As I was walking rapidly through a San Francisco winter rain, on assignment of course, passing through the many files of the NFL, to eventually find myself at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park to see a variable that has to be incorporated into the NFL playbook – but can’t. It’s weather.
It’s been the main topic of human discourse since the beginnings, when football players wore leather helmets. Mark Twain was also irritated about this so-called weather phenomenon, he said, “Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.” That’s right —nobody does a thing about it.
What could you have done to prepare an NFL team for The Fog Bowl? That was a grumpy weather pattern that obscured everything …
It was in 1988, the Chicago Bears were taking on the Philadelphia Eagles. The Fog Bowl began in the second quarter. The fog crept in to eventually rest right there on Soldier Field, barely yielding —visibility. The weather took on both teams in a single day and won, allowing each team only a short field-goal kick in the second half.
But perhaps my favorite ‘weather bowl’ was the 1976 AFC Championship between the Oakland Raiders and Pittsburg Steelers. That weather bowl was called “The Steelers Ice Bowl.”
…It’s a huge conspiracy, Coach John Madden and owner Al Davis screamed. Mark Twain would have loved this. The Raiders organization actually tried, in a sense, to blame the Pittsburgh Steelers for — weather.
John Madden came running at the grounds-keeper, accusing him of —‘Doing this on Purpose’. Apparently, yes, the field was covered with a tarp, but the moisture slid down the cracks and the next day it was solid ice along the edges, narrowing the ‘big-play’ philosophies of the Oakland Raiders. The Steelers were eventually victorious.
As we approach Sunday’s NFC Championship game in San Francisco —I will monitor the weather, personally. The outlook is: Okay. Meteorologists across our great country anticipate some showers on game day, with some winds. The chance of precipitation is around 60 percent.