Being a resident of central Maine and a Canadian at heart, I feel qualified to offer up an assessment of the expected cold weather on Saturday night. The Snow Bowl was one thing, but this is a whole different conundrum. The Snow Bowl wasn't cold or windy. It was just snowing. Three degrees and a serious wind chill is another story. Saturday will present perhaps one of the coldest days of the year and it is up to the fans going to the game to maximize this advantage.
If the cold weather is going to be a true advantage then it is up to us: the Foxboro Faithful. It will be our duty on Saturday night to be loud. Really loud. As in "Steve McNair wasting a timeout on 3rd down and 5" loud. We need to show, that like the Patriots, we are unaffected by the cold and have made Gillette Stadium a hostile environment. Let's demonstrate that we are the most dedicated fans in the NFL. Can you make Gillette Stadium the place that psyches teams out before they even step off the bus? If you remember the old Garden, you might begin to see my point.
The last time the Titans played in temperatures below freezing was in 2001, when they lost both games. According to the Tennessean newspaper, since 1998 the Titans are 3-3 when the kickoff temperature is below freezing. The only problem with these stats are that they are like comparing Bermuda to Saskatchewan for winter getaway destinations. 32 degrees is downright balmy compared to 3 or 4 degrees with a wind chill. Don't believe me? Who among us hasn't worn shorts one last time in November while raking the yard?
As I write this, the Titans are practicing outside, at night, in 28 degree weather in Nashville. Now that's a start; but it is nothing compared to getting acclimated to bitter cold temperatures like what is expected Saturday night in zip code 02035. With all of the injuries that Tennessee has, the cold could clearly make sore ankles, shoulders, and knees tighten up. As Gary Tanguay mentioned on FSNE's"New England Sports Tonight," this could especially be difficult for the Titans at halftime as twelve minutes of inactivity might further stiffen bones, joints, and muscles. If it distracts the Titans, even a little, then I'm all for putting on an extra layer as I make my way up to Section 327 on Saturday night.
However, if there ever was a team that could block out such obstacles (besides your Patriots, of course) it is indeed the Titans. I have to respect the pride that the Titans play with. After seeing the way Eddie George played last Saturday night, I was ready to go out and buy his jersey on Sunday. Who wasn't impressed with the way that he stood up to Mr. Big Mouth himself, Ray Lewis. George had the final word and now he is in Lewis' head, not the other way around.
I want to see if the fans can break the will of a proud team like the Titans. If you can help make this happen, then Patriots fan will begin to be characterized like the fans in Green Bay. I don't think I have ever been more excited to be exposed to dangerously cold temperatures. If you are going to the game, make the cold-weather, home field advantage count. Make it sound like the old Garden.
Feel free to drop me a line. I can be reached at [email protected].
Don't forget to check me out at 8:20 on Monday mornings on Bangor, Maine's sports radio leader, WZON 620 "The Zone." You can listen over the internet at www.zoneradio.com This column also appears in the Waterboro (ME) Reporter, the Maine Standard Times (Lewiston/Auburn, ME), the American Journal (Gorham/Westbrook, ME), the Lakes Region Suburban Weekly (Windham, ME), and the Village Soup Times (Belfast/Camden/Rockland, ME) .
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