A look at the coldest playoff games in NFL history as the Patriots, Bills prepare to fight in freezing conditions


The NFL playoffs start on Saturday, and naturally, January games can bring some frigid environments. The wildcard game between the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots could be one of the coldest contests the league has seen in some time.

CBS Boston plans Temperatures hover around 8 degrees for the opening kickoff at Highmark Stadium in Buffalo. The wind chill is going to make it look -5 degrees and there are going to be 10mph winds all night.

With extremely cold temperatures in the forecast, let’s take a look at the five coldest playoff games in NFL history.

Raiders vs. Browns (Jan 4, 1981): -4 degrees

In the AFC’s 1980 NFL playoff divisional round, the Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders faced off at Cleveland Stadium in a -4 degree temperature and a wind chill that made it seem like it was. from -36. Despite hailing from the sunny West Coast, the Raiders managed to secure a 14-12 victory behind a pair of rushing touchdowns from running back Mark von Eeghen. The Raiders ended up advancing to Super Bowl XV, where they easily beat the Philadelphia Eagles.

Giants vs Packers (January 20, 2008): -4 degrees

It’s no surprise that Lambeau Field is often referred to as the “frozen tundra”. Some of the coldest NFL games on record have been played within the friendly (or not-so-friendly if you’re the opposition) boundaries of Lambeau Field. In the 2007 NFC Championship game, the temperature was -4 degrees and the wind chill made the elements feel like -24. Despite the freezing temperatures, the Giants were able to hit the road and clinch a 23-20 victory to qualify for the Super Bowl. Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes missed two baskets in the fourth quarter but managed to add 47 yards in overtime to lead his team to victory.

Seahawks vs Vikings (January 10, 2016): -6 degrees

During the NFC wildcard round of the 2015 playoffs, the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings battled in one of the lesser-scored playoff games the NFL has seen. By the time of kickoff it was -6 degrees with the wind chill making it appear -25 at TCF Bank Stadium, where the Vikings settled during construction of US Bank Stadium. The Vikings ended up missing a potential winning field goal of 26 yards with 20 seconds left and the Seahawks were able to secure a 10-9 victory.

Chargers vs. Bengals (Jan 10, 1982): -9 degrees

The 1981 AFC Championship game featured the Cincinnati Bengals welcoming the San Diego Chargers to Riverfront Stadium in what has become the “Freezer Bowl”. The temperature was -9 degrees and the wind chill made it seem like a mind-numbing -59 degrees. With the wind chill, it’s arguably the coldest game the league has ever seen. The Bengals ended up taking advantage of the cold temperatures and advanced to the Super Bowl with a 27-7 victory. Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts returned the ball four times, which certainly helped the Bengals’ cause.

Cowboys vs Packers (December 31, 1967): -13 degrees

Of course, Lambeau Field makes another appearance on this list. During the 1967 NFL Championship game, nicknamed the “Ice Bowl,” the temperature was -13 degrees with a wind chill that felt like -48. At the end of the competition, the temperature reached -18 degrees. Packers quarterback Bart Starr converted a one-yard touchdown on a stealthy quarterback to give the Packers a 21-17 victory in the coldest game in NFL history.

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