This Was The Last Time The NFL Canceled A Game That Was Not Strike-Related

Unlike Major League Baseball, NFL football games happen rain or shine — or in the case of the now-legendary 1967 NFL championship, with wind chill temperatures reaching nearly 50 below zero, according to NFL Communications (of course, lightning in the area will send teams and fans scurrying to safety). On occasion, NFL games are canceled due to strikes, such as in 1982 when, for the first time in NFL history, a number of games were called off due to work stoppage, as the New York Post reports. On January, 2, 2023 a Monday Night Football game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals was postponed when Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field from cardiac arrest. As of this report, Hamlin remained in critical condition in a Cincinatti hospital. The status of that Bill-Bengals game — as to whether or not the game will be played out — had yet to be determined as of this writing (via CNN).

Hamlin's injury aside, NFL games are also sometimes postponed or relocated due to natural disasters, like in 1992 when Hurricane Andrew bumped back the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins game for several weeks, per NBC Sports. Otherwise, the NFL regular season streak of play-at-all-costs is so strong that not even the COVID-19 pandemic could stop on-field competition. League officials instead dealt with virus outbreak issues by rescheduling individual games (via the NFL). 

While canceled NFL preseason games are more common, the first and only time an NFL pro-football regular game was scuttled without a labor issue as the cause happened in the mid-1930s, only 15 years after the league was founded (per the NFL).

The 1935 Philadelphia snowstorm brought the city to a halt

According to Sportscasting, the only time an NFL regular season game was canceled for a non-work-stoppage reason happened in 1935, in Philadelphia. That year, the city was blanketed by the worst snowstorm it had seen since the late 19th century, based on reporting from The New York Times in 1935. According to the NYT, snow fell for days on the city, with depths of snow and ice reaching more than a foot. Philadelphia was greatly impaired by the blizzard, and tens of thousands of men were called up to help. In that storm, six people died in those historically bad conditions, and many more were injured. All forms of air and ground transport in the area came to a standstill. 

Also that year, the Philadelphia Eagles were scheduled to play the Redskins, now the Commanders, a team then based in Boston prior to their move to the nation's capital. In the midst of that blizzard, the Eagles — which at that point had only been a team for a few years — and the Redskins were scheduled to play in Philadelphia (via AP News). But because of that epic winter weather the field at the Baker Bowl in Philly was deemed unplayable and that game never happened. The Eagles finished 2-9-0 that same season (via Pro-Football-Reference).