GreenBay100: December 30, 1962 - Lombardi's second NFL title with Packers over Giants

It wasn't Ice Bowl-cold that greeted the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants on December 30, 1962 in the NFL Championship Game at Yankee Stadium.

But it felt like it.

"The guys who played in that game who played in the Ice Bowl said that game was actually colder," said Packers tight end Gary Knafelc.

The temperature was 25 degrees at kickoff, but wind gusts of more than 30 miles per hour were causing havoc to the field...and to both teams' offenses.

"That was an incredible day," Jerry Kramer told me back in 2011. "The winds were blowing strong enough so that we came on the field for the second half, the wooden benches had blown out onto the field about 10 to 15 yards. Warmup capes had been blown out onto the field."

The Packers had come to defend their 1961 NFL Title that they earned over the Giants, 37-0. But thanks to the weather, neither team would come close to reaching such a high point total as the Packers had the year before.

The sweeping winds made any pass play an adventure. The changing wind patterns would diminish th effect of Giants quarterback Y.A. Tittle and his team's potent passing game. 

He would complete only 18 of 41 passes for 197 yards and one interception.

Meanwhile, the Packers would use a savage running game led by Hall of Famer Jim Taylor. It often ran right into Hall of Fame Giants linebacker Sam Huff.

The intensity of the game was just as biting as the cold conditions, and that wasn't just figuratively, according to Knafelc. Taylor had been accused after the game of biting into the legs of players like Giants lineman Dick Modzelewski.

"I don't know what leg he bit, but he bit a lot of them," Knafelc joked.

Taylor did enough to set up guard and backup kicker Jerry Kramer to give Green Bay the early lead, 3-0, with a 26-yard field goal. He was filling in for Paul Hornung, whose injured leg didn't stop him from backfield duty but did prevent him from kicking.

"I had kicked enough in exhibition games. I had kicked, obviously, in league games, but I had never kicked in a world championship (game) against the by-God New York Giants. I'm looking at those guys across (the scrimmage line) and my leg's shaking a little bit and I'm wondering what I'm doing out there," said Kramer.

While Kramer won the battle with his nerves, the Packers won the turnover battle. They didn't commit any, but the Giants committed three. One turnover by New York's Phil King popped into the hands of game MVP Ray Nitschke led to one of the rare successful pass plays of the day, a Hornung-to-Boyd Dowler option pass that put Green Bay in the Giants' red zone.

It set up Jim Taylor to take a handoff into the Giants' end zone for the Packers' only touchdown, a seven-yard scamper that gave Green Bay 10-0 lead.

They would need that cushion, as their only true mistake of the day led to the Giants' only touchdown, a blocked punt recovered in the end zone by Jim Collier to make the Packers' lead just 10-7 in the third quarter.

But the Packers settled down and set up two more field goals by Kramer.

The first was a 29-yarder that re-extended the lead in the third period, 13-7.

The second put the game away in the final minutes.

"I played it about 10 yards outside the right goalpost. The wind brought it in. The wind was so horrendous, you had to play it or you were going to miss it."

Kramer wrote in his book Instant Replay that his straight-ahead kicking style was nowhere near as fluid as what Mason Crosby does these days, and that it was more of a "boink." But in the New York twilight, he "boinked" a 30-yarder that snaked through the uprights for a 16-7 lead with 1:55 left.

"The team gave me the game football. The writers gave Nitschke the (MVP award and) the game Corvette, which is the life of a lineman."

And the life of a kicker who, in perhaps a fitting climax to a most unusual championship game, "boinked" his team to a second straight world championship.

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