A Green Bay Packers fan looks on during the NFC wild-card game between the San Francisco 49ers and Packers at Lambeau Field Sunday. (Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)
Green Bay, Wis. — Jeff Giardinelli embraced the cold outside Lambeau Field dressed in a No. 8 Steve Young jersey, red 49ers knit cap and Candlestick Park-themed scarf.
He’ll remember his first visit to Green Bay for a while.
An arctic front pushing through the Midwest made the game one of the coldest in NFL history.
The meat-locker conditions put a chill on outdoor tailgating and had fans heading into Lambeau early to warm up with free coffee and hot chocolate.
“Refreshing,” Giardinelli, of Fresno, Calif., exclaimed as he walked across a parking lot with friend Jeff Morgan. “We suited up, we brought all the snowboarding gear we use out there and added to it. Without the wind, which isn’t here yet, we’re good.
“When it gets windy, we’ll be ready for it.”
Morgan wasn’t quite as convinced.
“He says ‘refreshing.’ I say it’s cold as heck,” said Morgan, also from Fresno.
He’s not a 49ers fan but wanted to come this weekend for what he called the “Lambeau atmosphere.”
It was 5 degrees by kickoff at mid-afternoon, though a northwest wind made it feel like minus-10.
Temperatures were to dip as the winds increased through the evening.
That apparently meant little to some of the players, The entire starting offensive line of the Packers were sleeveless under their green jerseys. A few 49ers went with the sleeveless look, including quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The coldest NFL game on record is the 1967 championship game, known as the “Ice Bowl” won by the Packers, 21-17, over the Cowboys at Lambeau Field on New Year’s Eve. The temperature dipped to minus-13, and the wind chill that day was minus-48.
Bengals extend playoff woes
The last time the Bengals won a playoff game, it was in another century in a stadium that has since been torn down against a team that no longer exists.
The latest letdown came Sunday when the Bengals turned the ball over four times and lost a halftime lead to fall to the Chargers, 27-10, in a rainy AFC wild-card playoff game at Paul Brown Stadium.
This was supposed to be the franchise’s year to finally end its lengthy postseason drought.
Favored to win after reeling off victories in five of their past six games and playing on their home field where they were unbeaten this season, many expected the Bengals to finally put an end to a 23-year wait since the franchise’s most recent postseason victory.
“We felt like this was the year — and now next year’s going to be the year,” said wide receiver Marvin Jones, who had 12 catches for 130 yards. “We’ll hear it for another year. And deservedly so.”
It marked the third year in a row that the Bengals had been knocked out in their first game, tying an NFL mark for futility according to STATS, LLC.
Their last playoff win was a 41-14 victory over the Houston Oilers in Riverfront Stadium on Jan. 6, 1991.
The 23-year wait is tied for the sixth-longest drought in NFL history.
Packers cornerback Sam Shields and outside linebacker Mike Neal left Sunday’s game because of knee injuries.
Shields left on the second play of the 49ers first possession after hurting his left knee. He was helped to the sideline before being carted off the field.
Neal appeared to hurt his right knee a few plays later.