Saturday, January 10, 2015

"Ice Bowl II"?

Hmm. The Cowboys are really hyping their upcoming trip to Lambeau Field. They've started selling "Ice Bowl II" shirts on their website.

Seems a little odd to me. I know this is the first time the Cowboys have played a postseason game in Green Bay since Bart Starr's sneak cost them a trip to Super Bowl II, but it seems a pretty big stretch. Sunday's weather is expected to be in the mid-20s. That's January-in-Wisconsin-chilly, but hardly the stuff of legend we saw back on December 31, 1967.

Looks like they're intending to exorcise the ghosts of their past.

This isn't the first time somebody's been tempted to draw such a link to the glorious past. I remember another game christened "Ice Bowl II"; the 1996 NFC Championship game at Lambeau Field on January 12, 1997.

That was the time the then-impossibly-new Carolina Panthers came to town, and the temperature never went above single digits, with sub-zero wind chills. Carolina jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, but the Packers went on to dominate the game 30-13, earning a trip to New Orleans and their first Super Bowl berth in 29 years.

That game in 1997 had the benefit of being another championship and having been played in frigid conditions. This upcoming game that the Cowboys are so eager to market is just an intermediate step in the playoffs.

A spate of merchandise was soon produced around that 1997 NFC title game, but as I recall it was all unlicensed.

More recently, you may also remember that last year's balmy playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers also invited comparisons to that fabled day in 1967:

While the CBS affiliate in San Francisco danced around the name, the New York Post came right out with it.

No merch for that one, which given the result was good for Packers fans.

So this is at least the third game to be billed as "Ice Bowl II" (Ice Bowl IV?). It may, however, be the first to have generated licensed merchandise.

The Cowboys are invoking a powerful name in their build-up to the game. I can't wait to see the Packers make them eat those words.

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