The Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings have kicked off their wild-card round game with an official temperature of minus-6 degrees.
That makes this tied for the third-coldest kickoff temperature in league history, according to NFL.com. The record, of course, is the famous Ice Bowl game on Dec. 31, 1967, in Green Bay between the Packers and the Dallas Cowboys for the NFL championship when it was minus-13 degrees.
This is the coldest game in Vikings history, even factoring in their 21 seasons outdoors at Metropolitan Stadium. The previous record was minus-2 degrees on Dec. 3, 1972, when the Vikings hosted the Chicago Bears with a wind chill factor of minus-19 degrees.
The wind chill at the start of the game on Sunday was registered at minus-25 degrees.
Previous coldest games in NFL history
- -13 degrees (-48 degree wind chill) - Dec. 31, 1967, Green Bay, Wis., NFL Championship, Cowboys at Packers
- -9 degrees (-59 degree wind chill) - Jan. 10, 1982, Cincinnati, Ohio, Chargers at Bengals
- -6 degrees (-15 wind chill) - Jan. 7, 1995, Kansas City, Mo., Colts at Chiefs
- -5 degrees (-20 wind chill) - Jan. 4, 1981, Cleveland, Ohio, Raiders at Browns
- -4 degrees -25 wind chill) - Jan. 20, 2008, Green Bay, Wis., Giants at Packers
via SB Nation
"To be honest with you, I don't have too much experience with this type of weather. I grew up in Florida. 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," Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin said before the game. "We're going into it with the best mentality that we can, knowing that it's going to be a cold game."
The Seahawks — who said late Friday that star running back Marshawn Lynch has been ruled out while he recovers from abdominal surgery — have never played in temperatures lower than the 16 degrees when they visited Denver in 2006. But given the temperatures, the Seahawks are preparing for a cold most of them have never experienced with no easy way to replicate it other than standing in a storage freezer for an extended period of time.
Seattle opened all the doors to its indoor practice facility and pumped in cold air during the week, but even that was mild compared to what they'll face this weekend.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) January 10, 2016
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And this is not a group that has extensive experience playing in frigid conditions. Under Pete Carroll, the Seahawks have played only two games in temperatures under 25 degrees. Linebacker Bobby Wagner remembered one game in college at Utah State that was so cold and snowy, players wore plastic bags over their feet to keep the moisture from soaking through their cleats and getting their socks wet.
Russell Wilson played his final year of college ball at Wisconsin and had a few chilly practices inside Camp Randall Stadium.
"Once it gets below 20 it's all about the same," Wilson said.
Even with the freezing conditions don't expect to see players deviating from what they've done in the past. Sleeves? Forget about it if you are one that has traditionally not worn them.
When asked why he wouldn't add arm coverings, linebacker Bruce Irvin joked, "I can't look like no punk, man."
And that seemed to be the sentiment throughout the Seattle locker room. Fred Jackson, who spent nine seasons in Buffalo, planned to forgo the sleeves. Rookie wide receiver Kasen Williams played the final regular season college game of his career in 19-degree conditions in kickoff, but still planned to only go with three-quarters sleeves in Minnesota.
Some of the reasoning seems to be psychology of trying to keep the chill from getting in their heads. Some of it — especially for ball carriers — is tactical in wanting to feel the ball against their skin rather than having a layer of material in the way.
Of course, that's assuming they're able to feel their skin in the first place.
"There's nothing you can do to change what minus 2 or zero feels like. You just got to go out there and play in it," Jackson said.
Richard Sherman downplayed the cold because of the advances in technology including massive heaters and heated benches on each sideline. But the idea of trying to tackle Adrian Peterson in such conditions is not an enviable thought for anyone playing defense.
Yet it's the offensive side where most impacts of the cold are likely to be noticeable especially in the passing game and trying to catch a ball that's going to feel like a brick.
"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," Baldwin said.