Freezer Bowl

January 10th, 2013 at 12:01 am by under Bill's Blog, Sports, Weather

   Today is the anniversary of the famous “Freezer Bowl” – Jan. 10, 1982.  The AFC Championship game between the San Diego Chargers and the Cincinnati Bengals was played in Cincinnati in the middle of one of the most brutal Arctic outbreaks in U.S. history.  That Sunday afternoon at game time, the temperature was -9 and the wind was west at 27 mph.  That made the wind chill temperature -37, the coldest wind chill ever for a pro football game.  Before the Chargers took the field, Running back Hank Bauer tested the field conditions. Bauer recalled: “when I came out of that tunnel… man, it (the wind) just hit you-like somebody threw 100 knives at you.” When he returned to the locker room, he told his teammates: “Whatever you got on, take it off. Number one-you won’t be able to move (with all the layers) and number two-it ain’t gonna help.”  The Bengals offensive line played the entire game with bare arms. A number of them played with bare hands as well. They placed hot water bottles inside their athletic supporters and between plays they walked around with their hands in their pants.    It was so cold, icicles started to form on Dan Fouts’ (S.D. Quarterback) beard early in the game.  The game was one of the few in NFL history in which the same team kicked off to begin both halves. Cincinnati won the toss and instead of receiving, elected to have the brutally cold wind at their backs to start the game, believing it would neutralize San Diego’s passing game and help the Bengals to build an early lead. The strategy paid off as Cincinnati built a 10-0 lead.  They went on to win the game 27-7.  (picture from

4 Responses to “Freezer Bowl”

  1. Jack says:

    Football at it’s Best…Played in Cold, Cold , Cold, Weather !! And Hot Water Bottles in Your Pants…..Lol,Lol snicker,snicker.. ;-)

  2. Pat says:

    I remember that day well because our diesel station wagon fuel line gelled up and broke down on the way home from a ski trip. My brothers and I spent the afternoon in a local police station watching the football game while the car was being repaired.

  3. Bryn Gabriel says:

    I was a snior at Berea College and went to that game. We froze are butts off and the stadium was only half full. This was the coldest NFL game I ever went to.

  4. Bryn Gabriel says:

    Oh one more memory from that day, there were three guys in the first couple of rows who were without shirts for the whole first half, they must have been extremely drunk or on something. They came back for the 2nd half with shirts and jackets, but I read the next day one or two of them were in the hospital with pnemonia. I remember the temp being -5 when we walked into the stadium, not the -9 reported here

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