As we prepare for the Chicago Bears’ season opener against the Green Bay Packers, we are providing fans with a list of 100 interesting facts, records and tidbits to help you get in the football mood.
We’re continuing that list today with 10 facts that we're nicknaming "Weathering the Storms," a look back at some of the craziest weather events the Bears have ever had to play through.
What was the coldest game in Bears’ history?
According to Pro Football Reference, the coldest game-time temperature in Bears history was measured before a Dec. 1972 game against the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis. The temperature measured in at 2 degrees below zero, and the Bears managed just two completed passes in a 23-10 loss to the Vikings.
How about the hottest?
According to PFR, the Bears have played a total of three games in franchise history where the temperature sat at 89 degrees at kickoff. Two of those games were played in Florida, with the Bears losing a 2018 game to the Dolphins and a 2000 game against the Buccaneers. The Bears played the Steelers in a scorching hot affair at Soldier Field in 2017, and won the game 23-17 in overtime.
The Bears got frozen out in a playoff game
“Playoff cold” and “regular season cold” must be different things, because the Bears dropped the coldest postseason game in team history to the Washington Redskins in Jan. 1988. In that game, the Bears did manage 280 yards of offense, but fell to Washington 20-17 as their playoff hopes were dashed.
The temperature hit 4 degrees above zero in that game, with wind chills dropping to 20 degrees below zero.
Is “Bears Weather” really a thing?
Bears fans love to extoll the virtues of their team’s toughness when they’re playing games in sub-freezing conditions, but historically, that braggadocio isn’t exactly well-earned.
According to Pro Football Reference’s Play Index, the Bears are 46-48-1 when the temperature is at or below the freezing mark since the 1960 season.
Apparently the heat isn’t helpful either
The Bears don’t play a lot of games in super warm weather, but they apparently like things to be a bit more temperate. Since 1972, the Bears have a record of 30-33 when the temperature at game time is at or above 75 degrees.
In pantheon of weather-impacted games, the “Fog Bowl” occupies a special place
A playoff game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Bears started out normally enough, but Mother Nature quickly made her presence felt, ensuring the game would live on forever as the “Fog Bowl.”
During the second quarter of the game, a dense fog rolled over Soldier Field, cutting visibility to approximately 15 yards on the playing surface. Referees had to announce the down and distance on every play since fans could barely see the field, and passing games were reduced to virtually nothing thanks to the conditions.
The fog only covered an area of approximately 15 city blocks near Lake Michigan, but it was enough to impact the game. The Bears ultimately won 20-12, racking up 175 passing yards despite the putrid conditions.
Remarkably, Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham threw for 407 yards in the game, but had three interceptions and zero touchdowns in the loss.
How “Sneakers” ended an 18-game Bears’ winning streak
The 1934 Bears came into the NFL Championship game against the New York Giants riding high, winners of 18 straight games. With an undefeated record, the Bears were hoping to take home another title, but Mother Nature, and some ingenuity by the Giants, helped thwart those dreams.
On the night before the game, freezing rain turned the playing field at the Polo Grounds into an ice rink. The field remained frozen until game time, and the Giants came up with a brilliant strategy: wear sneakers instead of cleats to get better traction on the frozen turf.
The plan worked to perfection, as the Giants beat the Bears 30-13 and claimed the title.
The Bears made weather history in Super Bowl XLI
Before Prince appropriately played “Purple Rain” at halftime of the Super Bowl, the Bears and Colts did battle in a steady rain storm. According to the NFL, the game was the first Super Bowl in history to be contested in the rain.
Fortunately for Bears fans, the rain helped to mask their tears, as the team lost the game to the Indianapolis Colts.
Coach Ditka gets perfect weather for jersey retirement
In Dec. 2013, the Bears made Mike Ditka’s number 89 jersey the final number to be retired in team history, and the conditions were appropriate for the occasion.
Wind chills of minus-9 degrees were measured at the start of the game, and dignitaries shivered throughout the brief ceremony during halftime of the game.
“I think Mr. Halas would approve,” Ditka said.
Halas certainly would have approved of the result of the game, as the Bears beat the Cowboys in the nationally televised contest.
Ice cold rivalry: Bears vs. Packers
The Bears and Packers have played some remarkably cold games against each other, but none were colder than their Dec. 22, 2008 matchup, where the mercury dipped to just 2 degrees above zero. Wind chills during the game reached minus-13, but the Bears were able to persevere and win in a 20-17 overtime thriller.
For more Bears facts:
Part 1: The Bear Necessities: 10 basic facts about the team, and the players now patrolling Soldier Field.
Part 2: In The Beginning: 10 facts about the team’s founding, original owner George Halas, and the first big star the team was able to sign in the 1920s.
Part 3: There's No Place Like Home: 10 facts about the places where the Bears have played football.