Seahawks say they’re ready for frigid weather in Minneapolis

Jan 8, 2016, 8:27 AM | Updated: 11:30 am
Sunday’s game between the Seahawks and Vikings could be one of the coldest in NFL history. (A...
Sunday's game between the Seahawks and Vikings could be one of the coldest in NFL history. (AP)

RENTON – Asked about how the Seahawks are preparing this week for the bone-chilling weather that awaits them, cornerback Richard Sherman noted the difficulty in trying to do so.

“There’s no simulating zero degrees,” he said Thursday. “I guess I could go in the freezer upstairs and close the door, sit there for a few minutes.”

That might be the only way to get an accurate feel for just how cold it’s expected to be in Minneapolis, where the temperature for Sunday’s wild-card game against the Vikings at outdoor TCF Bank Stadium is indeed forecast to be around or maybe even below zero. That would make it one of the coldest ever played in the NFL.

And it will feel even colder for the players than the forecasted temperature considering the wind-chill factor.

How will that affect the Seahawks? Most did their best to downplay it.

“Cold is cold,” said running back Fred Jackson, who might be the team’s foremost expert on the subject after playing for almost a decade in Buffalo. “It’s one of those things that once you get out there, you’re playing football, you tend to forget about what the weather feels like. You’re getting tackled by 300-pound guys, the weather kinda goes to the back of your mind.”

Said coach Pete Carroll: “We’re well aware of what we’re going towards and heading towards, and everybody’s prepared. It’s not going to be an issue for us going forward.”

Coldest Seahawks games since 1991
Date Road team Home team Result Temp
12/3/06 SEA DEN SEA 23-20 16
12/27/09 SEA GB GB 48-10 18
1/4/04 SEA GB GB 33-27 20
11/16/14 SEA KC KC 24-20 21
12/10/00 SEA DEN DEN 31-24 22
1/16/11 SEA CHI CHI 35-24 24
12/6/92 SEA PIT PIT 20-14 26
12/19/99 SEA DEN DEN 36-30 27
12/24/95 SEA KC KC
12/5/05 SEA PHI SEA 42-0 31
1/12/08 SEA GB GB 42-20 31
12/21/08 NYJ SEA SEA 13-3 31
Source: STATS via Tim Booth of the AP

The team practiced Wednesday and Thursday inside, opening the doors to drop the temperature a bit in what’s already a typically cold facility. Players have been practicing in the cold-weather gear they plan on wearing Sunday, though some will brave the elements without it. Linebacker Bruce Irvin has worn a thermal hood under his helmet in the past. But he hasn’t worn long sleeves and won’t on Sunday.

“I can’t look like no punk, man. Everybody who wears sleeves, I’m gonna let ’em have it,” he said before turning to teammate Cliff Avril. “You ain’t wearing sleeves, Cliff.”

Same for Jackson, who said “it could be minus-30 out there” and he wouldn’t wear sleeves.

The coldest game in NFL history was the 1967 championship between the Packers and Cowboys in Green Bay, Wisc., better known as “The Ice Bowl.” The temperature was minus-13 degrees with a wind-chill of minus-48.

The temperature was 37 degrees when the Seahawks and Vikings played in Minneapolis in December. As of Friday, predicts it will be 1 degree when the game kicks off at 12:05 p.m. Central Time, with a feel of minus-17 factoring in the wind-chill.

Maybe Sherman was onto something.

Carroll noted that the ball doesn’t tend to carry as far when kicked, which could impact decisions on longer field-goal attempts and also lead to more returnable kickoffs. What’s most affected by the extreme cold, he said, is that handling the football becomes precarious, whether it’s throwing it, catching it, handing it off or hanging onto it through contact.

Quarterback Russell Wilson will play with a hand-warming pouch wrapped around his waist, which he’ll use between plays. He noted that the size of his hands – which are bigger than those of most people his height – will help his grip on the ball. Wilson is also no stranger to winters in the Upper Midwest, having played his final college season at Wisconsin. The team practiced outdoors at night.

“So you get used to the cold,” he said. “It shouldn’t be a big deal at all.”

Not everyone is used to it, though. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who grew up in Florida then played at Stanford, said he doesn’t have much experience in extremely cold weather.

“I don’t really know if there’s a way to prepare for it, other than just being aware that it’s going to be difficult,” he said. “We’re going into it with the best mentality that we can, knowing that it’s going to be a cold game. We’ll see what happens. Unfortunately, that’s something that we can’t control, but we’ve always dealt well with the things we can’t control.”

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Seahawks say they’re ready for frigid weather in Minneapolis