The temperature today when I got up was –4°F (for those of you playing along outside the United States, that’s –20°C) with a windchill of –14°F (-25°C).
That’s cold, or as the Sylvester Stallone Claymation character in the Nestea ice tea commercials used to say, “That’s brisk, baby!”
So cold my hand freezes to the outside door whenever I let the dogs in or out.
And tomorrow, for the NFC Conference game in Green Bay between the visiting New York Giants and the 12-time world champion Green Bay Packers, the temperature should be about equivalent. Maybe 0 degrees at best.
The original Ice Bowl, which was the 1967 NFL Championship game between the visiting Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers, was played on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. The game time temperature was -13°F (-25°C), with a wind chill around -48°F (-44°C).
Certainly the game is remembered for the bitter cold — one anecdote tells of a sports reporter setting his hot coffee down and when he reached for it later it had froze — but the real reason the game is remembered is because it was a hard-fought close game played by the two best teams in the NFL that year. A game remembered by the game winning drive of the Packers culminating in a quarterback sneak for the go-ahead touchdown memorialized in book and film.
Will this coming game be remembered for just the cold or will it two be a hard-fought game between two very good teams? Only time will tell.
Many prognosticators are saying that the cold could be the factor in the game, a sort of 12th man for the Packers, as if the Packers have an advantage playing on their home frozen turf.
I have heard a few, more intelligent sportscasters say that the cold won’t be to anyone’s advantage. Cold is cold and will effect both teams equally. I have also heard that the Giants have not played in any temperatures colder than 36°F (2°C).
I agree, cold effects everyone pretty much equally. You can get used to cold. Hell, as a life-long resident of Wisconsin, I can comfortably handle temps in the twenties with just a sweatshirt on. When it dips to the teens, yes, I put on a jacket. When it gets into single digits, I might be inclined to put on a hat. But below zero? Are you nuts? That’s nose-hair freezing cold, my friends, and I’d rather stay inside and watch the game from the comfortable 68°F (20°C) temps of my living room.
So yes, if the Packers were playing in average cold (teens or twenties), then I’d say physically they might have an advantage. But zero? That’s just miserable to all involved and personally I think our lineman who are going to gut it out in short sleeves are crazy.
But that is where the advantage lies, in the psychology of the game. The Giants will be just as cold as the Packers, yes, but the Giants will have it in their head that the Packers can withstand the cold better than they. The Giants will be facing linemen in short sleeves who seem to be laughing at the cold while they’ll be shivering their asses off.
The Giants are practicing outside at Giants Stadium and the temperature is 38°F (3°C). According to one story, the Giants are practicing in long-sleeves and some are even wearing ski masks under their helmets. When they step off the plane at Austin Straubel International Airport in Green Bay, a 35-degree drop in temperature will greet them like a slap in the face.
Psych! If you don’t think that effects someone mentally, then you’ve never experienced frozen nosehairs before.
Which reminds me of a joke. There are these three sailors swapping stories about how cold they’ve seen it. The first sailor says, “I was in the Aleutian Islands, and it was so cold there, your breath would freeze in a cloud in front of your face and fall to the ground.”
The second sailor says, “I spend time in Iceland and it was so cold there, if you went outside to pee, the stream would freeze and you had to break it off to put your johnson back in your pants.”
The third sailor rolled his eyes and said, “That isn’t cold. I was in Antarctica and I was outside the Quonset hut and found this little green marble on the ground. I picked it up and carried it inside. Once inside I set it on a table and a few minutes later it thawed and I heard, ‘Pffft!’”
So here’s hoping the Giants are nothing more than a frozen fart in the wind.