"I played in a game here against the Pittsburgh Steelers where there was 23 inches of snow. … We played in at least 15 inches of that."

Curtis Martin on Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 in comments on ESPN

Curtis Martin says he once played a game in 15 inches of snow

Yes it snowed back when the Jets and Steelers played in 2003. But 23 inches? Not quite.

Former New York Jets running back Curtis Martin took to ESPN’s Herald Square set recently with a message: Stop worrying about the weather for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Martin said he was excited to see football’s big game being played outside in a northern city, and that the elements are part of professional football.

He then told the audience about how things were back in his playing days.

"I played in a game here against the Pittsburgh Steelers where there was 23 inches of snow, and they couldn’t get all the snow," Martin said. "We played in at least 15 inches of that. The only thing you could see on the field were the lines that they would clear out."

1) That sounds like a lot of snow.

2) We’re not expecting anything close in East Rutherford, N.J., for the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos.

3) The story Martin told is pretty exaggerated.

The Steelers did play Martin’s Jets in the snow in East Rutherford on Dec. 14, 2003.

Martin had a statistically great game, rushing for 174 yards while adding 54 yards receiving.The Jets won 6-0 on two Doug Brien field goals.

The size of the snow pile, however, apparently has grown in Martin’s mind since the game was played a decade ago.

Most media reports say the teams played in several inches of snow before the snow became freezing rain in the second half. Weather history from Weather Underground, which relies on airport weather data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration, says that about 4 inches of snow fell in the East Rutherford area on Dec. 14, not 23 inches.

The New York Daily News also reported 4 inches of snow that day, saying: "four inches of snow, then sleet turning to rain and 30-mph wind gusts."

And here’s how Jets kicker Brien described a second-quarter field goal at the time to New York’s Journal News: "There was 4 inches of snow on the ground. I was fortunate that we had a timeout and the line was able to clear away a pretty good space for me, and that was big."

Lastly, while the NFL is very good about making sure videos of their games do not appear on the Internet, there is photographic evidence that there was not 23 or even 15 inches of snow that day.

We have a photo of Brien’s 41-yard field goal, and we have an image of Martin in what appears to be a few inches.

Our ruling

Former Jets star running back Curtis Martin said he once played a game in 15 inches of snow.

This is one of those stories that gets more unbelievable as the years pass. That’s because it’s not true. We rate Martin’s claim False.