You're the NFL Commish - Postpone the Green Bay Game?

I know it isn’t going to happen, but if you were the NFL Commissioner and you’re prime directive was to protect the integrity of the game, would you do it? The NFL will delay games if lightning is in the area, as will golf, baseball, college football, and soccer. We are looking Sunday at a three to four hour event in life-threatening conditions, not a 30 minute passing of a storm front.

The situation: It now appears that this will be the coldest weather ever for an NFL game, surpassing the 1967 “Ice Bowl”, also played in Green Bay. It will be colder in absolute terms and also in wind chill. It should be dark by the second half kickoff, and absolute temps will be in double digits below zero. Winds will be strong and gusty, sending windchills below -50°F.

The game starts in late afternoon, allowing fans to get good and hammered before entering the stadium. Exacerbating conditions for frostbite include alcohol in blood and diabetes (sorry, Packer fans, but we’ve all seen the crowd shots from Lambeau Field.)

If there is one fan base that knows how to dress for cold, it is Packer fans, but a playoff game will draw a lot of casual fans from warmer locations as well as a sizable contingent from San Francisco. We all know that a group of college boys will strip down to their skivvies and show they know how to spell P-A-C-K-E-R-S in body paint. Exposed skin will start to freeze in under a minute in those conditions, and once your core body temp begins to fall, just putting your clothes back on won’t fix that problem.

I’m not too worried about the players with their activity level and heated seats, but there are a hell of a lot more people around the field today than there were in 1967. Guys holding the boom mikes to capture game sounds, guys whose job it is to keep camera cords from being trampled, sideline reporters for TV and radio, etc. There are a couple of hundred people surrounding the field that aren’t members of either team.

Finally, when the game is over and the fans lurch frozenly to their cars, how many won’t start after sitting in below zero temperatures for five or six hours?

I wouldn’t want to be on call at a Green Bay hospital Sunday night. I’m guessing there will be well over 100 medical evacs and at least one fatality at the game.

If I were commissioner, I’d have made the call a few days ago and had the game played on Saturday in temps 30-40° warmer.

Me too.

I would never postpone for snow.

But that far below zero…yes, I would. Those football uniforms, they are not built for warmth. Lineman, especially offensive lineman, hate to wear sleeves. But I would be more worried about the fans.

I remember that kind of cold in Ohio. Weather forcasters talking about ‘survival times’…

At the very least, they should move the game up a few hours.

It’s just going to get colder until Wednesday. Next Sunday should be nice. You cant delay a wild card a whole week though.

They could have moved it up by one day. Saturday is supposed to be up to near freezing.

I’m well aware that this is the marquee game for the first week of the NFL playoffs and TV really wants this for the Sunday late game, but in this case, I would have flip flopped the schedule to make this a Saturday game, preferably the early Saturday game.

There’s all sorts of ‘real fan’ bullshit posted on most of the NFL blogs, but this type of weather isn’t to be taken lightly. I don’t want to see anyone dying just because they were drunk and stupid during extreme weather. I’m sure the NFL doesn’t want that as well.

Didn’t some stadium provide blankets or warmers or something recently? Maybe it was a college game, having a hard time searching for it.

For me (as noted above by others), it’s the fans I would worry for. Out of shape, drinking alcohol, etc… I dressed up in my ski clothes for a super cold game in Denver once. Even with that level of protection, I got really cold. Breathing in that cold air for so long.

But, postpone the game? Not if it means several days, got to give everyone the same chance to prepare for the next game. Play it earlier? Maybe, but I wonder if advertizing contracts would come into play here.

That’s too cold for me to even watch the game on tv.

I may have moved it to Saturday earlier - May be too late now. Could it be moved to noon?


If the 2008 playoff game wasn’t postponed neither should this one.

Considering what football as a sport does to the players, this isn’t that big of a deal.

Speaking as a former Cheesehead, you’re going to get a ton of idiot spectators trying to act tough who probably need to be protected from themselves.

Speaking as a current Chicagoan… eh, whatever. :smiley: (Mostly kidding.)

I’m sure there are fans of other teams out there who won’t mind if both Packers and 49ers end up ice statues on the field. :smiley:

Well, the game will really take place at

[Chris Berman] “The frozen tundra of Lambeau Field”[/CB]

For what I have read, back on the Ice Bowl of 1967 there were cases of dead car batteries and frostbite, but I could not see any reported deaths at -13 degrees back then and the wind chills were even colder, it could get colder next Sunday later in the day, but the game will start at -5 degrees, I think that the people at Lambeau will be prepared.

There was one death (heart attack) in 1967. Keep in mind that the game starts at 3:40 PM, almost the warmest part of the day, and the cold air will still be just beginning to arrive. It will get colder very fast, especially with the sun setting. The wind is also going to be fiercer than in 1967, assuming the forecast holds.

My initial thought was, “Postpone? For the temperature? At the home of the Ice Bowl? Never!” But … I think the NFL probably should have swapped the game to today.

The meteorologists are talking about how serious this is. It isn’t a cold snap, it isn’t a snowstorm - it’s life-threatening conditions if you’re outside long enough and not properly protected. I think the fans in general will be able to layer up, plus they will be packed together like sardines to share body heat (from my experience at stadiums, the typical seat room allowed is nowhere near adequate for people wearing coats/snowsuits/extra padding) - but how many layers does a football uniform allow? And the players will be out on the exposed field, in the wind, as the darkness falls through the game and the temperatures drop. The Ice Bowl was played in full sunshine, not in the evening hours.

Just for the quality of football you’re going to see, as well as the consideration for the well-being of fans and players, I think this is a special circumstance. It might not be a whole lot better to play in Green Bay tonight and in Philly tomorrow, but it probably would be somewhat safer.

I predict that by Monday morning there will be serious (state, league and Congressional-level) investigation promised, questioning the lack of judgment and allowing commercial drive to trump sensibility.

Certainly too late to logistically do at this point, but in the future maybe the Packers/NFL should consider having the Brewers’ domed stadium available as an alternate site. Green Bay used to play a couple home games a year in Milwaukee after all.

I completely agree that the game should be postponed or moved. The NFL Rule Book specifically cites that severe inclement weather is reason for doing so. If this doesn’t qualify as “severe inclement weather” then what does?

The health and safety of the fans and stadium workers and game participants should not put in jeopardy.

Yow, those forecasts are astounding…

I understood Miller Park (a sliding-roof structure) had its initially intended football reconfigurability taken out to optimize it for baseball, so it would require a nontrivial capital investment to refit it.

One thing the league can do is ‘encourage’ the tv broadcast to not show dumb ass fans shirtless in the stands during these extreme conditions.

What? I’m hoping they increase it just for this game. If they’re drunk and stupid enough to do this, I want front row seats.