Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Hype Bowl Too

Can we all please stop calling Sunday's Packers-Cowboys game "The Ice Bowl II"?  To do so shows a disturbing lack of historical perspective and really serves to degrade the status of the original game.

For starters, the forecast temperature for kickoff this Sunday is 24-degrees.  That would make it 39-degrees warmer than it was the start of the game on December 31st, 1967--and not really that "icy".  In addition, the field heating system is much more reliable now, meaning the "frozen tundra" won't be as hard as the concrete parking lot and won't be a factor like it was 37-years ago.  Plus, this week's players will be wearing scientifically-designed cold gear under their jerseys and can sit on heated benches or near propane blowers on the sidelines--unlike the players in '67 who tried to stay warm by wearing panty hose, as many layers of cotton clothing as they could fit under the pads and Vaseline on their faces to prevent frostbite while sitting on wooden benches and huddling around charcoal grills on the sidelines.

And the stakes--while certainly high on Sunday--don't compare to what was on the line back then.  The Lombardi Packers were looking for an unprecedented third straight NFL title--and a return trip to the Super Bowl.  It would also be the last game that Vince would coach at Lambeau Field.  The Cowboys were the young, up-and-coming franchise that hadn't yet proven that it could win "the big one".  They have since won 5 Super Bowls--so a loss this Sunday isn't as "devastating" to the franchise.  It is also worth noting that 14 Hall of Famers took part in the "real" Ice Bowl--including both of the head coaches.  This Sunday 3 players--at most--are heading to Canton.  Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is a lock.  Aaron Rodgers should make it--barring further injury problems.  And maybe Julius Peppers gets in--since they have to take some defensive players from the "Fantasy Football Era".

We can also do away with calling this a "revenge game" as well.  The Packers and Cowboys haven't faced off in the playoffs since the 1990's.  What's more, NONE of the players involved this week were even born on December 31st, 1967--and I doubt they could even name more than a few of the 14 Hall of Famers I mentioned before.  If anything, the Ice Bowl itself was a "revenge game"--as the Packers had beaten the Cowboys at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas in the 1966 NFL Championship game as Tom Brown intercepted "Dandy" Don Meredith in the end zone in the final seconds to seal a 34-27 victory.

So please, don't buy the "Ice Bowl II" t-shirts available on-line.  Don't make signs with that on them to bring to the game in hopes of getting on TV.  And don't save your ticket stub with dreams of telling your grandkids someday that you were at "The Second Ice Bowl"--because hopefully they will laugh at your foolishness and assume you have gone senile.  Just enjoy it for what it is, one of four divisional playoff games this weekend featuring two slightly-better than average teams, to decide who gets whipped in Seattle next week.

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