I'd call it a toss up between this game and SuperBowl III as the two greatest games I have ever seen.
1967 NFL Championship
The Ice Bowl
Sun, Dec 31, 1967
at Lambeau Field
Green Bay Packers 21 ∑ Dallas Cowboys 17
By Scott Crevier
The day was New Years Eve, Sunday, December 31, 1967; the coldest New Year's Eve in Green Bay's recorded history. The stadium was the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field with 50,861 fans on their feet. The temperature was 13 degrees below zero. The wind chill, 40 below. The game was to determine the NFL champion and who would advance to what would later be called Super Bowl II. The match-up, Tom Landry and his Dallas Cowboys versus Vince Lombardi and his two-time defending champion Green Bay Packers.
The Packers jumped to an early 14-0 lead via two touchdown passes from Bart Starr to Boyd Dowler. But Dallas came back in the 2nd quarter to force two fumbles leading to a touchdown and a field goal. The halftime score was 14-10. No one reached the end zone in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, halfback Dan Reeves threw a 50-yard strike to Lance Rentzel to give Dallas a 17-14 lead.
The Packers took over on their own 32 yard line with 4:50 left on the clock. They engineered a 68-yard drive in 12 plays, driving all the way down to the two-foot line. With 16 seconds left and no timeouts remaining, the Packers could have easily kicked a field goal to tie it, forcing the fans to endure a bitter cold overtime. Instead, on 3rd and 24 inches, Jerry Kramer threw the block of the century, allowing enough room for Bart Starr to sneak into the south end zone for the winning touchdown. Chandler kicked the extra point and the Packers won the Ice Bowl, 21-17.
0 10 0 7 17
7 7 0 7 21
GB - Dowler 8 yard touchdown pass from Starr (Chandler kick)
GB - Dowler 46 yard touchdown pass from Starr (Chandler kick)
DAL - Andrie 7 yard fumble return for touchdown (Villanueva kick)
DAL - Villanueva 21 yard field goal
DAL - Rentzel 50 yard touchdown pass from Reeves (Villanueva kick)
GB - Starr 1 yard touchdown run (Chandler kick)
The Associated Press story The Ice Bowl
Packers 21 - Cowboys 17
AP - Conservative Vince Lombardi gambled and won Sunday with 13 seconds left by going for the winning touchdown on a Bart Starr keeper instead of a tying field goal for a 21-17 Green Bay victory over Dallas in blue 13-below-zero Eskimo weather.
"The whole world loves a gambler, but not when he loses," said Coach Lombardi after his Packers had won an unprecedented third straight National Football League title.
"We were out of timeouts. I had the field goal team warming up. They would have gone in on the next play. But I donít know if we would have had time to send them in," he said.
Quarterback Bart Starr, who said "We ran out of ideas," and the gamble paid off by scoring from the 1 on third down behind the blocking of Jerry Kramer.
"We were stumped for something to do, Kramer made a great block on Jethro Pugh," he said.
The veteran Starr had thrown two touchdown passes in the first half, but the "Doomsday Defense" of the aroused Cowboys had dumped him eight times for 76 yards in loses.
Dallas used two Green Bay fumbles to draw close with a touchdown and field goal and gone ahead on the first play of the last quarter on a 50-yard option pass from halfback Dan Reeves to Lance Rentzel.
"I didnít figure all those people up there in the stands could take cold for an overtime game," said Lombardi with a grin. "You canít say Iím always without compassion."
Both Starr and Lombardi praised the work of Donny Anderson and Chuck Mercein, who caught important passes and made crucial gains in the game winning, 68-yard march.
The Dallas Cowboys, still carrying the memories of a heartbreaking 34-27 defeat last New Yearís Day, almost made the fierce cold pay off for them in Packer fumbles. But it wasnít enough.
"Minus-13," said Don Meredith, quarterback for the Cowboys. "You just canít do things you want to do in weather like this."
The Cowboy defense did things it wanted to do manhandling Starr. George Andrie was a one-man gang, and Bob Lilly, Pugh and Willie Townes all had a hand as well as linebackers Chuck Howley and Dave Edwards.
