Sunday, January 5, 2014

49ers vs. Packers

[From Craig]  First you have to understand that we lived the first 34 years of our lives in Wisconsin, that the first Super Bowl (won by the Packers) was in the same week as our first wedding anniversary, and that we've lived the last 30 years of our lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Given that, you might get the idea that a Packer vs. 49er playoff game would be important to us...

For this one, another exciting factor was the weather in Green Bay.  In the last few days, it looked like this might be the coldest football game in the 94-year history of the NFL.  It wasn't quite that cold, but it probably made the coldest 10.

We invited our relatives to our first football party for the Ice Bowl between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys on Dec 31, 1967.  (We had foolishly blown our most of our tiny net worth on an early color TV set.)  It looked a lot colder than this one.  

Several possible explanations spring to mind:

  1. People have learned a lot about how to deal with cold since 1967.  The 1967 players looked more like they were suffering than the 2014 players.  Hydration, nutrition, taking care of yourself in bad conditions...
  2. The relatively small amount of extra clothing allowed a pro football player has certainly gotten more protective.  Gore-Tex (which is probably not named for 49ers running back Frank Gore) and similar insulating materials that "breathe" are much better than in '67.
  3. Today's players get paid lots more than the 1967 players did, even after inflation.  This may make them more motivated (read "tougher") than their predecessors.
  4. We viewers are older and have faced more cold weather than when we watched at 22 in 1967.  That probably works backward for explaining why the wayback game looked colder.  Anyway this point sounded good as I typed it...

Obviously today's game was a good one, about as closely-fought as can be  (49ers 23, Packers 20).

I must say that in the games this weekend, I saw more excellent quarterbacks
than in any other 4 games I can remember.  Alex Smith, Andrew Luck, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Colin Kaepernick, and Aaron Rodgers are almost as good a stable of 6 QBs as you can put together out of the rest of NFL history, at least if I can exclude Unitas, Tarkenton and Montana from the historical group.

We asked our relatives to compare this game with the '67 Ice Bowl. Merikay's brother Gil says "the Pack lost by a lot less than I expected... Weather not near as bad as '67.  '67 was a classic. This one was just another game to be forgotten."

My cousin John says "at least we can say we taught Colin well, while here in Cheese Land!".  (Colin Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee and raised in Wisconsin until age 4.  His Polish last name comes from his adoptive parents.)

Merikay says "it was a bit like watching your children play a game. You root for both, are happy for the winner, and feel bad for the loser."

I say the Packers (like past 49er teams) rely more on individual heroics than this years 49ers, who seem to be more team-oriented, minimizing heroes.  Maybe the 9ers were marked by last year's Super Bowl loss, and are laying low for another chance at the top prize.


  1. Merikay,
    Enjoyed your post about the game ! I grew up in Door County, Wi. And my folks were at the ICE BOWL game....
    If I remember the details right it took place on New Years Eve in '67 ..... My Mother spent half the game in the rest room trying to warm up, while my Dad made it through the game ..... They were bundled up to say the least ..... On the way back to Egg Harbor the car froze up somewhere between Sturgeon Bay and Carlsville ....they walked to the closest farm house and called for help ..... Although we have been to a lot of Packer games at Lambeau, Mom and Dad always won the prize for braving the elements !!!!!
    The game was great today ..... Good luck to the 49ers!!!!
    Always enjoy your posts and your travels !!! HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!

  2. Kevin wasn't expecting the Packers to win, so wasn't too disappointed. Oh well, there's always next year. We're sure glad we're not in Wisconsin with this cold weather. It's even too cold in Texas!

  3. Even I watched this game just to see how they would all do in those temperatures.

  4. That was a very exciting game, for sure! Glad we don't have to sit out in that kind of weather just to watch!! You're right when you say there are a great group of QB's out there right now. Sure fun to watch, and how about those kickers?

  5. I am more into comfort and would never had endured the cold temperatures to watch the game.

    I will sit in the comfort of our
    Tiffin Allegro Bus and watch in the wonderful warmth.....and cheer the Indianapolis Colts until / if they are defeated.

  6. It was hard on us Packer Backers to watch them lose yesterday, but the 49ers had some great passes and catches and got a lot of good yardage.

    Kudos to the winners!

    Karen and Steve
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard

  7. Packer Backers are pretty good sports, I've noticed. That's getting to be a rare characteristic, what with the politics and all...

  8. Very memorable game, now made more so by reading my father compare it to the legendary Ice Bowl. Never knew you guys had an Ice Bowl party.

    Another thing that's changed along with cold weather gear and players salaries (you might have also mentioned that the ground of Lambeau today is heated with underground coils): an NFL Championship Game today would be replete with tons of pictures on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

    I watched the game a day later on my computer here in Thailand. What struck me aside from the thrilling nature of the game was the appearance of the turf. It looked like the proverbial 'fruzen tundra'.

  9. The underground coils that today heat Lambeau field were in fact ordered by Vince Lombardi. Don't remember if they were in place for the Ice Bowl, if he ordered them in response to that game, or maybe even later.


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