BY Art Thiel 05:04PM 01/05/2016

So it had to be Minnesota in January . . .

Mild and wet for for most of fall and early winter, the weather in the Twin Cities turns mega-brisk Sunday, with a high of zero just in time for the Seahawks Vikings game.

No truth to the rumor that the Vikings QB has changed his name to Teddy Frozenwater.

Just in time for the playoff game Sunday between the Vikings and Seahawks, Minnesota  will become Minnesota. Sorta. The latest forecast calls for a traditional three-dog-night experience — a high of zero, and a low of minus-11. But little or no snow.

After a fall and early winter of unseasonably and unreasonably mild temps, the upper Midwest will go full Arctic blast, as TV newsers like to say, in time for the noon CT (10 a.m. PT) Sunday kickoff.

The football gods truly wish to test the Seahawks. /

Before the games Sunday settled the NFC playoff seedings, there was a general belief among fans that since the Seahawks would have to play on the road anyway, it didn’t much matter which destination among Green Bay, Washington and Minnesota the Seahawks drew.

Now playing in the nation’s capital, which would have happened if the Seahawks had been the No. 5 seed instead of No. 6 seed, looks good. Sunday’s forecast for Washington D.C. calls for 53 degrees and rain. Or as it is called in Seattle: Beach weather.

The Seahawks undoubtedly will say it makes no difference to them: The field is still 100 yards, it’s the same for the other guys, yadda yadda bleepin’ yada. And cold can be dealt with more easily than snow/ice on the field.

But zero is zero, people. Things change. The footballs may deflate a little, although that really is an AFC thing.

As longtime fans know, weather-impacted games are often highly entertaining, which the NFL loves. Hey, the game might even crack the top 10 list of coldest games, photos and data for which can be found here, including one of a youthful Mike Holmgren.

It’s always said that inclement weather is an equalizer for teams of lesser physical talent. Maybe true, but there’s this: Second-year Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was born and grew up in Miami, then spent four years of college in Louisville.

Between zero and Seahawks DE Michael Bennett, it likely will not be fun for the youngster.


  • 1coolguy

    Bummer. You hope that each team is able to play their best in the playoffs and this will certainly curtail the play, on both sides.
    Sure hope Pete / John come up with an advantage somewhere – maybe arriving a day early, even though it will be “only” 17?

    • art thiel

      I’m sure Pete knows that the only fix for cold temps is in the mind.

      • SeaRaays

        Yes..numb the mind to think you do not need to feel your feet or hands.

  • Jeff Shope

    football weather butch up sally

    • art thiel

      Such a manly man, Jeff. You’ll like Trump.

      • Bayview Herb

        Now wait, Art, this message resonates with many that have frozen near death. First, Trump would nether subject himself to Zero temperatures, nor give up his trophy wife/GF/whom ever.

        • Sonics79

          Let’s keep the randomly connected political comments to But Art started it. ; )

          • art thiel

            Such an easy target. Trying to resist.

    • dingle

      I really can’t think of anything that should be done at 0 degrees.

      Drinking, maybe, but only to try to forget that it’s 0 degrees.

  • Npattison

    I remember after the Cowboys lost a championship game at Green Bay in sub-zero temps (1967?) someone put a time clock in a freezer and determined it ran more than a minute slow when cold — and Cowboys would have won in “regulation” time.

    • art thiel

      Is Tom Brady aware of this? Once you’ve tried the gateway drug of deflating footballs, icing the clock is next.

  • Eric K

    One thing is Petersen is more about elusiveness and speed. Tackling Lynch on a warm day isn’t fun, can’t imagine 0 degrees will make it any better

    • art thiel

      Nothing is better at 0 degrees.

      • John M

        True, Art, and in extreme weather weird things often happen. I think the game is anyone’s guess and they’ll likely be wrong. Just hope the Hawks can sneak out with a win . . .

  • PokeyPuffy

    I was in Wisconsin this time last year and it was 0 degrees high temp with 40 mph winds. Just saying, it could be worse, although even under those conditions my 9 yo daughter insisted on spending the entire day outside sledding.

    i think cold dry and calm is perfect football weather, as long as the field is clear. Whats in the cards this week in no way approaches the infamous Ice Bowl, where a spectator actually died from exposure. This wiki excerpt has some colorful descriptions:

    “Dubbed by the sports media as ‘The Ice Bowl’, the game-time
    temperature at Lambeau Field was about −15 °F (−26 °C), with an average wind chill around −48 °F (−44 °C); under the revised National Weather Service wind chill index implemented in 2001, the average wind chill would have been −36 °F (−38 °C).[28]
    Lambeau Field’s turf-heating system malfunctioned, and when the
    tarpaulin was removed from the field before the game, it left moisture
    on the field, which flash-froze in the extreme cold, leaving an icy
    surface that got worse as more and more of the field fell into the
    shadow of the stadium.[29] The heating system, made by General Electric, cost $80,000 and was bought from the nephew of George Halas, George Halas Jr.[citation needed] On the sidelines before the game, some Dallas players believed that Lombardi had purposely removed power to the heating coils.[30] The heating system would eventually be given the moniker Lombardi’s Folly.[31] The prior convention to prevent the football field from icing up was to cover the field with dozens of tons of hay.[32]

