Volatile weather can bring out the crazy in athletes. Raging snowstorms, intense heat, and wet, slip-and-slide conditions can all throw elite-level athletes off their game so that they’re left talking in circles.
After a legendarily nasty snowstorm blanketed Philadelphia during the Eagles NFL game against the Detroit Lions in 2013, running back LeSean McCoy reflected, “This was the worst game I’ve ever played in, weather-wise. Best game, too.”
AccuWeather looks back at the 10 times this decade that weather took the field – actually took over the field – and the intrigue that ensued.
10. The U.S. wardrobe malfunction at the 2010 Ryder Cup
Heavy rains forced delays on Friday and Sunday of the three-day event, making it the first time in Ryder Cup history the event was extended to a fourth day. If rain were the only problem for the Americans, who lost 14½ to 13½ in Newport, Wales. The team had to buy rain suits from the merchandise tent during Friday’s delay because their official team-issued ones didn’t do their one job – keep the players dry.
9. Up with people
For just the fourth time in Wimbledon’s 139-year history, the 2016 tournament required play on the middle Sunday because extensive rains prevented even some second-round matches from being completed by then. Typically third-round matches are taking place Friday and Saturday. The 22,000 tickets that were put on sale online Saturday afternoon for the so-called “People’s Sunday” sold out in 27 minutes.
8. The heat is on
The extreme heat Australia is enduring now is nothing new. During the 2014 Australian Open, players were collapsing – six withdrew on one day – a ballboy fainted and players noted their shoes and water bottles were beginning to melt. Frank Dancevic, who began to hallucinate during his loss, called the conditions “inhumane” as high temperatures over four straight days were between 106.7 and 111 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Have a cold Coors
From one extreme to the other: Unlike in Australia, baseball players in Colorado longed for the heat as the Rockies and Atlanta Braves played when the temperature was an MLB-record-low 23 F on April 23, 2013. Rockies officials and volunteers shoveled snow from Coors Field before the game and the teams raced through the freeze fest in a mere 2-hour, 37-minute Braves 4-3 win.
Houston Astros left fielder Marwin Gonzalez wipes his face during batting practice before Game 1 of the 2017 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The gametime temperature was a record-setting 103 degrees F. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
6. Bringing the heat
Weather conditions forced another fast game, this time during the 2017 World Series. It was 103 F in Los Angeles on Oct. 24, 2017, a World Series record-high gametime temperature. The Dodgers beat the Houston Astros, 3-1, in just 2 hours and 28 minutes – which was less than half the time it took to complete Game 5 of that Series (5 hours, 17 minutes).
5. The Monsoon Bowl
Carolina coach Ron Rivera had an eye on the weather forecast before he got his first NFL win in 2011. He had his team practice in the pouring rain Saturday before the next day’s game against Jacksonville. Sure enough, a drenching downpour started late in the first half and continued until midway through the third quarter. “That was the hardest rain I’ve ever been a part of,” said Carolina TE Greg Olsen. “The storm literally just stopped over us.” Carolina’s 16-10 win Sept. 25, 2011, in a game nicknamed “The Monsoon Bowl,” was not a great day to be a running back. “It was definitely crazy a couple times getting tackled,” said RB Maurice Jones-Drew, “because your face was in the water and it felt like you were drowning.”
4. Slip sliding away
Hurricane Matthew rained on the parade of two future NFL quarterbacks when Notre Dame played at North Carolina State Oct. 8, 2016. A nonstop torrential downpour – along with 20-mph-plus winds and a brief lightning delay – limited N.D. preseason Heisman candidate QB DeShone Kizer to 54 yards passing and N.C. State QB Ryan Finley to just 27 yards passing. The teams combined for 10 fumbles and went a combined 3-for-29 on third downs in a 10-3 Wolfpack victory.
3. Cubs win!
Chicago Cub Anthony Rizzo called it “the best rain delay of all time,” and it’s hard to argue, considering the rain gave Chicago players a chance to meet, refocus and claim the team’s first World Series championship in 108 years with an 8-7 10th-inning Game 7 win over the Cleveland Indians on Nov. 2, 2016. The Cubs had blown a three-run lead with four outs left and now would have to win an extra-inning World Series Game 7 as the road team – a feat that had never happened. During the 17-minute delay, Jason Heyward called a players-only meeting in the weight room and out-Gippered Knute Rockne with an uplifting speech that rallied the Cubs to the win. “We’ve got to stay positive and fight for your brothers,” Heyward said. “Stick together and we’re going to win this game.”
Philadelphia Eagles’ Brent Celek slides in the snow to stop the clock during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 34-20. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
2. Let it snow
There were no in-game weather surprises when the Eagles hosted the Detroit Lions on Dec. 8, 2013. Snow began falling two hours before kickoff and intensified after it started, resulting in up to six inches in Philadelphia. The teams combined for eight fumbles, an interception and 12 punts, with conditions so poor that neither team tried a field goal, while they opted for two-point conversions after seven of the eight touchdowns. “They warned us [during the week] it could be bad, but not this bad,” said RB LeSean McCoy, who rushed for an Eagles-record 217 yards in his team’s 34-20 win. That 217-yard performance stands as McCoy’s career-best to this day, according to game logs kept by the NFL.
1. Snow Bowl 2017
The Eagles’ win was a winter warm-up for McCoy, who did it again four years later with the Buffalo Bills in Snow Bowl 2017 on Dec. 10, 2017, against Indianapolis. Heavy, lake-effect snow delivered 16 inches of snow in Buffalo’s Orchard Park, with 8 to 9 inches falling during the game alone. Amazingly, the teams combined for only one turnover while also joining for a whopping 97 rushing attempts and just 156 passing yards. Buffalo won, 13-7 in overtime when (who else?) McCoy scored on a 21-yard TD run. And he had a monster game that day, rushing for 156 yards on 32 carries. McCoy, it seems, enjoys playing in the heavy snow.
It certainly wasn’t helpful to the passing attack that day, though. “The snow was so high,” said Buffalo WR Deonte Thompson, “every time you were stepping in you were sinking.”