Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy (27) runs into the end
zone for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL
football game against the Chicago Bears, December 29th in
GREEN BAY - Josh
Boyd isn't into making a fashion statement, and he doesn't think
he needs to go sleeveless to show off his toughness.
All the Packers
defensive lineman wants is to stay warm in the subzero weather
when Green Bay hosts the San Francisco 49ers in an NFC wild-card
showdown that could be one of the coldest playoff games in NFL
intriguing story lines between these two NFC powers, and yet the
arctic cold may trump them all.
definitely going sleeves," said Boyd, a rookie from
Mississippi. "I mean, I don't see it as a tough guy thing. I
just see it as being comfortable."
Weather Service forecast called for a high temperature in Green
Bay on Sunday of 2 degrees, with north-northwest winds making it
feel more like minus-15 to minus-20.
The coldest NFL
game on record is the 1967 championship game, known as the
"Ice Bowl" won by the Packers 21-17 over the Dallas
Cowboys at Lambeau Field on New Year's Eve. The temperature dipped
to minus-13, and the wind chill that day was minus-48.
This might be
little consolation to Boyd, for whom cold games in college meant
playing in 30- or 40-degree weather.
Mississippi, so this is a whole other animal," Boyd said.
"I've never seen negatives until I got here."
renowned for toughing out inclement weather without sleeves under
jerseys. Don't want to give the opponent even the slightest idea
that you're soft, the line of thinking goes.
defensive tackle Justin Smith is as tough as they come, and even
he might wear sleeves for what he estimates would be just the
second or third time in his 13-year career.
going to have an advantage having no sleeves. You're not going to
scare the opponent," said Smith, who has 6½ sacks.
Across the line
of scrimmage, center Jonathan Goodwin said he had no problem
"I gave up
on the 'don't wear sleeves to look tough' a long time ago,"
Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore (21) is tackled by
Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Karlos Dansby (56)
during the first half of an NFL football game December 29th
in Glendale, Ariz.
In some ways,
players might be warmer than the 80,000 fans expected to pack
frigid Lambeau. Once they get to the sideline, players can take a
break on heated benches. They'll likely wear long, heavy coats
while not in the game.
"This is not
the norm. Anytime you get outside the norm for whatever your
occupation, it's obviously challenging mentally and
physically," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "That's
definitely going to be the case Sunday."
Footing on the
field will be a key issue. Lambeau does have a heating system
buried beneath the turf, encompassing 30 miles of pipes. There was
supposed to be a brief "break" in the cold snap with
temperatures rising into the upper 20s on Saturday, which McCarthy
said would give groundskeepers a key day to work on the field.
"It could be
just a normal game that's played at a little slower pace. Or it
could be where there's a lot of slipping and sliding going on,
then you have to adjust a little bit," 49ers defensive
coordinator Vic Fangio said. "You need to wait to see Sunday
exactly see how the field affects the game."
Another key for
players will be to stay hydrated, though McCarthy jokingly put his
index finger to his lips as if to tell a reporter to not let out
the secret when asked the question Friday.
it in past games where guys do cramp, so yes, it's all part of our
preparation," McCarthy said.
If not for the
arctic front marching into Wisconsin, more of the attention before
Sunday's game might be focused on 49ers quarterback Colin
Kaepernick's mastery of Green Bay in the teams' last two meetings.
Or quarterback Aaron Rodgers' triumphant return from a left
collarbone injury to help the resurgent Packers get back into the
Francisco and Green Bay will have to deal with an unwelcome extra
opponent: the bitter cold.
lineman Mike Daniels seems to subscribe to the sleeves-are-soft
philosophy. He doesn't like wearing them and plans to just play
through the big chill and block out the conditions.
And don't get him
started on hand warmers.
offensive linemen with hand warmers, that tells me about them,
man," Daniels said. "A defensive line coach in college
said that, so I kind of kept that mentality."
Doctor: Wear 3
layers, keep dry for Packers game
GREEN BAY -
Medical experts say Packers fans shouldn't worry about
overdressing for Sunday's game.
Weather Service predicts the high will be zero with winds of up
to 21 mph. Low temperatures are expected at minus 20.
Boehm, from Bellin Health, tells a news outlet people can always
take off layers.
fans should plan to wear at least three layers. The first should
be made of a wicking material, followed by a warm layer like a
fleece jacket or sweatshirt. The last layer should be a
windproof jacket and snow pants.
wear waterproof gloves or mittens, insulated socks and boots, a
hat and scarf. Boehm says drinking warm fluids rather than
alcohol also is a good idea.