Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Top 5 NFL Snow Games

Posted on 23 December 2018 by Jack Nevill

It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, a snow game in the NFL is a joy to watch.

Game plans go out of the window and finesse is replaced by brute force and, often, calamity.

As people around the world wish for a white Christmas, lets take a look at the five best snow games in NFL history.

5. Miami Dolphins @ Dallas Cowboys — November 25, 1993

A snow game on thanksgiving that featured a legendary gaffe, this one had to make the list. A back and forth game right until the end, the Dolphins lined up to attempt a game winning 40-yard field goal down 14-13.

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The attempt was blocked, sending Cowboys fans and players into a frenzy believing they had sealed a victory.

Alas, defensive lineman Leon Lett touched the ball, making it live. Inevitably the Dolphins recovered the ball closer than the previous field goal attempt, kicked it through the uprights and won the game. Whoops.

4. Detroit Lions @ Philadelphia Eagles — December 18, 2013

Easily one of the most enjoyable games to watch in recent memory, the snow started falling early and never stopped in this instant classic.

Neither team attempted a field goal due to the conditions, with 2-point attempts after seven of the eight touchdowns scored.

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With footwork and fundamentals at a premium in the snowy conditions, watching LeSean McCoy effortlessly gliding and dancing through tacklers on his way to 217 rushing yards, with touchdowns of 57 and 40 yards respectively as the Eagles won 34-20.

Seeing Lions receiver Calvin Johnson with a face full of snow after a catch remains the enduring image from this game.  

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Green Bay Packers — December 1, 1985

Dubbed as the ‘Snow Bowl,’ this was the perfect example of a warm weather team being swallowed up by the cold of Lambeau field, the world famous home of the Green Bay Packers.

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With snow as deep as 16 inches in Green Bay, the stadium was mostly empty with fans struggling to get to the game.

It wasn’t much of a contest, as the Packers laid 512 offensive yards on the hapless Buccaneers in a 21-0 rout.

Such was the ineptitude of Tampa Bay on the day, a measly 65 yards was all they could muster. Truly the most wonderful time of the year.

2. Buffalo Bills @ Cleveland Browns — December 16, 2008

A perfect example of an ugly snow game, the Bills and Browns beat each other from pillar to post in a blizzard in Cleveland.

In conditions that bordered on unplayable, with 40 mph winds and very limited visibility, both teams found it almost impossible to throw the ball.

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Browns running back Jamal Lewis ran for 163 yards and somehow Phil Dawson kicked two field goals to give the Browns an 8-0 win.

A bizarre and oddly beautiful event, it was a throwback to the days of old in the NFL, defined by grit, toughness and winning any way possible.

1. Oakland Raiders @ New England Patriots — January 19, 2002

One of the most famous NFL games in history for a number of reasons.

Infamously the game that featured the ‘Tuck Rule’ — a fumble if you ask a Raider, an incomplete pass if you ask a Patriot — this one play and its repercussions changed the future of the NFL.

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The way it went, it was called an incomplete pass, and Adam Vinatieri went on to hit the most clutch kick in NFL History — with teammates clearing snow to allow him space to kick the ball — to tie the game, and another in overtime with snow falling all around to give the Patriots the win.

The Patriots won the Super Bowl and launched a dynasty. If the play had been called a fumble, the Raiders likely would have won the game, and ended the Patriots dominance before it ever began.

Featured image/Michael Holley