    The University of Wisconsin–La Crosse
    (then Wisconsin State University–La Crosse) Marching Chiefs band was
    scheduled to perform the pre-game and half-time shows. However, during
    warm-ups in the brutal cold, the woodwind instruments froze and would
    not play; the mouthpieces of brass instruments got stuck to the players’ lips; and seven members of the band were transported to local hospitals for hypothermia. The band’s further performances were canceled for the day.[citation needed] During the game, an elderly spectator in the stands died from exposure.[33]

    Prior to the game, many of the Green Bay players were unable to start
    their cars in the freezing weather, forcing them to make alternate
    travel arrangements to make it to the stadium on time. Linebacker Dave Robinson
    had to flag down a random passing motorist for a ride. The referees for
    the game found they did not have sufficient clothing for the cold, and
    had to make an early trip to a sporting goods store for earmuffs, heavy
    gloves, and thermal underwear.[34] Packers quarterback Bart Starr
    attended an early church service with his father, who had visited for
    the game, and as Starr later said, “It was so cold that neither of us
    talked about it. Nobody wanted to bring it up.”

    The officials were unable to use their whistles after the opening kick-off. As referee Norm Schachter
    blew his metal whistle to signal the start of play, it froze to his
    lips. As he attempted to free the whistle from his lips, the skin ripped
    off and his lips began to bleed. The conditions were so hostile that
    instead of forming a scab, the blood simply froze to his lip. For the
    rest of the game, the officials used voice commands and calls to end
    plays and officiate the game. At one point during the game, CBS
    announcer Frank Gifford said on air, “I’m going to take a bite of my coffee.”[35]

    • Warchild_70

      If this was against the Cowboys the QB at the time was Don Meridith and he once told that his face was freezing up and could barely call the signals. That had to be the most brutal game ever played.

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      • art thiel

        A health hazard, but the field figures to be thawed with heaters.

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    • art thiel

      Thanks for the history lesson. I’m taking it with me to MIN.

  • 1coolguy

    Zero degrees means a rock hard field, ripe for injuries and concussions. Hopefully the players come out ok.
    As to footing, it will be interesting to see whether the running backs are able to do much other than run straight forward. It will be a real advantage for receivers.

    • Sonics79

      That’s what scares me too. Did you happen to walk in your yard last week when it was 27 degrees out? Hard as a rock. I can’t imagine what that field turf will be like after they get the snow off it (they’re removing it now). It’s going to be tough sledding (pun totally intended). I dunno, I suppose they should be experts at this up there, but geez … sure wish we woulda beat the Rams and gone to D.C. instead.

  • Kirkland

    I remember the ’81 AFC title game, when a very good San Diego team had to play in a Cincinnati icebox, and that tilted the balance to the Bengals. History also works against the Seahawks; they’ve never went to the Super Bowl when they didn’t have home field throughout, and they’re just 1-3 when opening the playoffs on the road.

    As for the opposition, weren’t the Vikings missing a lot of defensive starters against the Hawks a few weeks ago? If so, then this one should be a lot closer than that blowout. Optimistic, but not overconfident.

    • Matt Kite

      Agreed. I’m surprised by the overconfidence being displayed by a lot of Seahawks fans. I don’t see anybody hammering Minnesota twice at home. This one will likely be a much tighter game. One funky bounce and the Seahawks could be one and done. Just two weeks ago, we were all aghast after the Rams debacle. That said, I do think this matchup favors Seattle.

  • MacPhisto92

    The cold could equalize the talent somewhat, but seeing that it’s supposed to rain in Washington DC….could you imagine what the rain is going to do with that already horrible turf at FedExField? Talk about equalizing talent…a sloppy track or 0 degrees…I’ll take the cold.

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  • jafabian

    Vikings have the better starting RB but with Lynch back, albeit with limited practice, plus the committee that has been filling in for him, the Hawks might have more depth. Their playoff experience should be the difference. Pretty sure the fire in their belly will keep them warm as they’re out to erase last year’s Super Bowl.

  • Zagfan11

    The cold helps the Vikes for sure. People have been pointing out that Wilson played at Wisconsin but it was for only 1 season I don’t know if he actually played in a cold weather game.

    2 questions Art:

    Doesn’t Teddy Bridgewater always play with 2 gloves and wouldn’t that help him as opposed to Wilson who doesn’t wear gloves normally?

    Does the field have a heating system to keep it from freezing solid? Injury risk is a big concern for both sides if the field is rock hard.

  • MrPrimeMinister

    Thinking russell has played in these conditions before–as a badger.

    • art thiel

      And he’s closer to the ground.

  • coug73

    When you are a Wild Card Team you
    go where you’re told to play. The Hawks understand their situation. Damn the weather, full speed ahead.

    • art thiel

      They made their bed in the first half of the season. Frozen sheets.

  • John M

    Hope the guys don’t go macho and come out in short sleeves. The survivors that don’t freeze to death will probably win. At 0 degrees and wind chill there is a danger of lung frosting. That thing Sherman wears that covers his mouth would be a good precaution. Spent a year in northern WI as a boy, recall walking across a frozen lake to school in 48 below temps. Only your eyes better be visible. No fun at all . . .

    • art thiel

      I’m guessing all short sleeves. Manly men, you know.

  • Mayrock

    The Day the Earth Froze (in Minnesota) ~