Super Bowl Week in 2000 started with an ice storm. The Atlanta Constitution front page on Monday, Jan. 24 proclaimed, "Georgia plunged into ice age," while other headlines promoted a special section for the upcoming Super Bowl. (AJC archives)

Ice Bowl: Things to know about the Atlanta Super Bowl ice storm in 2000

There were actually two ice storms before Super Bowl 34; Atlanta struggled with icy streets and power outages

The last time Atlanta hosted the Super Bowl was in Y2K, the year 2000, and the Super Bowl week was especially noted for Atlanta’s awful weather. Two ice storms crippled parts of the city and complicated travel for visiting NFL teams and fans.

Here are some things to know about the year some dubbed the “Ice Bowl” Super Bowl 34, on Jan. 30, 2000, at the Georgia Dome.

Super Bowl XXXIV is most remembered for the ice storm that hit Atlanta Friday before Super Bowl Sunday and shut down parts of the city. It was the second of two chilling storms that struck that week in 2000. A sheet of ice coated major roads throughout the region, causing massive pile-ups including a 47-car wreck on I-20 west of Atlanta. The rain continued for much of the day Saturday as temperatures hovered near the freezing mark, forming a quarter-inch thick coating of ice on most surfaces.
Photo: Brant Sanderlin

The first ice storm that week hit on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2000, a week before the game and the day the NFL teams were playing their conference championships. The storm caused widespread power outages affecting nearly a half-million people throughout the state, according to an AJC article. 

Winter weather was widespread that week. A snow storm on Tuesday, Jan. 24,  closed airports in Washington, Boston, Richmond, Raleigh, Philadelphia and Portland, Maine, according to The AJC.

> RELATED: Atlanta’s 2019 Super Bowl planning includes focus on winter weather risk

The second ice storm hit on Friday, Jan. 28, and Saturday, Jan. 29, causing scattered power outages, delaying flights into Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and making driving dangerous because of ice on the roads. The winter storm in Atlanta was part of a system that brought snow and ice to Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. Birmingham recorded an estimated 4 inches of snow by Friday morning, while northwestern Alabama had up to 6 inches.

Ahead of the second storm, home improvement stores braced for a run on emergency supplies. Lowe's, for example, restocked generators, firewood and ice melt after selling more than 2,000 generators earlier in the week, a company spokesman told the newspaper.

Super Bowl day in 2000. A newspaper headline reported, "Icy rain should exit by kickoff." (AJC archives)

The weather complicated practices before the Super Bowl. The St. Louis Rams canceled a Saturday practice at the Georgia Dome the day before the big game, after state troopers said the roads were too icy for safe driving. The Tennessee Titans also skipped a visit to the Dome, instead using an outdoor tent to review their plays, according to an AJC article.

The weather also complicated travel for fans arriving from St. Louis, Memphis and Nashville, as airlines canceled or postponed flights into Atlanta. Flights were also rescheduled by the weather at airports in Tennessee. The weather dampened sales for outdoor vendors around the Georgia Dome in the days before the game.

> RELATED: Priceless Super Bowl moments: The helmet catch

In the end, the game happened. The Rams beat the Titans 23-16 in a game that was closer than the score implied. Then-Gov. Roy Barnes was reported to be upbeat. After the game, Barnes was quoted as saying he talked to then-NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and reported the commissioner was impressed with how Atlanta adjusted to the awful weather.

But it was 16 years after that, in 2016, before Atlanta was selected to host a Super Bowl again, Super Bowl 53, happening this week. 

Oh, and the Georgia Dome? It was torn down -- imploded -- and is now a tailgating park next to Mercedes-Benz Stadium

> RELATED: A look back at Atlanta’s two previous Super Bowls

This article was compiled by Brian O’Shea, bposhea@ajc.com, from articles in the AJC archives.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

X