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Winter clothing has come a long way in the 50 years since the Ice Bowl

Two Green Bay Packers fans, Tom, left, and Richard Bulgrin, blow steam through their face protectors in the below-zero temperature at the NFL Championship Game, Dec. 31, 1967, at Lambeau Field. (AP Photo)

(WLUK) -- It’s Sunday morning, game day in Green Bay. You wake up, turn on FOX 11 and see the temperature at kickoff will be 13 below zero with wind chills of 40 to 50 below.

Nowadays, you'd be ready for the cold. But 50 years ago, when fans had to endure those conditions at the 1967 NFL Championship -- better known as the "Ice Bowl" -- not so much.

Legend has it players put Saran Wrap over their socks to keep their feet warm. Fans brought sleeping bags and cut holes in hats to protect their faces from the brutal cold.


Brent Hensel, curator of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, says some weren’t prepared at all.

“I have heard stories of where people went directly to the Ice Bowl after going to church, so they’re wearing their Sunday best,” he said.


Still, a sellout crowd of fans flocked to Lambeau Field for what would turn out to be the coldest game in NFL history, the storied “Ice Bowl.” Today, thermal technology in clothing has vastly improved since that harsh New Year’s Eve day in 1967. Now, things like Gore-Tex, Thinsulate and Polartec help protect us from winter’s mean sting.

Shally Cottrell, sales coach at Cabela’s, says it’s not so much the materials that have changed but the technology used to make them.

“The waterproof technology, you’ll find a lot of Gore-Tex. That’s going to keep you completely dry,” she said.

When it comes to harsh winter cold, Cottrell says Thinsulate is key.

“It can be freezing, negative 40 and you’re going to stay warm with Thinsulate,” she said.


And just like 50 years ago, wool is still widely used for wintertime warmth, but it too has changed.

“Twenty-five years ago, you put wool on and you were all itchy. Today, it’s soft,” Cottrell said.

Cottrell went on to say technology and comfort have come a long way. Fans and players won’t have to sacrifice warmth should a 21st century “Ice Bowl” happen today.

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