The Lass Word: Is the Cold Weather Advantage Real?

How do warm weather teams like the Rams really fare when they come to play in the cold?

The Green Bay Packers worked hard to achieve home field advantage throughout the conference playoffs.  Even without a full stadium of fans, the players and coaches are convinced the cold weather and the familiar surroundings gives them a distinct advantage over any visitors.  This is especially true when the visitor is a warm weather team, such as the Los Angeles Rams, who will visit Lambeau Field for the divisional playoff contest Saturday afternoon. 

  

But is the cold weather advantage really true?  Or is it more myth than fact?  Is it really easier for Packers players to function in the cold than for visiting players who have been living in a warmer climate?  Certainly, over the years, the record shows the Packers have been tougher to beat in December.  Pinning down the exact reasons for that is a little tricky.  Did the weather have something to do with it, or is it just that the Packers have had good teams that bear down in the final month of the regular season? 

  

Green Bay's record in home playoff games since 2001 is not all that great.  They are just 6-5.  Two of those defeats came at the hands of the warm weather San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons.  However, the Packers have won the last three, and four of the last five.  Two of those victories were over warm weather Dallas and dome team Minnesota.  The Minnesota win is probably not relevant because those players still live in a cold climate, even if they don't play in one. 

  

In the 2020 regular season just completed, there were eleven games in the months of December and January where a warm weather and/or dome team had to play in an outdoor, cold weather stadium.  The warm weather teams had a record of 3-8 in those games.  No doubt, some of that was due to the host team simply being better.  For example, the Baltimore Ravens beating Dallas 34-17.  The Ravens likely would have won that game regardless of the weather. 

  

But there are a few other final scores that catch your eye.  On December 13th the Houston Texans, a southern dome team, traveled to chilly Chicago and lost to the Bears 36-7.  On the same day, the New Orleans Saints were heavily favored at troubled Philadelphia, but wound up getting upset 24-21.  On December 27, the Tennessee Titans certainly looked like they didn't want to be at Lambeau Field in the cold and snow as they were drubbed by the Packers 40-14.  On January 3, the Miami Dolphins visited Buffalo and were trampled 56-26.  In the Wild Card playoffs this past weekend, dome team Indianapolis lost at Buffalo 27-24, while Tampa Bay struggled mightily, despite being heavily favored, in a win over the 7-9 Washington Football Team. 

  

There is no telling how much, if anything, the elements might have had to do with those games, but the results do seem to support the idea that the cold weather advantage is real. 

  

As for the Packers' Saturday opponent, the Rams, there is not much of a track record as to how well they play in cold locales in December, mostly because they are in the NFC West with other warm weather teams (I am not considering Seattle to be among the colder sites).  On December 9, 2018 the Rams, with a record of 11-1 and on their way to the Super Bowl, traveled to Chicago where they were upset by the Bears 15-6.  On December 4 of 2016, the Rams were defeated in the cold by the New England Patriots in Foxboro 26-10.  However, that was a bad Rams team which finished 4-12. 

  

In a 2015 article for packersnews.com, Pete Dougherty points out medical studies that suggest it takes the human body ten days to a month to adapt to cold temperatures.  The body has to learn to heat itself more efficiently, and that takes time.  In other words, the bodies of Packers players, who have been living and sometimes practicing outdoors in Green Bay's cold climate, will literally keep them warmer than the bodies of visiting players who have been living in warm weather.  So it is credible when we hear Green Bay players claim that they are "used to playing in the cold". 

 

Safety Adrian Amos says he hears players from visiting teams complaining about the cold during games.  “It’s not even just warm weather teams.  Any team, you know, Chicago comes up here and receivers say it’s too cold.  Teams from all over.  Anybody who comes here to Lambeau, they notice a different chill in the air.” 

 

Ah, yes....a different chill.  There is cold, and then there is Lambeau cold.  Any of you who have sat in the stands at Lambeau in December or January know the cold is real.  It goes through you to the bone.  When I was covering Packer games, we always had to bring an extra camera.  We stored it in the locker room until the game was over.  You couldn’t use your field camera for locker room interviews because the lens would immediately fog up.  Wiping it off was futile because it would just recondense and fog up again.  It was frozen.  

