Headed into Sunday’s match-up between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers, many sports analysts and weather forecasters were proclaiming that the record for the coldest NFL game ever played could potentially be broken. With the polar vortex blowing through the central and eastern United States, meteorologists predicted that several parts of the country could see wind-chill temperatures as low as -60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Before Sunday’s NFC wild-card game, reports cited that the game-time temperature at Lambeau Field were expected to be at -5 degrees, with the wind-chill reaching a disastrously cold -51 degrees. If that was to happen, this game between the 49ers and Packers would have been one of the coldest games ever played in the NFL.
However, it wasn’t even close. NFL records determine game-time temperatures at kick-off and do not record temperature fluctuations throughout the game. At kick-off for Sunday’s game, the recorded temperature was a mild 5 degrees, with the wind-chill resting at -10. Eventually, the wind-chill at Lambeau would drop as low as -14 degrees, but would still not come close to setting any NFL records for the coldest game ever played.
Green Bay wind chill (-14) just passed the actual air temperature (-13) of the infamous Ice Bowl. Juuuuust a bit outside.
— Matt Lanza (@mattlanza) January 6, 2014
In preparation for the frigid conditions, much fuss was made about what the players would be wearing on the field. While certain hard-nosed, Hall of Fame coaches (like Vince Lombardi) would discourage and lambaste their players for choosing to wear extra apparel, current players are much more lenient:
“I don’t really subscribe to ‘the less clothes I have on, the tougher I am. The guys who think they’re the toughest guys in the world go out wearing no sleeves. It doesn’t make any sense. Being cold doesn’t make you tough. It makes you stupid,” stated Packers tight-end Ryan Taylor.
While wearing less clothes potentially makes one stupid, it can also make one a winner.
Coming in to Sunday’s game, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to heed his head coach’s advice to wear more clothing, stating “I’m a little hardheaded at times.”
Kaepernick, a Wisconsin native who played many college game in cold weather at Nevada, chose to wear short sleeves and no gloves for the game, sticking to his mantra that the cold is “more mental than anything.”
Perhaps Kaepernick and Vince Lombardi have the correct stance on cold-weather gear, seeing as Kaepernick was able to lead his 49ers to victory over the Green Bay Packers with a stellar performance, throwing for 227 yards and 1 TD while rushing for 98 yards and setting up the game-winning field-goal as time expired.
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