch of new friends in the parking stalls around us, it was a fantastic day on all accounts
Paul Noonan: November 6th, 2000. Packers 26, Vikings 20
I was at the snow globe game (which was, of course, perfect weather), and some very cold playoff games against the Giants, but this is the coldest I have ever been at a Packer game. It was a Monday Night, and temperatures plunged to just above freezing for kickoff, in an absolute torrential downpour for the entire game.
And, of course, the weather played a very important part in this game. As Vikings kicker Gary Anderson lined up for a chip-shot 32-yard game winning field goal on first and 10 with seven seconds remaining, most fans headed for the exits. Anderson would end up 22/23 on the season, and historically he barely ever missed kicks of this distance. I remember whispering to my dad that while Anderson probably makes this, it’s so slippery and miserable that there’s at least some chance things go wrong.
And boy did they go wrong. The snap slipped through Mitch Berger’s hands and rather than immediately spiking the ball, which would have allowed the Vikings another shot, he panicked and threw an errant pass that was picked off by Tyrone Williams. The Packers were still alive and the game went to overtime. Everyone, including quite a few Vikings fans, filtered back to their seats.
Then in overtime, this happened.
I’m still cold from this game, but it was worth it.
Matub: Packers/Vikings Christmas Eve 2016
“Wait, I remember that game,” you say after reading the title. “What an idiot Matub is, that was a perfect weather game!”
Well, you’re right about one thing: I am an idiot. But that game was played during a weather oasis in an otherwise snow-riddled week. Leading up to the game, it was slightly above freezing and snowed to beat the band. I got into Green Bay in the afternoon of December 23rd, 2016. The first thing I did was stop at Shopko for a new shirt and some food. It was already snowing.
By the time I got to Lambeau for the Hall of Fame and stadium tour, roads were nearly impassable. In fact, Lambeau looked like a snowglobe and I was worried about my wife’s comfort level the next day. She’s not exactly a trooper when it comes to the cold, especially when she’d have to stand out in it for 4 hours.
Well, it turns out all my worrying was for naught. The team hired a bunch of locals to clear the snow and it was sunny and 37 by kickoff. Getting to the stadium was a breeze and Mrs Matub stayed plenty warm after a couple two three Bailey’s Hot Chocolates.
Oh, and the Packers kicked the ever loving snot out of the Vikings.
Peter Bukowski: Packers-49ers 1997 Divisional playoff game
There was mud and rain and ice. It was a home playoff game against a West Coast team, a dynastic one at that, and the run game, with a little help from Desmond Howard got the Packers a win. It was old school Packers football.
Not the most iconic cold weather performance you say? Not as cool as the snow globe game against the Seahawks in the 2007 playoffs (I, like Paul, was also there)? No iconic Favre moments or Reggie White dominance? You’d be right. But you know what this game did have? Nine-year-old me at his first-ever Lambeau Field experience.
It was brutally, miserably cold and wet, but the Packers won and it was the start of the return to Titletown for Holmgren and the boys. Hot chocolate never tasted so damn good.
Mike Vieth - January 4, 2004 Packers v. Seahawks Playoff Game
Looking back on what the temperature was on paper, it doesn’t look that bad. It was 20 degrees with a wind chill of 6. Not too bad for January in Green Bay. Where it took a turn was where I was prior to the game.
I was a student at the University of South Carolina at the time. The Friday before the game I got a call from my dad saying that he came across playoff tickets and asked if I wanted to go. The obvious answer came out of my mouth. So I quickly booked my tickets with a quick turn around as I had classes or work to get back to early the following week. From there came one of the coldest 48 hour periods of my life.
I left the Charlotte airport on Saturday when the temperature was in the mid-70s. By the time I reached Green Bay, I didn’t think it was that bad but the 70 degree swing caught up to me quick. Being outside for tailgating and the game really turned bone chilling around halftime. That’s when I pulled out my phone to check any messages and realized my phone had gotten too cold to even turn on.
As the game went on, beer slushies seemed to be the popular drink around the stands. The one thing keeping things from getting too bad was the excitement of the game. The Packers and Seahawks battled back and forth until the regulation ended with a tie score. Then the heat picked up.
At the coin flip I never heard Matt Hasselbeck say “We want the ball and we’re gonna score.” I didn’t even realize he said it until I saw the highlights later that night but the warm and euphoria that filled the stadium when Al Harris made his pick-six made the whole experience worth it.
I think I finally thawed out after getting off the plane back in Charlotte but this game goes down as not only the most memorable bad weather game I’ve been to but the most memorable game overall.