Wednesday, February 10, 2010
On Snow Bowls
I would argue that, in this age of media saturation, we remember games affected by the weather more fondly than any other. I mean, if I bring up the Tuck Rule game, what's the first thing you remember? It was snowing. The Ice Bowl, and The Fog Bowl: This is football; or at least, this is football, until the Super Bowl, or until the bowl season.* So why not play a Super Bowl in New Jersey, or in Green Bay, or in Boston? Why not play the BCS Championship in Pittsburgh? It's not like the game won't sell out and generate millions in revenue, even if it's in Detroit. What exactly are they afraid of? CEOs contracting frostbite? Most of the halftime acts are already cryogenically preserved. If there's a populist revolution in the offing in this country, this is where the revolution begins: With a big game in the snow.
One of the three most memorable games I ever attended in person was this one, back in 1987. You want to know what I remember most? It's not the finish, even though the finish was outstanding**. What I remember is that I went to buy a hot chocolate at halftime, and I held it up to my lips and the chocolate dribbled down my chin. I was so cold that my lips had frozen into solid blocks. At the time, it was painful, but in retrospect, it was one of the seminal moments of my existence.
I don't think I'd ever want to experience that again, but I'd like to experience it vicariously.
*With the notable exception of the Cotton Bowl, where the weather seemed entirely unpredictable. The idea that it could snow in Texas never ceased to be shocking.
**And damn, Blair Thomas was a truly great running back before he tore up his knee.
(Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)