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It Is Exactly 50 Years Since The Ice Bowl Green Bay 21, Dallas 17 on Sunday December 31, 1967

December 31, 2017

It is so cold, not good, but perhaps appropriate in some way, on this the exact 50 year anniversary of the 1967 NFL Title game, better known as “The Ice Bowl.”

Temperatures throughout the tilt won by the Green Bay Packers (21-17), vs the Dallas Cowboys, were well into double digits below zero.

The great and largely underappreciated Packers’ quarterback, Bart Starr scored the game winning touchdown on a “win or lose,” one yard quarterback sneak, with 16 seconds remaining.

“G.B.” was out of timeouts and Starr told the legendary Packers’ coach, Vince Lombardi, that he had the “proper footing” to get the score, that would and did give the Packers, an unprecedented third straight NFL crown.

Rather than try a tying field goal, Mr. Lombardi approved the call, telling Starr, “run it and let’s get the he-l out of here.”

Sadly the CBS telecast of this unbelievable game has never been unearthed. Portions of the radio calls by the two great local announcers, Ted Moore of Green Bay and Bill Mercer, (now 91 years old), for Dallas do exist.

So often football as all the major sports/businesses disappoint me greatly, often having me ask how and why I got so “involved.”

One reason, part of THE reason, are games such as “The Ice Bowl,” a game between Green Bay whose subsequent Supe win vs Oakland gave them membership in the “rare air” of as many as 5 “all the way” (the win vs Dallas gave them the unprecedented 3 straight NFL titles, a feat still never duplicated. The frankly anti climactic Supe win was needed for the “all the way” crown. For example, both Baltimore in 1968 and Minnesota in 1969 won NFL crowns, but Supe losses to the Jets and Kansas City, two teams that have not even qualified for the Super Bowl since, denied them “all the way” crowns and certainly marred their seasons) titles in 7 seasons.

The Dallas story adds to the game’s greatness, as for the second straight season, they suffered a bitter title game defeat, at the hands of the Packers.

They would fail to win it all for three more consecutive playoff qualifying seasons from (’68-70), losing the ’70 season Supe, to Baltimore, in a game in which Jim O’Brien’s last play field goal broke a (13-13) tie.

Baltimore’s radio announcer was the great Ted Moore.

Finally, after the 1971 season, Dallas finally won it all ending years of frustration on Sunday January 16th, 1972, beating Miami (24-3). (Another team that endured exponential frustration in seeking its first title, the Los Angeles Lakers also finally ended it, “titling” on a Sunday 16 weeks later.)

Bill Mercer’s excellent call of Duane Thomas’ touchdown, that put Dallas comfortably ahead, resonates, as he delineated the short yardage on the brief excursion by Duane, into the end zone.

Oh the memories, Moore, Mercer, Starr, Bob Lilly of Dallas, Lombardi and Dallas coach Tom Landry. That is why I got involved, for “better or worse,” as did so many, a “marriage”–television/football, taking our time, aisles already walked DOWN.


The great Bill Mercer pictured above.

Let’s go sweet, not bitter, “sweet 16,” if you will. The temperature was 16 degrees below zero, not sweet but a sixteen. Starr’s decisive touchdown play commenced  with 16 seconds remaining.

Both the Cowboys and Lakers’ titles in 1972 have 16’s if you will.

Dallas won on the 16th of January a Sunday in Supe 6. Sixteen Sundays later, the Lakers won it all, on May 7, 1972.

Click below for a fine feature about Bill Mercer.

Bill Mercer: Sportscaster, Teacher, Father


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