Every day since the Packers defeated the Chicago Bears last Sunday to get into the playoffs as the No. 4-seeded team in the NFC, the weather forecast for their home wild-card playoff game has gotten worse.
Immediately after the Packers’ win, the forecast for this Sunday was a high in the upper teens and a low a little below zero. Those numbers have dropped each day, and today the forecast for Sunday is for a high of zero degrees and a low of minus-16.
“Is that worse or better?” quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo joked when asked about the declining forecast. “I’m comfortable with the conditions. We practice in it, we live in it. Feel good about it.”
The Packers always say the colder the better, especially when they’re playing a team such as their opponent this week, the San Francisco 49ers, from a far more temperate climate.
“I moved to New Orleans for a year, and then I lived in California for a year,” said McAdoo of assistant coaching stints with the Saints and 49ers. “You go play in 40 degree weather and it feels like it’s 10 below. You definitely acclimate to weather.
Our guys from the South and from the West Coast feel comfortable in these kind of conditions, as comfortable as you can.”
The truth is, many Packers players don’t like playing in the cold, but they think it gives them an advantage. Defensive lineman Ryan Pickett said that when he played for St. Louis, he and his teammates would dread seeing road games against the teams such as the Packers or Bears on their December schedule.
“We live up here,” Pickett said. “It’s bad, it’s cold, but we practice outside and you get as used to it as you can, even though you get used to it. I don’t mind it.”
Said cornerback Tramon Williams: “I don’t dread it, I’m just glad to see it’s not going to be a drastic change (from the day before), where all of a sudden, ‘Oh god, the weather forecast has changed drastically, it’s going to be negative 30 or whatnot from 30 degree weather.’ I’m glad I know right now.’”
Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers’ coach, has said his team will travel to Green Bay on Friday rather than Saturday, the day teams usually arrive for a Sunday game. He presumably is doing that to acclimate his team to the cold.
But in press conferences with reporters in San Francisco and in a teleconference with reporters in Green Bay, he essentially has refused to comment on the prospects of a team from Northern California playing in the bitter cold this week.
“I’m sure they’ll be ready to play,” Pickett said. “But when you get out in the cold you’re going to feel it, because we’re going to feel it. It slows you down a little.
“You don’t (stay warm), you can’t. You try all you can but you’re not going to stay warm. Your fingers are going to be numb, your toes. You just learn how to deal with it. Accept it, that you’re going to be uncomfortable, and be willing to through it.”