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From blizzards to bats: six games played in ridiculous weather


By Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter
@DFLCMartins
Sunday, February 2, 2014, 5:30 PM

Sports nuts, forecasters, and sport-nut forecasters have all been nervously eyeing the forecast for the Super Bowl this weekend.

Right now, it's not looking too bad down there, but fans had a right to be worried. Canada and the U.S. have been pounded by storm after storm, and if it hasn't been snow, it's been ridiculously cold temperatures.

We even saw it at the 2014 NHL Winter Classic, where temperature at puck drop was around -10°C, feeling like -18, and it only got worse from there:


TIME TO END OUTDOOR HOCKEY? After the January 26 outdoor game between New Jersey Devils and New York, Arda Ocal asked NHL players and legends for their thoughts on outdoor NHL games and terrible conditions. Some of their answers may surprise you.


Still, the game was on regardless, and it wasn't even the coldest outdoor game ever played, nor even under the worst conditions.

We had a hunt around, and here is a totally-not-exhaustive list of six games, in various sports leagues, that didn't stop even for ridiculous weather.

The Mud Bowl: Toronto vs. Winnipeg, 1950

There are plenty of games in a variety of sports leagues worldwide that claim to have some kind of “mud bowl,” but for Canadians, that richly-deserved title belongs to the 38th Grey Cup final between the Toronto Argonauts and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

A November snowfall set that game on the path to history. When shovelling proved inadequate, organizers took a bulldozer to Toronto’s Varsity Field field. It got rid of the snow, all right, but it also stripped away the grass.

The result:

Playing in that much can’t have been fun (this source says, according to legend, one of the Blue Bombers nearly drowned), and the result was a catastrophic rout for Winnipeg. The Argos crushed it with a final score of 13-0 – but game organizers took some well-deserved flak for allowing the conditions to reach that level of messiness.

Still, it’s earned its place in history, and in 2012, the mucky match-up was recreated as part of the 100th anniversary of the Grey Cup, complete with classic jerseys and old leather hats:

Amazing how much fun it is when there’s not a Grey Cup title at stake, eh?

Ice bowl: Dallas vs. Green Bay, 1967

As The Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers playoff game loomed earlier this month, Expected freezing temperatures had sports fans everywhere harkening back to another epic NFL confrontation.

The 1967 matchup between Green Bay and the Dallas Cowboys was officially the NFL Championship Game, but it’s rightly known to history by the VASTLY more accurate “Ice Bowl.”

The weather was already not exactly favourable, with several cold weather records being broken even before the sun rose on Dec. 31, 1967. When you watch the video above, keep in mind that all those fans, cheerleaders and players are doing their thing in -25C, feeling like -43 with the wind chill.

Doing ANYTHING outside in those temperatures is like double-dog DARING the winter gods to give you frostbite. Which is what happened to many of the players’ hands and toes.

It wasn’t just them. Refs had to yell out their calls after a metal whistle froze to one of the refs’ lips. Same thing happened to one of the trumpeters in the band. And making it worse, Lambeau Field’s turf-warming mechanism malfunctioned, so players had to face all of this on a rock-hard field.

You’d think the team that was FROM that particularly frigid part of the United States would have run away with the game, but surprisingly, it took an epic late-game play for the Packers to finally clinch the game over Dallas.

That, and the ridiculous conditions, earns this game a regular spot on lists of the best NFL games of all time.

The Fog Game: Philadelphia Vs. Buffalo, 1975

This weird Stanley Cup playoff game is the reason we at The Weather Network don’t laugh at sports fans for being superstitious.

The Buffalo Sabres went into Game 3 against the Philadelphia flyers trailing by two, desperately needing a win.

There was already something weird going on, in the form of a bat – as in, the actual flying mammal – flying around the stadium for much of the game. Finally, Sabres centre Jim Lorentz killed the rodent with his stick:

Shouldn’t have done that. Should NOT have done that. Because not long after, as if Dracula himself was angered at this treatment of his children of the night, a dense fog swept the stadium.

As it happens, Buffalo seemed to be fine with the fog – a product of an unusually humid May. Although it rendered the puck all but invisible to both players and fans, the Sabres still managed to win in overtime.

But even though they went on to take Game 4, Philadelphia rallied to close the series 4-2. 

If that bat was a curse, though, it wasn’t just on Buffalo. The Sabres, who made their playoffs debut that same year, have never won the Stanley Cup to this day – and that was the last time Philadelphia ever did.

Stupid bat.

NEXT PAGE: Snowfall makes for an epic Winter Classic

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