December 31, 1967: December 31, 2017 marks 50 years since “The Ice Bowl,” the famous game played between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys in -13 degrees fahrenheit. More than 50,000 fans braved the weather to watch the NFL Championship game, which the Packers won 21-17, their third straight NFL title. Down by three with four minutes left in the game, Green Bay marched down the ice-covered field (at this point the temperature was -18). With just 16 seconds on the clock, Packers QB Bart Starr surprised everyone with a quarterback sneak, winning the game.
January 1, 1902: The first ever Rose Bowl, and the oldest bowl of all, was played on New Year’s Day 1902 in Pasadena, California. Back then it was called the “Tournament East-West football game” and featured 3-1-2 Stanford from the West and 10-0 Michigan from the East. Michigan beat Stanford 49-0, and the game was so lopsided that the committee decided to host chariot races instead of a football game for the next 13 years.
January 1, 1994: On New Year’s Day 1994, Russian swimmer Alexander Popov set a new world record for the 100 meter freestyle. Popov was competing at the short-course World Cup in Hong Kong, and was able to trim 11-hundredths of a second off the previous world record, finishing in 47.83 seconds. The previous record was held by Brazilian Gustavo Borges (though he had only set that record the previous year).
January 2, 1965: Legendary quarterback Joe Namath signed his rookie contract with the New York Jets on January 2, 1965. The QB out of Alabama became a local hero, starring for the Jets for 12 seasons before ending his career with a single season with the Rams. Namath led the Jets to a Super Bowl III victory, the last Super Bowl the Jets won.
January 2, 1982: “The Epic in Miami,” an AFC Divisional Playoff game between the San Diego Chargers and the Miami Dolphins. The two met in 85 degrees Fahrenheit on January 2, 1982. The Chargers’ 41-38 over the Dolphins in overtime broke several records and at that point was the highest-scoring postseason game ever.
January 3, 1993: On January 3, 1993, the Buffalo Bills were able to come back from a 32-point deficit and beat the Houston Oilers in a wild AFC Wild Card game. It is still the biggest comeback in league history (sorry Patriots fans). Andre Reed scored three touchdowns and Steve Christie kicked the game-winning field goal.
January 3, 2016: On January 3, 2016, Jimmy Butler broke one of Michael Jordan’s Bulls record. Butler scored 40 points in the second half (he only scored 42 in the game), passing Jordan’s 39 points in a half record which he set in 1989. Butler’s 42 points propelled the Bulls to a 115-113 win over the Raptors.
January 4, 1986: On January 4, 1986, David Robinson set an insane NCAA record, blocking 14 shots. Robinson and Navy were playing against UNC Wilmington, and won the game 76-61.
January 5, 1996: On January 5, 1996, legendary Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula announced he is retiring from coaching. Shula graced the sidelines for 33 years, 26 with the Miami Dolphins, and still has the most wins among coaches with 347. The Hall of Fame coach won two Super Bowls during his time at the helm.
December 31, 1941 Former football manager Sir Alex Ferguson was born in Govan, United Kingdom
January 1, 1911 Hall of Fame first baseman Hank Greenberg was born in New York City, NY
January 1, 1919 American boxer Rocky Graziano, who held the Middleweight title was born in New York City, NY
January 2, 1963 Former Baseball pitcher and current commentator David Cone was born in Kansas City, MO
January 3, 1939 Legendary Canadian hockey player Bobby Hull was born in Pointe Anne, Ontario, Canada
January 3, 1969 German Formula 1 driver and seven time world champion Michael Schumacher was born in Hürth, Germany
January 3, 1980 Former football player and Super Bowl champion David Tyree was born in Livingston, NJ
January 3, 1981 New York Giants Super Bowl winning quarterback Eli Manning was born in New Orleans, LA
January 4, 1930 Legendary former football coach Don Shula was born in Grand River, OH
January 5, 1932 Former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Chuck Noll was born in Cleveland, OH
We bid farewell to…
December 31, 1972 MLB slugger Roberto Clemente died in a plane crash, he was just 38 years old
January 1, 1998 Former American tennis player and eight time Wimbledon champ Helen Wills Moody died of natural causes, she was 92