 

All of that being said, as of this writing, the weather isn’t expected to be all that cold for the game, at least not by Lambeau standards.  The forecast calls for temps in the lower 30’s to upper 20’s, with a chance of light snow or rain showers.  Asked if he was disappointed the temps won’t be lower, Aaron Rodgers responded “I would caution anyone looking at the weather.  Things change very quickly in Green Bay.” 

  

Whatever the cold weather advantage may be for the Packers on Saturday, the players are not counting on it.  Center Corey Linsley hit the nail on the head on Tuesday when asked about the Rams:  "These guys are coming to play.  It doesn't matter where it is." 

 

OUTTAKES

•  Rick Gosselin's annual ranking of NFL special teams performance for the 2020 regular season is out.  First, the bad news:  the Packers special teams are ranked 29th.

•  The good news:  one of the three teams ranked lower than Green Bay is Saturday's opponent, the Rams, ranked 30th.

•  Am I the only one whose heart goes up into his throat whenever I see an opposing kick returner decide to run back a Packers kick-off?

•  I believe the stars of this game, Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, Davante Adams, Aaron Rodgers, etc. are going to more or less cancel each other out.  Someone you don't expect is going to come up big and be the difference.  Someone like Allen Lazard or MVS or AJ Dillon.  Maybe Kevin King will actually come up with an interception.

•  No one should be a bit surprised that Aaron Rodgers is a trivia buff to the point where he has appeared on Jeopardy and won, and now will guest host in the off season.  Every time I listen to his interviews, I am amazed at his ability to recall specifics and minutia from virtually every game he's ever played, and every guy he's played with.  He is obviously gifted in terms of memory.

•  When Robert Tonyan and Dominique Dafney are on the field at the same time, it means both of the Packers' tight ends were produced by tiny Indiana State.  What are the odds?

 

 

-----------------------------------

Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

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7 points

Comments (50)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
LayingTheLawe's picture

January 14, 2021 at 03:58 pm

Cold doesn't matter unless it is REAL cold. And then it is still mostly a mind thing. A packer player gets excited when they see it will be subzero or snowing and the opponent gets bummed. It's mostly that anticipation that has the edge one way or another.

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Coldworld's picture

January 14, 2021 at 04:30 pm

Cold of this sort isn’t material. The atmosphere of Lambeau may help a bit, but ultimately, we should just be better.

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Nordom's picture

January 14, 2021 at 06:50 pm

"Am I the only one whose heart goes up into his throat whenever I see an opposing kick returner decide to run back a Packers kick-off?"

I get extremely anxious literally any time we're on special teams besides kicking a FG. Kickoffs and punts, whether we're the ones kicking or receiving, have become extremely stressful due to the myriad of mistakes over the past three seasons. I'm thankful we've been among the fewest to punt in the NFL this season at least.

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Lphill's picture

January 14, 2021 at 05:41 pm

I think the Cold is a major disadvantage if you have bruised ribs or metal pins in your throwing thumb, other than that no.

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Lphill's picture

January 14, 2021 at 05:44 pm

Go pack go!

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PeteK's picture

January 14, 2021 at 06:44 pm

Especially after the adrenaline wears off and some hits.

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Swisch's picture

January 14, 2021 at 06:11 pm

My major concern is the wind, which not only adds an extra chill factor of misery to everyone in the stadium, but would seem to be against the Packers more because our excellent passing game would be hindered against a top defense.
However, this could be countered with a creative array of short passes, which the Bears showed to be effective against us in the last game in Green Bay.
Also, I really like showing the jet sweep often to keep the defense from crashing inside. Plus, an occasional carry for MVS and Tavon as the sweepers can result in a long run at any time, or at least solid yardage.
If the offense hits a lull and is derailed at any time in the game, a key will be to keep calm. If we continue to execute well while taking care of the ball, the offense is quite likely to get back on track with a big play or a sustained drive.
This should be a fun challenge for LaFleur, Hackett, and Rodgers to have a variety of plays ready to go for various situations.
The Packers have such an array of talent at our skill positions for runs and passes -- including recent contributors in Dillon and Dafney -- that we can really keep any defense guessing.
I'm hoping we pull away in the second half for a decisive victory, but this is a playoff game after all, which means a probable war all the way to the end.
Even if it's close, with poise and patience in any adversity that may come up, and with perseverance to play the game all the way through, our offense should put up enough points to win.

