Talk of Fame Network
Dave Robinson is a Hall-of-Fame linebacker who not only starred for the Green Bay Packers but played in one of the NFL’s most unforgettable championship games.
The Ice Bowl.
It was the 1967 title game between the Packers and Dallas Cowboys, and it was played in an Arctic freeze – with the temperature at minus-15, wind chills at minus-36 and officials unable to use their whistles after the opening kickoff. In short, it was one for the books, and Robinson admitted he was surprised it wasn’t called because of the cold.
Until he realized something.
“I really feel … and I will go to my grave saying it … the only one who could call a game is the commissioner,” he said on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast. “And the commissioner, Pete Rozelle, made a statement that he had never seen an AFL championship game before. So he went to Oakland. And that was kind of the joke in our locker room: He went to Oakland because it was in California. He wasn’t going to come to Green Bay.
“Why do you think he went to the AFL championship game when he was the NFL commissioner? He knew before they scheduled the game he wasn’t going to go. He just didn’t want to come to Green Bay. It was just too cold.”
So cold, in fact, that Robinson had trouble getting to Lambeau Field, and that might have come as a surprise to Rozelle. He’d called Jim Kensil and Don Weiss, executive directors of the league, on Saturday for a forecast to see if the game should be postponed until Monday. But he was told the weather that day would be worse than Sunday (it wasn’t), and so the Packers and Cowboys played on the coldest New Year’s Eve in Green Bay history.
“I woke up and (my wife) said, ‘It’s (going to be) 20-below in the early afternoon,’ and I said, ‘You gotta be kidding me,’ ” said Robinson, who kicked off this month’s “Decemberists” series on the Talk of Fame Network. “And sure enough … it was. My car wouldn’t start. I had to get … there was a girl living next door and her boyfriend was coming over to visit her … and I had to run up to him and promise him two tickets to the game. He would take my wife out to the stadium because I couldn’t be late. And that’s how I got to the stadium.
“And then, with all my belongings in the car, I left my car parked in my driveway. And the gas station (attendant) came, jumped the car, drove my car to the stadium and parked in the players lot. And drove me when I got home. It was cold, cold, cold. I told somebody … they asked, ‘How do you feel?’ … and I said, ‘I feel like a Fudgsicle.’ ”
Nevertheless, Robinson has no regrets about playing.
“It was like a 30-thousand check for the championship game,” he said, “and for a 30-thousand dollar check in 1967 I would play that game in my underwear.”
(Photos courtesy of Green Bay Packers)