Following the referee-assisted victory by the Dallas Cowboys last week, the storylines began to pile up. Close to 50 years removed from the unforgettable events of the Ice Bowl, the Dallas Cowboys will return to Lambeau Field to partake in a Divisional Round match-up against the Packers. Aside from it being two teams with the same record who both won their respective divisions crossing paths in the playoffs, there’s nothing particularly significant about the pairing. However, people seem to be running amok with crazy claims of it being “Ice Bowl II” and offering the forced narrative of a quarterback returning home days after the death of an Ice Bowl participant to decide who will be crowned “America’s Team” once and for all.
Really, it will just be an exciting game in tolerable conditions that will put the winner within two games of the Lombardi trophy. But since that doesn’t seem to be enough for people, here are some things that you should preemptively try to tune out so you can truly enjoy Sunday’s Packers-Cowboys game.
Tony Romo is from Burlington, WI
So the guy was born in Wisconsin. End of story. Every time the Packers and Cowboys meet, local news stations and national broadcasters trot out the same sad, limping tale of the local boy done good…while usually omitting that fact that Romo grew up 160 miles from Green Bay, he lived in what can be classified as Bears country, went to college in Illinois, and liked John Elway more than Brett Favre when he was growing up. Colin Kaepernick has more Packers cred than Romo does. Shit, Jay Cutler probably does too. Give it a rest already.
The Ice Bowl was a thing that occurred. It was cold that day. It will be kind of cold Sunday.
On New Year’s Eve of 1967, a then-sellout 50,861 crowd turned out to watch the two teams battle for the NFL Championship and the opportunity to play in Super Bowl II. It was one of the greatest games of all time and we all know the outcome, excluding one person from that 50,861…because he fucking died at the game. It was so cold that a dude froze to death. The estimated negative 48 degree windchill of that day absolutely earned the game the “Ice Bowl” distinction. Conversely, the projected 19 degree weather at kickoff (six degrees with windchill) hardly qualifies as hat weather. If the 54 degree difference isn’t enough to cancel out the comparison, “Ice Bowl II” will be played on heated field turf. Moderately uncomfortable? Okay. Ice Bowl II? Never.
Both organizations are called “America’s Team.”
The Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys are probably the two most loved teams in the NFL, but there’s an ongoing argument over which franchise gets the top spot. Ultimately, it’s rootedin personal opinions so it’s impossible to determine a true America’s Team, rending the entire dispute dumb and altogether unnecessary. Besides, who would even want to be America’s Team? Have you seen the other things the majority of this country loves? Joining American Idol and Crocs to round out the pop culture holy trinity isn’t exactly a proud distinction.
The Packers are undefeated at home this season. Dallas is undefeated on the road this season.
However, both went 4-4 in their other games, making this a meeting of 12-4 teams that are fairly evenly matched. Since a tie is impossible (and, frankly, the Packers are the better team), we expect Green Bay’s home win streak to extend into the postseason.
Jethro Pugh died this week.
Though we’ve repeatedly established this Divisional Round playoff game is nowhere near as significant as the fabled Ice Bowl, we’re sure longtime Cowboys defensive lineman Jethro Pugh would have loved to see Sunday’s game. As you’ll hear at least once Sunday (certainly with FOX’s sad piano music and, quite possibly, a mourning Cletus the football marketing robot in the background gently placing a Taco Bell Crunchwrap Slider on a CGI coffin that’s emblazoned Geico logo), the 14-year pro who spent his entire career with Dallas was the player Jerry Kramer blocked to make way for Bart Starr on the iconic game-winning Ice Bowl sneak. Tragically, Pugh passed away earlier this week, just days before he could see men who weren’t born when he played partake in a much less meaningful rematch. Make no mistake, his passing has absolutely nothing to do with the game (which, amid all its drastic rule changes, only somewhat resembles the sport Pugh played). Rather, Pugh’s passing is merely a sad coincidence. He was 70, and given the NFL’s utter disregard to player safety in the ’60s and ’70s, it’s a miracle he lived as long as he did.
The Packers and Cowboys have drastically different owners.
No two NFL teams have as wide a gap in ownership than Dallas and Green Bay. The former is the expensive toy of a governor-hugging billionaire who hilariously makes roster decisions for the team he houses in an extravagant entertainment facility that doubles as a distraction to divert attention of the (usually) disappointing product on the field. The latter is a publicly owned entity whose major decisions are made by a board of directors…that occasionally decides to issue valueless “stock” certificates for people to purchase so they can lie and say they own a portion of a team they don’t own.
The teams played memorable games in the 1990s and, yes, Troy Aikman was involved in some of them.
If FOX needs to re-air 1995 NFC Championship game highlights to fill time between Sleepy Hollow commercials and have the husk of the guy who used to hand off the ball to Emmitt Smith 40 times a game regale the viewing audience with tales of how Charles Haley used to beat off during team meetings, then so be it. If all goes as planned, the Packers will make Aikman’s inevitable reminiscing—and all the aforementioned annoyances—palatable Sunday.
Packers 21, Cowboys 13