The weather in Calgary is making a habit of impacting the Stampeders' CFL games recently. First, there was Snow Bowl II (the original Snow Bowl was the 1996 Grey Cup in Hamilton) against the Ticats in October 2012. Then, there was last year's frigid, turnover-filled West Final against Saskatchewan; there wasn't any snow left on the field in that one, but the temperatures of -15 to -20 degrees Celsius had their own impact. The third installment in the trilogy came in an 18-13 loss to Winnipeg Saturday, memorable for the loss of star Calgary RB Jon Cornish, but perhaps even more so for the incredible amounts of snow and the effect that had on the game. Here are five of the most remarkable weather-affected plays from Snow Bowl III, ranked by how much of a role the weather played and presented in reverse order:
5. The blocked punt:
This might have been blocked even under dry conditions given the impressive Bombers' rush here, but the slippery footing may have caused Stampeders' punter Rob Maver to take a little more time than usual. Either way, it was a big play for the Bombers, one that gave them the ball inside the five and led to a touchdown that put them within one point in the third quarter. (They only wound up within one thanks to another play, which we'll get to later in this list.)
4. Maurice Price's fumble: Of the three fumbles on this list, this was probably the least impacted by the conditions. The ball comes out here because of the way Bombers' LB Ian Wild (38) races over and hits it directly, and it might have been a fumble even in a dry game. The slipperiness of the ball may have been a factor in Price's ability to hang on, though, and the snowy field likely impacted his slow spin to move upfield. Under dry conditions, Price may be able to evade Wild there. Moreover, the way the ball bounces around after the fumble definitely has a lot to do with the field. Price's fumble here with just 21 seconds left in the second quarter gave Winnipeg an opportunity to cash in, but they didn't, thanks to another play we'll see shortly.
3. Drew Willy's fumble: This came almost immediately after Price's fumble, and it certainly seemed weather-impacted. Yes, Willy might have lost the ball here if hit that way during a normal game, but the slippery ball both slowed his motion down and came out much more easily. That was a great play by the Stampeders to prevent conceding points right before the half, but they got an assist from the weather.
2. Anthony Parker's fumble: This fourth-quarter play was all about the weather. Parker initially struggles to pick the ball up on this kickoff return thanks to the snow. Once he does get moving, the two tacklers that hit him at 0:06 likely bring him down under normal conditions, but they both seem to slip a bit and lose leverage, allowing him to escape. That escape isn't for long, though, as a Winnipeg player's able to get a hand in close enough to jar the ball slightly loose from him. Under dry conditions, Parker can probably recover here; the ball's starting to come out, but he has a second before it actually does, and he attempts to haul it back in. With a slippery ball, though, that one's gone. This proved crucial, giving the Bombers the ball back and letting them kill some more clock.
1. The blown extra point: This third-quarter attempt to tie the game (shortly after the turnover at #5 above) on a conversion went wrong almost exclusively thanks to the weather. The snap from Winnipeg LB Ian Wild isn't great (perhaps again thanks to a slippery ball), but it's good enough under most circumstances for holder Derek Jones. Jones catches the ball and gets it down properly for kicker Lirim Hajrullahu, but after he does, the ball slips sideways in the snow. That leads to chaos, with Jones attempting to punt the ball through the uprights himself (that wouldn't have counted even if he had made it, as field goals are the only type of legal kick on a convert). It's a highly unusual play, and one we likely wouldn't have seen without a snowy field. Fortunately for the Bombers, that missed point didn't wind up costing them in the end.
See also our post on players' comments on what Saturday's game was like.