The Green Bay Packers overcame two obstacles to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 13 of the 1985 season: the Buccaneers and the record 16 inches of snow that fell that day in Green Bay. Much to the delight of the 19,856 who managed to get to the stadium, the Packers crushed the visiting Bucs 21-0 in the “Snow Bowl”.

The Record Setting Weather for Packers “Snow Bowl” Game

When the players woke up before the game, they knew things were going to be different. A full foot of snow fell on Green Bay before the noon kickoff. Four more inches of snow fell during the game. The temperature at kickoff was 30 degrees but the 40 miles-per-hour wind made it tough to see and put the wind chill at about zero.

Bucs quarterback Steve Young knew before the game what to expect. “When I looked out the hotel window this morning, I felt this was going to be incredible,” Young told reporters after the game. “I’ve heard about Lambeau Field, the history of the Packers and everything … a snowstorm in Green Bay. What else could you ask for?”

When the referees flipped held the coin toss, Tampa Bay’s captains called “heads.” Then the refs and players spent a minute looking for the coin in the snow. The Packers won the toss.

The Weather and the Packers Made the Game One-Sided for the Bucs

Once the game started, the Packers dominated. The final yardage totals were 512 for the Packers and just 65 for Tampa Bay. Green Bay had 31 first downs to just five for the visitors.

The Packers took the lead in the second quarter on a one-yard touchdown run by Lynn Dickey. That was the score at halftime.

The Packers added a touchdown in the third quarter on a 35-yard run by fullback Gerry Ellis and another in the fourth quarter when Jessie Clark scored on a three-yard run.

Dickey did a good job of throwing in the snow and wind. For the game, he completed 22-of-36 passes for 299 yards.

“You’ve got to accept the weather,” Dickey said. “It isn’t going to get any better. Just grip the ball tight and throw the best you can.”

“To be able to throw the ball under those conditions was close to phenomenal,” added Packers head coach, Forrest Gregg.

By comparison, Young was just 8-of-17 for 53 yards. The Packers sacked Young five times which left the Bucs with a total of just 11 net yards passing for the game. Defensive end Alphonso Carreker had four sacks with linebacker Brian Noble getting the other one.

The Packers also ran the ball extremely well. Two runners topped 100 yards for the game with Eddie Lee Ivery gaining 109 yards on 13 carries and Ellis adding 101 yards on nine attempts. James Lofton led all Packers receivers with six catches for 106 yards.

How the Snow Bowl Affected the Packers and Bucs

The Packers clearly had an advantage because they were used to the conditions. The Packers players viewed the situation differently than the Bucs players.

“It made it fun, sort of like when you were playing sandlot football as a kid,” Packers cornerback Tim Lewis said. “You could run and jump around. You couldn’t really throw snowballs, but you could enjoy it.”

Bucs linebacker Scot Brantley didn’t agree. “It was like playing on roller skates. It was awful.”

Ellis added, “It was 85 degrees in Tampa, and they come up here and the snow’s blowing. I know they’re not used to that. It’s kind of an advantage for us.”

“I love it,” Packers tight end Paul Coffman said. “It’s May. This is what I come to play for. It slows everyone down to my speed.”

Tampa Bay head coach Leeman Bennett tried not to blame the weather. “They did not let the snow get to them,” he said. Lynn [Dickey] threw the ball just great. If the weather conditions hadn’t been this bad, we would have been beaten much worse.”

Ellis kept his sense of humor when he was shown his stats for the game. “Not bad for a broken-down horse. Now I’ve got to go home and shovel.”

The Aftermath of the Snow Bowl

The win improved the Packers record to 6-7 on the season. They would finish the season at 8-8. The Bucs fell to 2-11 and ended the year 2-14.

The shutout was the first for the Pack in 125 games. Their last shutout was back in 1977 when they beat the Bucs 13-0 in Tampa.

This was also Dickey’s last game as a Packer. Injuries kept him off the field for the final three games of the season and he was released by Gregg in training camp in 1986.

The game was one sided, but it was memorable. While less than 20,000 fans actually made it to Lambeau Field that day, many thousands more claim to have been there. Nobody who saw the game will ever forget it.



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