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On This Date in Spots December 31, 1967

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

The Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys 21-17 in the NFL Championship Game at Lambeau Field. The game played in temperatures well below zero, was the coldest in the history of the NFL earning, the nickname the “Ice Bowl”. The game came down to the final seconds as Packers quarterback Bart Starr scored with a lunge from the one-yard line with 16 seconds left to advance to Super Bowl II.

The Dallas Cowboys coached by Tom Landry were the up and coming team in the NFL. Born of expansion in 1960, the Cowboys who finished their first season without a win at 0-11-1 quickly improved, winning the Eastern Conference in 1966. After a heartbreaking 34-27 loss to the Packers in the 1966 NFL Championship Game at the Cotton Bowl, the Cowboys looked to take the next step in 1967. After winning the Capitol Division with a record of 9-5, the Cowboys beat the Cleveland Browns who won the Century Division 52-14 in the Eastern Conference Championship Game.

The Green Bay Packers in 1967 were a team in the sunset of a great dynasty. When Vince Lombardi arrived in 1959, the Packers posted their first winning season in a dozen years. The following year the Packers lost in the NFL Championship Game, but Lombardi would not lose another playoff games, winning four NFL Championships in six years, including Super Bowl I. However, the Packers showed signs of cracking as players began to retire, while Lombardi himself had decided to step down at season’s end. In the first season of divisional play, the Packers won the Central Division with a record of 9-4-1. They would then beat the Coastal Division Champion Los Angeles Rams 28-7 in the Western Conference Championship Game.

Looking to become the first team to win three straight NFL Championship Games, the Green Bay Packers took the frozen conditions in stride, while the Dallas Cowboys appeared uncomfortable as the game began. The Packers scored first as Bart Starr connected with Boyd Dowler on an eight-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. Starr connected with Dowler again in the second quarter on a 46-yard touchdown pass. While the Cowboys offense was sliding around on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, their defense got them back in the game as George Andrie scored a seven-yard fumble return after a strip sack of Starr, while another turnover set up a Danny Villanueva field goal to cut the deficit to 14-10 at the half. As the weather got colder neither team was able to do anything in the third quarter. However, as the fourth quarter began, Dallas stunned the Green Bay faithful as Dan Reeves connected with Lance Rentzel on a 50-yard halfback option to make the score 17-14 in favor of the Cowboys. With 4:50 left the Packers got the ball at their own 32 as the wind chill made it feel like it was -50 Fahrenheit. Methodically moving down the field, the Packers got the ball to the Dallas goal line, setting up first and goal from the one. However, Donny Anderson was stopped on two attempts, setting up third and goal with 16 seconds left. With no timeouts, the Packers rolled the dice one more time as Bart Starr on quarterback keeper dove with Jerry Kramer leading the way and crossed the goal line for the winning touchdown.

After their 21-17 win over the Cowboys, the Green Bay Packers went on to play the AFL Champion Oakland Raiders, in what would later be called Super Bowl II. The game was in much warmer climbs at the Miami Orange Bowl. Once again, the Packers were victorious, winning the game 33-14 as quarterback Bart Starr was named MVP for the second straight year.

Following, their second straight Super Bowl win Vince Lombardi stepped down as coach of the Green Bay Packers. He would return to coaching after one season, leading the Washington Redskins to their first winning season in 14 years at 7-5-2. Sadly, Lombardi would not coach again as he succumbed to stomach cancer prior to the 1970 season. In tribute, the NFL would rename the Super Bowl trophy in his honor.