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murf7777's picture

January 15, 2021 at 06:56 am

Hmmmm....Rodgers didn’t seem to have problems throwing past 10 yards against the Titans. If I remember the wind was +10. I think it is a big advantage to the Packers.

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Swisch's picture

January 15, 2021 at 10:57 am

I don't consider the game against the Titans as windy.

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 15, 2021 at 11:56 am

What you consider or do not consider is irrelevant. It is a fact that the wind was 10+ mph during the Titans game, as murf said.

You are the person who said wind is a factor. If you wanted to qualify your opinion based on the wind velocity you should stated so in your original comment.

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Swisch's picture

January 15, 2021 at 12:15 pm

I never said 10 mph was the threshold for declaring windy conditions.
To say that windiness doesn't affect the passing game in football seems silly to me.
People can differ about the level of windiness and its impact, but most of us don't need weather statistics to observe when the wind is a factor.
I never noticed the wind in the Titans game, and don't remember anyone talking about the wind that night.
***
By the way, Drifter, you can just skip my comments if you think them irrelevant. You can save your time for more important things.

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SterlingSharpe's picture

January 14, 2021 at 06:58 pm

If the Packers PLAYERS think the cold is going to help them/hurt the opponent, then it will actually have a NEGATIVE effect on our team & it can take away an edge. Teams usually play better with a chip on their shoulder.
We felt like the Giants in 2011 had no chance.
We thought the Super Cold in 2007 (Giants again) would "help" us.
We didn't think the Atlanta Falcons, a dome team, could win in Lambeau in January.
We laid eggs offensively in all those games & as heavy favorites, had seasons ended. With 70,000 Screaming Cheeseheads helping us on.

I pray that our players don't think what so many fans & writers are saying!

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murf7777's picture

January 15, 2021 at 12:08 pm

I tend to agree if the thought that home field is the path to victory. I’d counter that it’s the leaders, Arod, MLF, Pettine and other players and coaches making sure everyone is prepared for a heightened battle.

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TarynsEyes's picture

January 14, 2021 at 08:09 pm

Relying on the cold to help stop an opponent is ridiculous.

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Nordom's picture

January 15, 2021 at 05:24 am

Why do you have a new account name? I already created a uBlock Origin filter for your consistently terrible posts, guess I'll have to make another.

For anyone that wants it:
cheeseheadtv.com##.hover-link.name.subtitle:has-text(TarynsEyes):upward(8)

Can be used for other account names, just replace "TarynsEyes" with your desired account to block. There are a couple of other users I could recommend creating filters for as well, but I'll just leave it at that.

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Lphill's picture

January 15, 2021 at 08:31 am

So another opponent of the first amendment? You fit right in with today's cancel culture .

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fastmoving's picture

January 15, 2021 at 10:01 am

Thats the only thing its left form the GOP, the Republican cancel culture. Burning nikes shoes and Kap shirts. Boykoting the NFL and CNN. Thanks god this idiots bought all that stuff before burning it.
But the most funny thing its when the ornge cowards (criminals but snowflakes) think free markets and first amendment is the same. No wonder the right just want to destroy America.
The jails are way to small for the weak Wig family and all his homeschooled, foxnews deplorables.
But you are right Lphil, hate, rasicm, guns and cancel culture its all the right winger snowflakes got. But for some its enough. They dont hate anything more than american democracy. Maybe law and order, freedom and work even a little bit more......

But the weak orange coward can still sue god about free markets with his cult followers. Even if he was never in a church and has no idea what the bible is.

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Lphill's picture

January 15, 2021 at 12:48 pm

Feel better now fastmoving maybe you need more fiber in your diet , what does your childish political rant have to do with someone blocking a packers fan from expressing their opinion ?

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 15, 2021 at 01:33 pm

Someone who jabbers about delusions of a "cancel culture" thinks another person has a childish political rant. That's rich.

Who is blocking you or anyone else from expressing an opinion? Nordom said that he is individually blocking Taryn's posts. That is his personal prerogative. Those posts still appear for everyone else to see.

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 15, 2021 at 10:06 am

Lphill - You do not have a first amendment right to post a comment, or to have your comment viewed, on a private blog. Apparently you slept through civics class.

