Overhead black and white picture of football players in the ice bowl.

10 Coldest Football Games In NFL History

Chiefs fans began leaving Arrowhead Stadium midway through the fourth quarter of the recent NFL wild-card round between the Miami Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs. It wasn't because they were losing, but because the Chief's victory was well in hand (Chiefs won 26-7), and there was no reason to continue braving the absolutely frigid temperatures.

The game ranks as the fourth coldest in NFL history. At kickoff, it was bone-chilling -4 degrees Fahrenheit (-27° with windchill), and by the end of the game, temperatures had dropped to -8°, with windchill bringing it down to -28°. 

As we huddle up in the warmth of our homes, let's take a chilling look through the icy history of the league. Here are the coldest NFL games that have left players and spectators shivering in their cleats.

The Ice Bowl (1967) – Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys

Greenbay packers Bart Starr hiking the football during the ice bowl.
Image Credit: Packers Public Relations.

Temperature: -13°F

Played at Lambeau Field, “The Ice Bowl” is widely regarded as the coldest game in NFL history. The extreme cold added to the drama as the Packers clinched victory with a quarterback sneak by Bart Starr in the dying seconds.

Battling a -48° wind chill, both teams showed resilience in adverse conditions. Despite the Packers' early lead, the Cowboys rallied, taking a 17-14 lead in the fourth quarter. In a legendary drive, Packers quarterback Bart Starr led a game-winning touchdown, sealing a 21-17 victory. The frozen battle earned the Packers a third consecutive NFL championship.

The Freezer Bowl (1982) – Cincinnati Bengals vs. San Diego Chargers

Bengals Ken Anderson handing the ball off.
Image Credit: Bengals Public Relations.

Temperature: -9°F

In a freezing AFC Championship game at Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati, the Bengals faced one of the coldest playoff environments in history. Despite the frigid conditions, they secured a victory along with a ticket to Super Bowl XVI.

The Chargers, accustomed to the pleasant San Diego weather, found themselves grappling with the extreme cold at Riverfront Stadium. The temperature plummeted to -9°, with a biting wind chill of -59°, creating a harsh reality check for the Southern California team.

Struggling to adapt to the icy conditions, the Chargers' high-ranking offense, known for its proficiency in both points and yards, faltered. San Diego could only muster one touchdown on 301 total yards, plagued by four turnovers. In stark contrast, the Bengals, familiar with the challenges of cold weather, thrived in the extreme conditions, putting up 27 points on 318 total yards with just one turnover.

The Bengals' performance in the cold underscored the pivotal role of the brutal weather in determining the outcome of that AFC Championship game. Subsequently, in the Super Bowl, the Bengals faced the San Francisco 49ers and suffered a defeat with a final score of 26 to 21.

Arctic Blast (2016) – Minnesota Vikings vs. Seattle Seahawks

Vikings earn first down against the Seahawks during 2016 game.
Image Credit: Vikings Public Relations.

Temperature: -6°F

The Seahawks encountered classic Midwest winter weather at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis for during an NFC wild-card matchup against the Vikings. The frigid temperature hit -6° with a biting wind chill of -25°.

Despite Minnesota's supposed cold-weather advantage, the field showed no favoritism. Both teams struggled offensively, with Seattle managing a modest 226 yards and Minnesota gaining a mere 183. In this defensive showdown, the Seahawks eeked out a narrow 10-9 victory, securing their ticket to the next round.

Wild Card Weather (2024) – KC Chiefs vs. Miami Dolphins

Dolphins vs Kansas City depiction and graphic.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Temperature: -4°F

The Miami Dolphins, unaccustomed to frigid conditions, faced an icy challenge when they arrived in Kansas City for a pivotal playoff showdown against the Chiefs in the 2024 NFL season.

Arrowhead Stadium set the stage with a freezing kickoff temperature of -4°. The wind chill intensified the freeze, making it feel like a daunting -27°, with a further drop as the game progressed.

The Kansas City Fire Department told KMBC News that they received 69 calls for service at Arrowhead Stadium during the game, half of which were hypothermia-related.

Midwest Mayhem (1972) – Vikings vs. Bears

Graphic Depiction for Chicago bears.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Temperature: -2°F

In a frigid chapter of NFL history, Minnesota hosted two sub-zero regular-season games in the same season, both at Metropolitan Stadium. The first cold encounter occurred in Week 12 against the NFC North rival Bears, where the temperature dipped to -2°, feeling like a harsh -26° with wind chill. 

