The Seattle Seahawks have never played in temperatures as cold as those that await them Sunday in Minnesota.
Yet before departing for the land of 10,000 mostly frozen lakes, some Seahawks reacted as they would for a summer day in Sequim, promising short sleeves, and no gloves, thanks.
“No sleeves,” said running back Fred Jackson, who knows something about the cold from his nine seasons in Buffalo. “I never wear sleeves. Can’t wear sleeves. It can be minus 30 out there, I won’t have sleeves.”
Linebackers Bobby Wagner and Bruce Irvin said the same. Rookie receiver Kasen Williams said he’d consider three-quarter-length sleeves, but no more.
Quarterback Russell Wilson — who played his final college season at Wisconsin — said he’ll use a hand warmer between plays, but doesn’t plan to play with a glove.
“I don’t really think that I need it,” he said. “I think also, when it comes to throwing, you want to be comfortable. You want to do what you always do. For me, that’s what I’ve always done: Just throw with my bare hand.”
All that despite forecasts calling for a game-time temperature around zero. That would be 16 degrees below the Seahawks’ record, endured in their 2006 visit to Denver.
“It’s not as bad as it used to be,” cornerback Richard Sherman said. “You’ve got heaters, heated seats. You play for 20 minutes, you get off the field, you play for 20 minutes, you get off the field. It’s not a huge deal.”
Despite the Norse imagery and Upper Midwest geography, this kind of cold could be a new experience for the Vikings, too. After all, this is a franchise that played inside the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome from 1982 through 2013. Playing at Metropolitan Stadium before that and the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium since, the Vikings’ coldest home-game temperature was minus 2 in 1972 against Chicago. Their coldest playoff game was 9 degrees in 1970, also against the Bears.
“I think that could affect the game just as far as making the ball a little slicker, and things like that,” Minnesota safety Harrison Smith said. “Being a defensive guy, it’s not quite as bad: Just got to deal with the cold. But that’s on both teams. So to me, being the Vikings, we should be quite excited about playing outside in the cold.”
League-wide only nine games have been played in temperatures of zero or below. The coldest game in NFL history was the “Ice Bowl,” the 1967 NFL title game when Green Bay beat Dallas at Lambeau Field in a temperature of minus 13 and wind chill of minus 48.
“Cold is cold,” Jackson said. “It’s one of those things that after you’re out there, you’re just playing football. You tend to forget about what the weather feels like when you’re out there and you’re getting tackled by 300-pound guys. The weather goes to the back of the mind. Once you start playing football, you play football.”