There is no such thing as a "cancel culture". Name one instance where you have been you have been denied the ability to have your own feelings or opinions, regardles of how abhorrent those are. What you want is to be able to express your regressive beliefs without being challenged. Having decent people dispute your opinions is not "canceling" you. Rather, it is challenging you.

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Lphill's picture

January 15, 2021 at 12:50 pm

So you prefer a sports blog site where you can censor negative comments or block those opinions you don't agree with is basically what you're saying.

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 15, 2021 at 01:47 pm

No, what I said was that you have no first amendment right to comment on a privately owned blog or website. CHTV can block your comments or ban you as it sees fit.

I also said that you have no constitutional right to have your comments read. Other CHTV users can choose to block your individual comments, or not read them, as they see fit.

Please note that an individual blocking your comments does not mean that you are being censored or "canceled". Your comments still appear for everyone other than the blocking individual to see.

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Nate-1980's picture

January 15, 2021 at 04:22 pm

Too bad chtv doesn’t ban high plains boooo !!

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jurp's picture

January 15, 2021 at 07:17 pm

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Note that this doesn't say "Private Businesses shall make no law..."

You (and [rebel] Senator Hawley) might want to read the Constitution before (erroneously) using it in an argument.

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TarynsEyes's picture

January 15, 2021 at 09:00 am

Glad to be of help with your use of uBlock Origin, so block away.

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 15, 2021 at 05:35 am

Absolutely no one is talking about "[r]elying" on the cold. Reread the article, there is not a single reference by a player, coach, or analyst about "relying" on the cold to "stop" an opponent. You will also not find any other credible discussion about "relying" on the cold for this purpose.

The article examines how the Packers players may be more acclimated to the cold weather than visiting players, and to what existent varying extremes of cold weather effect visiting teams in Green Bay. Please note the discussion in the article about how long it takes the human body to adjust to cold temperatures.

That discussion delves into facts and science regarding the subject, items we know you reject. However, claiming that the article states something it does not is simply being disingenuous.

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TarynsEyes's picture

January 15, 2021 at 08:56 am

Whenever the weather is mentioned, by whomever, and is mentioned by near all, starting with how great it would be for GB to have home field and the WEATHER is relying on it. One doesn't need to say it directly, but we all know that everyone is hoping for cold and snow because they believe it will help against whoever is the opponent.

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 15, 2021 at 09:42 am

Again, discussing the effects of cold weather on visiting players and teams is nowhere near the same thing as someone saying they are "relying" on the cold weather to win the game. You cannot seem to get that difference through your thick head.

You originally claimed above that anyone "relying" on cold weather to win the game was being ridiculous. Now you are contradicting your own statement by admitting that no one has actually said that they are "relying" on the cold for that purpose. Instead, you are only assuming that is what "everyone" is saying, although absolutely no one has said that.

Why not just admit that your original comment was not only disingenuous, but also an absolute lie?

Oh, and how about answering Nordom's question on why you changed your screen name?

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Swisch's picture

January 15, 2021 at 12:20 pm

Drifter, how about you stop the nasty comments with your superiority complex?

6 points
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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 15, 2021 at 01:57 pm

Be careful, your buddy Lphill is going to think that you're trying to cancel me.

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TarynsEyes's picture

January 15, 2021 at 03:04 pm

I did so because it was more in sync with my avatar. It's not like I'm not Taryn and went into hiding. Everyone knows it's still me, and for someone who dislikes me, as you show, what do you care? I assure you, if you change your name, I wouldn't and couldn't care less, and certainly wouldn't follow up for another who asked, because I couldn't care less.

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murf7777's picture

January 15, 2021 at 06:58 am

Relying - NO.....helpful - YES

7 points
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PeteK's picture

January 15, 2021 at 10:36 am

Thank you, concisely explained.

3 points
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Mike Rossmeier's picture

January 14, 2021 at 10:32 pm

Aaron prides himself on trivia - but didn't know the product Green Bay is best known for -- (toilet paper).

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Starrbrite's picture

January 14, 2021 at 11:55 pm

The Broncos claim they have an altitude advantage; east coast teams claim they have an advantage when west coast teams travel east; hot/humid climate teams claim the advantage is theirs. Real grass as opposed to grass. Who can say for certain, but IMO, severe heat would be the most difficult venue. I attended two of hottest games on record: Packers @ Jax and Packer at Tampa and I honestly don’t know how the players lasted.

