By Marlys Kruger
When Monica Bertsch had the opportunity to attend the playoff game between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field Sunday, Jan. 5, it was an opportunity she just couldn’t pass up. With the temperature expected to be near zero with a below zero wind chill factor tacked on, many die hard fans elected not to attend, leaving plenty of tickets to be found.
“My boyfriend (Chris Sweeney) just got on some different websites and found tickets pretty easy,” Monica, a 2007 graduate of Elk Mound High School and granddaughter of Joyce and Dave Bates of Colfax said. “I didn’t care how cold it was going to be. I had never been to a Packer game before so I just figured I would dress warm and be okay.”
Game time temperature was around 5 above with a wind chill of 10 below, making it the fourth coldest game believed to be played at Lambeau Field. The coldest, of course was the famous “Ice Bowl” in 1967 in the NFC Championship game against the Dallas Cowboys when the temperature was minus 13 with a wind chill of minus 48. A game in December of 1993 against the Los Angeles Raiders showed a temp of zero and in December of 1990, against the Detroit Lions, it was just two above. Depending on which weather expert or website you refer to, the “Ice Bowl” or the game played at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium in 1981 between the Bengals and the San Diego Chargers with a minus nine temp and wind chill between minus 37-59 degrees is the coldest game played in NFL history. Also in the top 10 of coldest games are two at the old Metropolitan Stadium, former home of the Minnesota Vikings when they played back to back games in Dec. of 1972 with wind chills of minus 18 and minus 28 degrees. (With them moving outside for the next two years, you can bet they will have a few games on some mighty cold days again.)
Monica and her friends had seats in the 44th row for the game which she thought were low enough they didn’t catch the full brunt of the wind.
“I had on three layers of pants and two jackets over a couple of sweaters and the Lambeau workers handed out hand warmers to put in your mittens and boots to everyone,” she said. “They also gave out free hot chocolate and coffee. People were standing up a lot during the game, cheering and just to keep moving to stay warm. With everyone bundled up, there wasn’t a lot of room to sit anyway so I stood in the aisle most of the time. There were plenty of people tailgating before the game but a lot of them were staying in their vehicles a lot.We got in the stadium around 3:00 and didn’t get to our car until an hour or so after the game ended. By then we were feeling the cold and we could tell it was still getting colder and the wind was picking up. Of course, it might not have felt so bad if we had won the game,” she added. “But even with the cold, it was a great experience and it showed how tough football fans are.”