Forecasters predict the coldest Super Bowl and a chance of rain or even snow at Sunday’s National Football League title showdown, but players say they don’t fear sub-freezing conditions.
The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks arrived in suburban New York to prepare for Super Bowl 48, the first outdoor cold-weather clash in the NFL Super Bowl era that began in 1967.
“We’re not really concerned,” said Denver safety David Bruton. “We have played numerous cold games.
“I’ve had my share of cold. So I’m just slapping on the Warm Skin (lotion) and Vaseline — something to act as an insulator — and go out there and play. I’ll wear thicker gloves, but that’s about it.”
The coldest Super Bowl was played in four degrees Celsius at New Orleans in 1972, but Sunday’s high is only set to reach three degrees and is likelier to be near the projected low of minus three for the night-time kickoff, with a 30 percent chance of rain or snow.
“It would be fun to play in some snow,” said Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman.
Super Bowls have been typically staged in palm-tree climates such as Miami or San Diego, or in domed stadiums when northern cities such as Indianapolis, Minneapolis or Detroit have hosted.
“You can’t let the weather play a part in executing the game plan,” Bruton said. “We’re just going to have to go out there and execute no matter how cold it is.
“It’s the Super Bowl. It’s going to be rocking. Nobody’s going to really care.”
The Seahawks have tried to stress they will do the same things that put them in the Super Bowl no matter the distractions.
“Our mentality is strong,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “We know how to play in games like this.”
NFL team owners voted in 2010 to have the game played in New York, with one notion being that a successful Big Apple appearance could open doors for future cold weather Super Bowls.
“There are some unique aspects to this and I think that appealed to our membership,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. “Innovation is a big part of our initiative.”
Rocky Mountain chills are common for the Broncos in the winter months.
“We’re definitely weatherproof,” said Broncos tackle Orlando Franklin. “We live in a cold city. We definitely are used to a lot of different things.”
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is confident because the team has played and worked out in the cold for weeks, even though wind and snow could play havoc with Denver’s record-setting precision passing attack.
“We’ve practiced in this and had to play in these types of conditions at different points in the year,” Manning said. “Any time you have a similar situation you can simulate during practice, it’s always a good thing.”
NFL championship games were often played in cold weather before the Super Bowl era and some epic moments ensued.
A frozen field for the 1934 title game in New York prompted the host Giants to don sneakers instead of cleats in the final minutes and they rallied with 27 points to beat Chicago.
A blizzard hit the 1948 final at Philadelphia, when the host Eagles beat the then-Chicago Cardinals 7-0.
To reach Super Bowl 2, the Green Bay Packers beat visiting Dallas in a 1967 game known as the “Ice Bowl” for being played in minus 25 degrees Celcius on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.