With a severe cold front coming into Kansas City this weekend, there’s likely to be a fair amount of talk this week about the conditions being tough when the Patriots battle the Chiefs Sunday night.
The Patriots are no stranger to playing in the freezing cold in big games, with the AFC Divisional match-up against the Titans back during the 2003/04 playoff run being one of the most memorable.
That game was rough. Game time conditions at kickoff saw the temperature at a frigid 4-degrees, with the wind chill putting things at -10. But the Patriots managed to come away with a 17-14 win to advance to the AFC Championship Game, which ultimately led to their second Super Bowl championship in three years.
Former Patriots defensive end Willie McGinest, now an analyst for NFL Network, joined WEEI’s Dale and Keefe Tuesday and talked about that night and pointed out that a couple of teammates actually even had to make a trip to the hospital after it was over.
“It was brutal, man, it was cold,” said McGinest. “Of course the ground was a little different then. It had frozen and we didn’t have the heaters and things of that sort under the field at that time. Technology has changed a little bit more, but it was cold.”
“When you’re a receiver or somebody, you’re trying to catch a pass, or when you’re hitting people – which I was on defense so it was great for me – people were taking hits. We had a couple of guys that had to go to the hospital after the game because they had frostbite on their hands.”
“It was cold, man, but it was a good cold game for us because we were victorious.”
McGinest said that players who tend to be more affected by weather like that are the skilled players, with receivers and running backs generally the ones who have the tougher time in those conditions.
“I think so. I mean, I really think so,” said McGinest when asked about it. “Running backs as well because if it’s that cold, the ball gets a little numb in your hands and people swipe at it and hit you. And when you’re putting your helmet across the football. “
“Receivers, when you’re trying to catch a pass and the quarterback puts a little heat on it, your fingers, that’s the toughest part, in those types of games, it’s your fingers, trying to keep your hands warm.”
We tend to see crazy things in those games, with many players even still choosing to tough it out and not wear sleeves, despite the dangers that come with playing in the frigid elements. Former Patriots quarterback Steve Grogan once discussed what he thought of teammates who opted to go that route and said it never made any sense to him.
“Actually I’ve never figured out why anyone would want to do that,” said Grogan in a Grogan’s Grade edition back in 2013. “I recall back to my days when the linemen would do that on really bitterly cold days, and then they’d get in the shower afterward and as their body warmed up, their bruises would start to show. You couldn’t see them.”
“It was so cold, it was forcing the blood toward the inner part of their body and then when they got in the shower and warmed up, the blood came to the surface they were bruised and battered all over the place. So I just don’t understand personally why anyone would want to play that way.”
According to Weather.com, the forecast for Sunday night’s game has the evening temperature at a paltry 6-degrees, which will likely recreate a similar evening for Patriots players.
Posted Under: 2018 Patriots playoffs