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Nate-1980's picture

January 15, 2021 at 04:34 pm

Nailed it starrbrite Ive lived near Tampa for 30 years and I’m still not used to the 8 month summers here , they drain you, and especially teams from up north not used to the humidity.. It seems the packers don’t play as well whenever they come to Florida, but I’d have to say the cold does effect southern teams too, but maybe a little less..

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sohankhan's picture

January 15, 2021 at 12:11 am

The Green Bay Packers come out of their bye week and hit the road to visit the Los Angeles Rams, who are the lone undefeated team in the NFL at 7-0. Here's a look at this series - past, present and future.

FOR FREE :https://kotvlive.blogspot.com/NFL/

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PaulRosik's picture

January 15, 2021 at 12:34 am

Barely under 30 with 10 mph winds? This means nothing to this game. No impact at all.

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porupack's picture

January 15, 2021 at 05:28 am

Agreed. It is invigorating weather. We'll see more Rams in short sleeves than Packers.

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murf7777's picture

January 15, 2021 at 07:20 am

To think a cold ball, with 10+ MPH wind, that is a bit harder to throw and grip, especially with a QB with a fractured, dislocated or broken thumb isn’t an issue you are mistaken. How couldn’t it be? Maybe Goff will handle it but I’d be surprised if he said truthfully that throwing in that climate is just as easy as 70 degrees. He hasn’t even played a cold weather game since 12/9/18 in Chicago,which he lost 15-6. That’s over two years since he has experienced cold windy weather.

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Nate-1980's picture

January 15, 2021 at 04:39 pm

Cold weather also effects field goals I’m sure, because it sure did in the soccer games I played, it’s like kicking a rock.. A dead feeling ball that spins off your foot a lot more..

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SwedeBayPacker's picture

January 15, 2021 at 04:53 am

My take-away (and I'm no expert) is that cold weather, especially wind is a factor for dome teams, more so than it is a factor for warm weather teams. I saw some stat somewhere that dome qbs see big drops in accuracy when playing outside of a dome. As for cold, well they get warmed up on the sidelines by those humongous fans, and on the field you play yourself warm.

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porupack's picture

January 15, 2021 at 05:29 am

Makes sense. Good point.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 15, 2021 at 07:15 am

Wind being one of the biggest factors makes sense to me. As a pretty decent golfer who never took any lessons (other than for putting), wind played havoc with my game because I hit a high ball, and could do nothing to alter the trajectory.

5 points
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dobber's picture

January 15, 2021 at 10:28 am

Heard an interesting take this morning, that the Rams have been known to put Ramsey on an opponent's #2 WR in solo coverage to take away one side of the field and they'll use Hill and Williams to constantly double the #1 WR. Interesting. Comes back to the fact that Tonyan and Lazard need to show up and that the OL needs to give ARod enough time to find them.

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PeteK's picture

January 15, 2021 at 10:42 am

He could use quick hitters to them and Jones mixed with running plays .Love those methodical drives that end in TDs.

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Lphill's picture

January 15, 2021 at 12:55 pm

Cam Ackers is who the Packers should be concerned with, since the Rams 3 other stars , Geoff, Donald and Cupp will be limited with injuries.

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PatrickGB's picture

January 15, 2021 at 10:13 pm

Before the game the tarp comes off. Then the field is fine. But as the afternoon wears on then the moisture begins to be slick and possibly freeze. Next the football cools down and gets harder and maybe a bit slick too. As the game goes on then the opening game adrenaline loses its punch. Overconfident players from a warmer climate begin to rethink their macho decision to play in short sleeves. Then players like AJ Dillon hits them over and over and it hurts. It really hurts!

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Tundraboy's picture

January 15, 2021 at 10:54 pm

So what’s wrong with believing the cold adds to our home field advantage. Is there really any difference between all the idiots in Seattle ,12th man, and piping in noise, the violently obnoxious Eagle and Raider fans or even that stupid horn?

At the end of the day if we’re not tough enough or good enough to win it’s not gonna make enough of a difference.

2 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

January 16, 2021 at 03:22 am

Run, Block and Tackle harder and faster.

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