Frigid football

The Seahawks and Vikings are battling in Minneapolis right now. It was minus-6 degrees (minus-23 Celsius) at kickoff, making this the third coldest game in NFL history. It was up to minus-3 at halftime.

The second coldest game in league history was played 34 years ago today. On January 10, 1982, the Bengals hosted the Chargers on one of the coldest days in the history of Cincinnati. It was so cold the Ohio River, separating Ohio from Kentucky and flowing right past the Bengals’ home at the time, Riverfront Stadium, was completely frozen. The temperature at kickoff was minus-9 (minus-23 Celsisus), with a nasty wind coming off of the river.

The wind chill for the game was announced at minus-59 (minus-51 Celsius; the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales match up at minus-40, and from there, Fahrenheit is colder than Celsius). Under a new wind chill index released in 2001, one which is more accurate, the wind chill would have been minus-37 (minus-38 Celsius), which is still bitterly cold and can cause frostbite in minutes on exposed skin.

The 1967 NFL championship game between the Cowboys and Packers, the famous Ice Bowl, was minus-15 (minus-27) at kickoff, with a wind chill of minus-38 (minus-39).

Some have reported the kickoff temperature for the 1995 AFC divisional playoff between the Colts and Chiefs in Kansas City was minus-6, but it was not. It was still cold, 14 degrees, but not close to the top 10 coldest games. The coldest game in KC was the 1983 season finale, when it was 10 above for the Chiefs’ 48-17 victory over the Broncos and rookie quarterback John Elway. Denver still made that season’s playoffs, but was routed in the wild card game by the Seahawks.

The low this morning in Russell was 3 above (minus-16 Celsius), but there was no wind to speak of. It was colder than normal for the date, but without the wind and no snow on the ground, it was nowhere near the worst day it’s been up here. Not by a long shot.

Minnesota leads 3-0 at halftime. The Vikings took advantage of a bad snap on a Seahawks punt attempt to take over at the Seattle 28, and Blair Walsh kicked a 22-yard field goal.

If the Vikings win, they will play at Arizona Saturday. The Cardinals defeated Minnesota 23-20 exactly one month ago, but more importantly, the Seahawks, who won 36-6 at Arizona last Sunday, will be done. I believe Seattle is the one team which can stop Arizona from reaching Super Bowl 50. As a Cardinals fan, I wouldn’t mind seeing that.

If the Seahawks come back, they’re going to Charlotte to play the Panthers next Sunday, while the Green Bay-Washington winner goes to Arizona.

The AFC divisional playoffs are set: Kansas City-New England Saturday, Pittsburgh-Denver Sunday.

About David

I am a sportswriter for a group of weekly newspapers in small towns across northern Kansas. I grew up in New Orleans, went to college at LSU and wandered in the wilderness until Hurricane Katrina finally put me on the path to my current job.

Posted on January 10, 2016, in National Football League. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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