Leaves have fallen, birds aren’t chirping and the sun is setting before rush hour. That only means one thing: football weather has officially arrived.
As the NFL regular season nears a conclusion, you can definitely expect games being played in some very frigid environments.
Heading into Christmas weekend, an "arctic blast" of cold air and snow is expected to hit many parts of the country. Several games will be held outdoors with temperatures expected to be in the single digits or lower.
Will any of those games be the coldest in league history? Here’s a look at nine of the coldest games ever played in NFL:
9. Raiders vs. Packers 1993, 0 degrees (wind chill -20)
The Los Angeles Raiders weren’t prepared for the Frozen Tundra in Week 17 of the 1993 season. Art Shell’s squad traveled to Lambeau Field and lost 28-0, allowing eight sacks and committing four turnovers against Reggie White and Co.
8. Raiders vs. Bills 1994, 0 degrees (wind chill -32)
Just three weeks later, the Raiders unsuccessfully battled even colder temperatures. L.A. put up a better fight in this one but still lost to Buffalo 29-23. The Bills went on to win the AFC title a week later before losing in Super Bowl XXVIII to the Dallas Cowboys, their fourth straight Super Bowl loss.
7. Bears vs. Vikings 1972, -2 degrees (wind chill -15)
Both of these NFC North teams were used to cold weather coming into this Week 12 matchup, but nothing prepares you for -15 wind chill. The Vikings improved to 7-5 after a 23-10 victory over the Bears. Future Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton had 261 passing yards and a touchdown for Minnesota.
6. Packers vs. Vikings 1972, -2 degrees (wind chill -19)
One week later, the chilly temps in Minneapolis only got colder. The Packers traveled to Metropolitan Stadium and defeated the Vikings 23-7. Green Bay threw just 14 passes compared to 45 rushing attempts in the victory.
5. Raiders vs. Browns 1981, -4 degrees (wind chill -36)
Even though the Raiders play in California, they continue to appear on this list. This time it was a road playoff game in Cleveland, where the Browns lost to the Raiders 14-12. It wasn’t pretty, with seven combined turnovers between the teams, but the then-Oakland Raiders used it to catapult them to an eventual Super Bowl XV win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
4. Giants vs. Packers 2008, -4 degrees (wind chill -24)
The Giants’ third straight road playoff game was their toughest, facing -24 wind chill and an experienced Packers squad led by Brett Favre. Lawrence Tynes missed two field goals in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime, where Favre quickly threw a costly interception that set up the Giants’ game-winning 47-yard kick. The last memory of this game will be Giants head coach Tom Coughlin’s red face, which quite literally looked frozen.
3. Seahawks vs. Vikings 2016, -6 degrees (wind chill -25)
We stay in the 21st century and head back to Minnesota, TCF Bank Stadium to be exact, where the Vikings played in 2014 and 2015 while U.S. Bank Stadium was being built. Blair Walsh buried three field goals to give the Vikings a 9-0 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Seahawks scored 10 unanswered to pull ahead late. Walsh then missed a game-winning 26-yard field goal with 20 seconds left to seal Seattle’s victory. This was the last outdoor home game the Vikings played before moving into a dome.
2. Chargers vs. Bengals 1982, -9 degrees (wind chill -59)
Based on the wind chill, this was the coldest game in league history. The actual temperature was 50 degrees warmer than the wind chill. Nicknamed “The Freezer Bowl,” this AFC Championship Game was dominated by the home team. Cincinnati defeated San Diego 27-7, which makes sense considering temperatures in the California city rarely even reach as low as +59 degrees. Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts had four turnovers as the Bengals advanced to Super Bowl XVI, which they lost to the San Francisco 49ers.
1. Cowboys vs. Packers 1967, -13 degrees (wind chill -48)
Lambeau Field has hosted some cold games, but none have topped the 1967 NFC Championship Game. At kickoff, “The Ice Bowl” had temperatures around -13 degrees. It reached -18 by the end of the game when Bart Starr rushed for the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter.
This was the final home game at Lambeau for legendary head coach Vince Lombardi, as he stepped down after the Packers’ Super Bowl victory two weeks later.