In this frozen battle, field goals dominated the scoring, with the Vikings booting three and the Bears adding one. Minnesota ultimately prevailed with a 23-10 victory, advancing to a 7-5 record for the season.

Cold Front (1972) – Vikings vs. Packers

Vikings vs. Greenbay graphic depiction.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Temperature: -0°F

The icy winds continued to howl in Minneapolis the following week as the Vikings faced the Packers at Metropolitan Stadium, with the temperature again plummeting to -0° and a wind chill of -18°.

The Vikings aimed to weather the sub-zero storm once more. However, Green Bay, arriving from a freezing win against the Lions, proved resilient. The Packers surged in the second half, scoring 23 unanswered points and leaving the Vikings behind with a 23-7 defeat. Despite their efforts, the Vikings' offense struggled with only 144 yards compared to Green Bay's 270.

Frozen Tundra (2008) – Green Bay Packers vs. New York Giants

New York Giants vs Greenbay Packers during the 2008 season. Eli Manning setting up the offense.
Image Credit: Mike Morbeck, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Temperature: -1°F 

In the memorable 2008 NFC Championship, Lambeau Field lived up to its Frozen Tundra nickname. A bid farewell to Brett Favre as Green Bay’s quarterback, this freezing final game would not only include the red-hot Giants but also enduring a chilling -1° with a wind chill of -23°.

Note: some sources put this game at -4°F vs. just -1°F. But let's be honest, anything lower than 0°F is just downright cold. 

Favre's final stand saw him limited to a mere 236 passing yards, with Green Bay struggling to amass just 28 rushing yards. In contrast, the New York offense recorded 134 rushing yards and 251 passing yards from Eli Manning. The two teams battled to a 20-20 tie, extending the drama into overtime, where the Giants clinched victory with a third field goal from Lawrence Tynes. This pivotal win propelled them to the Super Bowl, where they triumphed against the Patriots.

Chilling Clash (1993) – Raiders vs. Packers

Raiders vs Greenbay Packers 1993 season.
Image Credit: Vikings Public Relations.

Temperature: 0°F

This was a freezing showdown that left the Raiders frozen out. The Raiders went from the sun-soaked streets of Los Angeles to Lambeau Field, where the temperature plummeted to zero degrees, accompanied by a punishing wind chill of -20°.

On that bitterly cold day, the thermometer wasn't the only thing hitting zero. The Raiders struggled to make headway, mustering a mere 182 yards while committing four turnovers. Their offensive efforts fell flat, resulting in a scoreless performance against the dominant Packers, who boasted 329 yards of offense and secured a resounding 28-point victory.

Cold Enough (1994) – Raiders vs. Bills

Raiders vs. Bills graphic depiction during the 1994 season.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Temperature: 0°F

In another wintry showdown for the Raiders, this time against the Buffalo Bills with a zero-degree temperature and a wind chill of -32°, the team showed their preparation for the harsh conditions. They scored two touchdowns in a compelling second quarter, leading 17-13 at halftime and maintaining momentum for a slim 23-22 edge before the fourth quarter.

However, the Bills made a late-game comeback, securing a 29-23 lead with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Jim Kelly. Despite the Raiders' valiant effort, the Bills held their ground, sealing the victory. 

Steelers vs. Bengals (1977)

Graphic depiction of Bengals vs Steelers logo and football fans.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Temperature: 0°F

In Cincinnati's frigid history, the AFC Championship at Riverfront remains the coldest, but it's not the only sub-zero showdown. The third zero-degree game on our list occurred during Week 13 of the 1977 regular season when the Bengals faced off against the rival Steelers at Riverfront Stadium. 

With a zero-degree temperature and a biting wind chill of -17°, Ken Anderson outplayed Terry Bradshaw. Anderson's third-quarter touchdown pass secured a 17-10 victory, marking the final score in a frozen battle where he amassed 303 passing yards, while Bradshaw had 246 with a pick-six.

Sources: NFL Communications, NFL.com

12 Super Bowl Trivia Tid Bits That Will Impress Even Hardcore Fans

Silhouette of Fans supporting teams at Super Bowl LVIII, the 58th Super Bowl, Kansas City Chiefs vs. The San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

The Super Bowl is just around the corner. Brush up your Super Bowl knowledge and add a whole new layer of excitement to your game-day experience.

Author: Corey Turner

Title: Journalist

Expertise: Pets, Nature, Project Management

Corey Turner is a journalist, conservationist, outdoor enthusiast, and passionate pet owner. Corey founded FurBallFun in 2022. He's known for his honest pet product reviews and guidance for navigating pet behavior, health, and nutrition.