Soldier Field is literally within walking distance of Lake Michigan. On
a clear day, you can see across the lake to Indiana from the stadium as
well as a great view of Chicago's skyline. Almost the perfect setting,
football fans expected to watch a playoff game under sunny skies.
But mother nature had different plans -- but not until the second
The Bears got started early as quarterback Mike Tomczak tossed a 64-yard
pass to receiver Dennis McKinnon to give the Bears a 7-0 lead with just
under 12 minutes to play. McKinnon was open due to some blown coverage
by defensive back Roynell Young and finished the day with 108 yards
The Eagles roared right back. Led by a young, mobile, strong-armed
Randall Cunningham (whom current Eagles passer/runner
Donovan McNabb still draws comparison to), Philly drove to the Bears
26-yard line and then stalled. A Luis Zendejas field-goal attempt was
wide left from 43 yards.
But the Eagles got the ball right back thanks to a Seth Joyner
interception. This time, the Eagles put up three points, but not before
being penalized twice. On both plays, Philadelphia was in the end zone
when the flags were thrown.
The Bears' Kevin Butler came up short on a 51-yard field goal on the
ensuing drive, opening the door for Philadelphia to put together a drive
of its own. That one also stalled, but Zendejas was good from 29 yards,
cutting the Bears' lead to one early in the second quarter.
|This was the view from the sidelines during the 'Fog Bowl.' || |
Two possessions later, the Bears capped off a 44-yard drive with a Neal
Anderson 4-yard touchdown run, making it 14-6.
The game had a much different "look" to it after that.
With the Bears up 17-6 midway through the second quarter, courtesy of a
46-yard field goal by Butler, a thick, grey fog steamrolled into Soldier
Field and practically ended up sitting on the field for the rest of the
"I thought it was snow," Eagles wide receiver Gregg Garrity told the
Chicago Tribune. "I don't think a blizzard would have been this bad. You
couldn't see what was going on in the backfield. It was eerie."
"It looked like a regular game to me," Bears QB Jim McMahon told the
Tribune. "Everything was a big fog."
Fans in the stands were dumbfounded -- they obviously paid good money to
see a playoff game. They could have stayed home to not see a football
game. On the other hand, those fans got a first-hand look at NFL
history. The game went down in league annals as the "Fog Bowl."
"Today was more frustrating than any time as a player," then-CBS analyst
Terry Bradshaw, who was doing his first NFL playoff telecast, told
The Washington Post. "I could not do my job ... We looked at one
another and said, 'Can you believe this? We worked so hard to get here
and look at this.' "
The Eagles spent the rest of the afternoon driving on the Bears, but
only coming up with field goals. Despite Cunningham's 407-yard passing
effort, which was incredible since he couldn't see the offensive line in
front of him once the fog came in, Zendejas was responsible for all 12
of the Eagles' points.
The National Weather Service eventually explained the situation: Cold
air that was over the lake blew into a path of warm air on land,
covering Chicago's lakefront. Local weathermen compared the fog as the
equivalent of having clouds on the ground.
Despite the weather, there were two positives for the Bears. One, they
won 20-12 and earned the right to play host the 49ers in the NFC
championship game. The other, less film for coaches to study and nitpick.
"We were all relieved," center Jay Hilgenberg told the
Tribune. "With the fog, there won't be any films for the coaches to