Yesterday’s Snow Bowl seemed legendary in the moment, but here are five games that give it a serious run for its money.
1. 1948. The NFL Championship Game. Philadelphia Eagles 7-Chicago Cardinals 0. Seven inches of snow and a blizzard so bad only 80% of the fans came out for the game. Star running back Steve Van Buren was so sure the game would be postponed, he sent back to sleep after looking out the window that morning.
2. 1968. The Santa Game. Playing the Vikings on a freezing cold December afternoon, the “Santa” the Eagles had paid to entertain the crowd never showed up. (Vince Papale, in the stands that day, said it was the coldest Eagles game he’d ever attended.) So the team found a 5’6″ 140-pound 19-year-old who always dressed like Santa for late-season Eagles games. They got him to walk around and wave to the crowd. The crowd, already peeved about the 2-12 season that would end that day, pelted him with what he estimates were 100 snowballs.
3. 1968. The Mud Bowl. A few games prior, in 1968, the Eagles were trying to tank for the #1 pick in the NFL draft to get USC star running back O.J. Simpson, when they maybe accidentally beat the Lions 12-0 on four field goals. For days leading up to the game, it had rained nonstop on Franklin Field, and rumor has it, the Eagles used dry footballs supplied to the home team, while Detroit was kicking with sloppy oblongs.
4. 1988. The Fog Bowl. The Birds fell to the Bears in a divisional playoff game at Soldiers Field 20-12, as Randall Cunningham could not see anything ,and threw for three picks and 0 TDs.
5. 1989. The Bounty Bowl, Vol II. In December 1989, fans at the Vet started hurling snowballs at everything they could, from Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson, to referees, to CBS announcer Verne Lundquist, who compared Philly to Beirut. (That kind of makes you proud, though, doesn’t it?) They also made sure the snowballs hurt, running water over them to freeze them, and stuffing them with batteries and beer cans. The legacy of the game, which the Eagles won, 27-0, ended up having more to do with the fan behavior than anything else. But the ‘Bounty’ moniker came from allegations that Buddy Ryan (God bless him) was paying his players to put hits on the Cowboys kicker and punter.