The Snow Bowl: Two Quarterbacks Passing in the White

Before the 2-10 Tampa Bay Bucs and 5-7 Packers lined up for their December 1, 1985 Battle of the Bays, 10 inches of snow was cleared from the tarp covering Lambeau Field. Five more inches would fall during the game with wind gusts up to 35 mph, a temperature of 27 degrees and a -10 wind-chill factor. Played in a blizzard, the game attracted just 19,856 hardy attendees, while 36,586 fans were no shows and 485 tickets went unsold. They missed an amazing game.

Bucs rookie quarterback Steve Young made the second start of his NFL career and attained what would be the second lowest passer rating of his career, completing eight of 17 passes for 53 yards and one interception, while being sacked five times for 42 yards in losses. Four of the sacks were by Alphonso Carreker, his personal best. Young was the Bucs leading rusher with 31 yards, and his 11-yard scramble was the Bucs’ longest play of the game. He told Bud Lea, “When I looked out the hotel window this morning, I felt this was going to be incredible. I’ve heard about Lambeau Field, the history of the Packers and everything…a snowstorm in Green Bay.”

In Young’s recently released biography, QB: My Life Behind the Spiral, he tells of being driven face first into a snowdrift during one of Carreker’s sacks and having the snow packed hard against his face behind his facemask. In a panic, he struggled to get up so he could dig the snow away from his face and be able to breathe.

Veteran Packers’ quarterback Lynn Dickey, meanwhile, was having a glorious game, completing 22 of 36 passes for 299 yards. All three of the Packers touchdowns in the 21-0 victory were scored on the ground, though, by Dickey, Gerry Ellis and Jesse Clark. Ellis and Eddie Lee Ivery both ran for over 100 yards, while James Lofton caught passes for 106 yards, as the Packers outgained the Bucs 512-65 and made 31 first downs to Tampa’s five.

Dickey commented after the game, “You’ve got to accept the weather. It isn’t going to get any better. Just grip the ball tight and throw the best you can.” As it turned out, the game was Dickey’s swansong; he never appeared in another NFL game. He injured himself on a weight training machine the next week and watched Jim Zorn start the last three games of 1985, including a season finale victory in Tampa on a cloudy day when the temperature was 59 degrees.

The 36-year old Dickey was cut over a salary dispute the following June but then re-signed for training camp. However, he was third on the depth chart behind Randy Wright and Vince Ferragamo and was cut for good on September 2, 1986, along with perhaps his favorite receiver, tight end Paul Coffman.

1981tldickey  1984tacarreker

Custom cards in Topps styles.

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