Bronco Blizzard

Monday, October 15, 1984

Green Bay Packers at Denver Broncos

          
Click on any image to see a larger version

 

Game

Mother Nature had an interesting plan for the 200th broadcast of Monday Night Football, and definitely wanted to challenge the Broncos and the Packers.  In attendance were 62,546 brave souls, who endured blizzard conditions.  The nation watched live as professional football players struggled to play the game while wind and snow wreaked havoc.  Fans had trouble seeing the players on the field.  Broadcasters did the best they could with their limited visibility as well.  The Broncos won the game by a final score of 17 to 14, with 14 of the Broncos’ points coming from their defense in the first minute of the game. The other three Denver points came on a crucial field goal in the first half from barefooted kicker, Rich Karlis. All of Green Bay’s points came in the second half.

  

 

First Quarter

Second Quarter

Third Quarter

Fourth Quarter

Final

Green Bay Packers

0

0

7

7

14

Denver Broncos

14

3

0

0

17

 

 

Weather

By the time the game concluded, more than four inches of snow had accumulated on the field of Mile High Stadium.  Temperatures for the entire day had barely surpassed 30° F, approximately 30 degrees below average.  The storm had arrived earlier that day, but did not start to gain intensity until Monday night.  Winds gusted to more than 55 mph during the storm.  Snow totals from Monday until the storm concluded Tuesday evening ranged from 1 to 3 feet in the Denver area, with the higher amounts falling in the foothills just outside the city. 

  

Why

On Sunday, October 14, a cold front passed through Colorado following a surface low pressure.  Surface winds were from the north.  The 500 mb chart below shows a trough extending from an upper level low located in the Northwest Territories of Canada.  This trough would help colder air reach into the area.  The surface front then stalled out on Monday, becoming a nearly stationary cold front to the east, specifically along the Kansas/Missouri border.  A more prominent surface trough had begun to push into Colorado.  The 500 mb low pressure was now sitting over northwestern Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, and northeastern Nevada.  This kept colder air in place.  The system lingered into the morning on Tuesday before being pushed out. 

 

        

 Surface (left) and 500 mb (right) charts from Sunday, Oct. 14, 1984 

 

     

Surface (left) and 500 mb (right) charts from Monday, Oct. 15, 1984

 

       

Surface chart from Tuesday, Oct. 16
     

    

 Other Impacts

Due to blowing and drifting snow, Interstate 25 was shut down from Denver to Colorado Springs.  Flights in and out of airports in Colorado Springs and Denver were cancelled due to the snow and wind.  The United States Air Force Academy located in Colorado Springs was forced to cancel classes on Monday, October 15.

 

Remembering the Game

Former Broncos safety Steve Foley is often asked about his days as a player in the NFL. "Whenever anybody asks me about the Broncos, they always bring up that game. And I always tell them that it was the most fun I have ever had playing football in the pros. I felt like a kid again, back in New Orleans. Back then, when it would rain and flood, we'd go out and play football and splash through these puddles a foot deep. That's what the blizzard game was like. Just talking about it now brings a smile to my face." (Denver Post

 

Resources

http://www.examiner.com/article/celebrating-the-25th-anniversary-of-the-infamous-bronco-blizzard

http://www.nytimes.com/1984/10/17/us/blizzard-covers-colorado-cities-blocking-roads.html

http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/dailywxmap/

http://extras.denverpost.com/broncos/brnx1113.htm

 

 

Photo Credits

http://cdn103.iofferphoto.com/img/item/147/521/809/cpsPLAEDRRSvDkF.jpg

http://cdn103.iofferphoto.com/img/item/147/521/809/cpsPLAEDRRSvDkF.jpg

http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/dailywxmap/ 

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