Putting title game debate on ice

When it comes to conference championship games, the latest is not necessarily the greatest.


(Photos courtesy of the Green Bay Packers)

Talk of Fame Network

In last week’s Talk of Fame Network poll, we asked our listeners and readers to select the greatest conference championship game of the Super Bowl era. We offered up some juicy options. The Catch – the 1981 NFC title game that launched the San Francisco dynasty of the 1980's. The Drive – the 1987 AFC title game that put John Elway on the map as a Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback.

Neither won the vote.

Instead, our voters went back 48 years to select the 1967 NFC title game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers. Better known as the Ice Bowl.

That game received an overwhelming 49.3 percent of the vote, followed by the 1987 Elway title game at 15.9 percent. The 1981 NFC title game tied with the 2001 New England-Pittsburgh AFC title game at 11.6 percent, followed by the 1975 Oakland-Pittsburgh AFC title game at 10.1 percent and the 1981 San Diego-Cincinnati AFC title game at 1.4 percent.

And for once, all three co-hosts of the Talk of Fame Network agreed with the vote. All three cast ballots for the Ice Bowl.

"The Ice Bowl checked all the boxes," said Talk of Fame Network host Clark Judge. "It had the weather. It had great players. And it had drama, with Starr scoring on the Packers' final play. Talk about memorable. I can still feel the cold I felt watching on TV whenever anyone mentions that game. And I can still see Chuck Mercein, following Starr into the end zone, with arms raised. Unforgettable games are great games, and this was the best."

The game has been dubbed the Ice Bowl for obvious reasons. The field was frozen that Green Bay day with a temperature of minus-15 and wind chills of minus-48. The Cowboys and Packers shivered for 60 minutes through this one before Bart Starr won the game for Green Bay on a quarterback sneak on a third-and goal at the Dallas two-foot line in the game’s closing seconds for a 21-17 victory.

Starr was sacked eight times, and the Cowboys scored their only offensive touchdown on a Dan Reeves halfback pass to Lance Rentzel. But Starr drove the Packers 68 yards with the game on the line for the winning touchdown. That season became the last gasp of the great Lombardi dynasty.

The Packers would go on to win their second consecutive Super Bowl and their fifth NFL championship in a span of seven years. But Lombardi retired at the end of the season, and the Packers would not go back to another Super Bowl for 29 years.

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