10 Most Extreme Weather-Impacted Sports Events of All Time

Man using a snow blower to remove large amounts of snow on football field. Man cleans snow with a snow-removing machine on soccer pitch.

10 Most Extreme Weather-Impacted Sports Events of All Time

For better or worse, playing sports out in the open often means dealing with the weather. Sometimes, it’s just a drizzle, but other times, it’s a snowstorm that can cause a giant mess during the middle of a game. Like it or not, the weather is just a fact of life, and outside of making every stadium a dome, there is little we can do to push back against bad weather. With this in mind, let’s look at some of the most extreme weather-impacted sporting events ever.

10. 1934 NFL Championship

The 1934 NFL Championship never saw temperatures go above 25 degrees.
  • When: December 9, 1934
  • League: NFL
  • Event: Second-ever NFL championship game

With temperatures never exceeding 25 degrees, the weather was awfully cold to play a championship game between the Chicago Bears and New York Giants. It was so cold that the Giants came back after halftime with basketball shoes instead of cleats to stay better on their feet. 

9. College Football

Snow Bowl
The Snow Bowl in 1950 had wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour.
  • When: November 25, 1950
  • League: College Football
  • Event: The Snow Bowl

Known as the “Snow Bowl” or “Blizzard Bowl,” Ohio State played the University of Michigan in a foot of snow. On top of the snow, it was 5 degrees outside, with winds gusting up to 40 miles per hour. Nothing summarizes the game more than learning there were 45 punts in total. 

8. The Tuck Rule Game

Tuck Rule Game
The Tuck Rule Game took place at Foxboro stadium.
  • When: January 19, 2002
  • League: NFL
  • Event: Playoffs

During the 2002 AFC playoffs, the New England Patriots started their Tom Brady-led dynasty using what is known as the “tuck rule.” With snow falling everywhere, the Patriots were up 13-10 with less than two minutes to play. As the Oakland Raiders stripped the ball from Brady’s hands, officials ruled Brady had “tucked” the ball into his arms and could not have fumbled. The resulting Patriots win began a dynasty. 

7. The Snow Game

The Snow Game took place at Lincoln Financial Field.
©"Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA" by kla4067 is licensed under BY 2.0. - Original / License
  • When: December 8, 2013
  • League: NFL
  • Event: Regular season game

With snow starting to follow hours before kickoff, the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions played under awful weather conditions. Up to 6 inches of snow fell on the field during the game, leading to eight fumbles and 12 punts. The weather was so poor neither team dared to try a field goal. 

6. The Snowplow Game

Patriots Game
The New England Patriots often play in terrible weather.
©BrokenSphere / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license - Original / License
  • When: December 12, 1982
  • League: NFL
  • Event: The Snowplow Game

When the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots played in December 1982, the snow was so heavy and gusts of wind so strong that a snowplow had to be brought out to clear space for a field goal kick. The game was scoreless until 4:45, when the Patriots kicked the only score, winning 3-0. 

5. Thanksgiving 1993

Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys now play in a dome to avoid unusually cold weather in Texas.
©Michael Barera / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license - Original / License
  • When: November 25, 1993
  • League: NFL
  • Event: Football game

One of the wildest endings to a football game officially known as the “Sleet Bowl.” With snow piling up on the ground, the Miami Dolphins and the Dallas Cowboys were playing till the last second. However, a blocked kick by Dallas infamously led Leon Lett of the Cowboys to give the ball back to the Dolphins. 

4. 2014 Australian Open

The 2014 Australian Open was unusually hot, leading to player illness.
©"2014 - 14 Jan Australian Open (128)" by Brett Marlow Melbourne Australia is licensed under BY-ND 2.0. - Original / License
  • When: January 14, 2014
  • League: Tennis
  • Event: Australian Open

With unusually high temperatures, players called the 2014 Australian Open an “inhumane” event even by Australian standards. Ball kids fainted, players vomited, six players withdrew, and water bottles melted right before the eyes of fans. 

3. Fog Bowl

Fog Bowl
During the Fog Bowl, players could only see up to 10 yards before them.
  • When: December 31, 1988
  • League: NFL
  • Event: Playoffs

This 1988 playoff game between the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles remains famous for the heavy fog. As players couldn’t see more than 10 yards in front, running was the only option, as players couldn’t see the sidelines or end zone. 

2. 2016 World Series

The rain delay undoubtedly helped the Cubs find their composure and win the World Series.
©"File:The Cubs celebrate after winning the 2016 World Series. (30709972906).jpg" by Arturo Pardavila III from Hoboken, NJ, USA is licensed under BY 2.0. - Original / License
  • When: November 2, 2016
  • League: MLB
  • Event: World Series

With the Chicago Cubs fighting for its first World Series in 108 years, a rain delay stops the game for 17 minutes after the Cubs blew a three-run lead. The delay allowed the Cubs to rally together and regain the momentum to hold off the Cleveland Indians. 

1. The Ice Bowl

The Ice Bowl in 1967 was one of the coldest football games ever.
  • When: December 31, 1967
  • League: NFL
  • Event: NFL Championship 

The Green Bay Packers played against the Dallas Cowboys in one of the most memorable football games. With the weather at -15 degrees and the wind chill at -48 degrees, it remains the coldest football game ever. Even the referee’s whistle stuck to his lips. 

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