In the final analysis, it was the same old Packers, moving when they had to.
"This is what the Packers are all about," said Lombardi. "What we did in the last two minutes - they donít do it for individual glory, they do it because they respect each other and have a feeling for the other fellow."
Starr's two touchdowns to Boyd Dowler had built up an early 14-0 lead for the favored Packers in the frigid cold. But Dallas struck back by turning two fumbles into a touchdown and a field goal and then took the lead in the final period on the option pass from Reeves to Rentzel.
In the final seconds, the Packers pulled it out for Coach Vince Lombardi, and moved into the January 14th Super Bowl game at Miami against the American Football League champion.
Trailing 17-14 with 4:54 to go, Starr took the Packers 68-yards in 12 plays, and at last crushed over for the winner after two smashes by Anderson failed to move the ball. It was third and one when Starr took matters into his own hands.
Spurning a field goal attempt that might have sent the game into sudden-death overtime, Starr and Lombardi elected to go for the win.
"It was a question of the team knowing what they had to do with time running out," Lombardi said. "They arrived."
Hundreds of the sellout crowd of 50,361 surged onto the playing surface after Starr smashed home for the big touchdown that could be worth $27,500 for each Packer.
When the game ended two plays later, the half frozen spectators in the gaily colored ski gear, red hunting coats and blue and yellow parkas attacked the metal goal posts and finally twisted them to the ground.
It seemed that the Cowboys, who appeared on the way out of the game when the Packers ran up an early 14-0 lead, had gained the momentum to take the first title to Dallas. A fumble by Starr after he was hit by Willie Townes was scooped up by defensive end George Andrie, who rumbled the final 7 yards for a Dallas touchdown late in the second period.
Just before halftime, another Packer misplay gave the Cowboys the chance to close the gap. This time, it was safety Willie Wood fumbling the ball while attempting a fair catch. Rookie defensive back Phil Clark recovered from Dallas on the Packers' 17.
On fourth and six, Danny Villanueva connected with a 20-yard field goal.
Instead of a romp, Green Bay suddenly found itself in a dogfight, betrayed by the bitter Packer weather on the coldest December 31st in the history of the local weather bureau.
Held to 42 yards in the first half, Dallas began to move the ball in the third period.
The icy blast of a 15 mile an hour wind from the northwest, and the subzero temperature, hampered both clubs in a game marred by several fumbles. However, the footing on the electrically heated field was apparently good enough.
Don Chandler was waiting for the call to try for a tying field goal in the final seconds but it never came.
Chandler had missed a 40-yard field goal attempt in the final quarter.
Although Green Bay won three consecutive NFL titles in 1929-31 before the league was divided into conferences for playoffs, no other club has ever won three straight playoffs.
The winning surge covered 68 yards with Starr hitting Dowler for 13, Anderson for 12 and nine and Mercein for 19 to bring it down close.
Mercein, the castoff of the New York Giants who was picked up by the Packers in an emergency because of backfield injuries, earned his pay by rolling for 19 yards on a Starr pass and then slamming up the middle for 18 yards to the Cowboy 3.
Anderson got the first down at the 1, but he couldnít get home in two attempts, leaving it up to Starr for the winner.
Don Perkins was the top ground gainer for the inspired Cowboys, slashing through the line for 51 yards in 17 carries. Teammate Reeves gained 42 yards in 13 attempts.
Anderson topped the Packers with 35 yards in 18 carries and also pulled down four passes for 77 yards.
Green Bay struck the first time it got the ball, moving 82 yards in 16 plays with the help of penalties against Dallas for pass interference and defensive holding.
The score came on 8-yards toss from Starr to Dowler at 8:50 of the first period.
The second Packer score was a thing of beauty. Starr hit Dowler with a long pass, and the 6-foot-5 split end stretched out to grab it on his fingertips, just out of reach of Mel Renfro.
Green Bay needed only four plays to cover 65 yards in that strike