The Cold Hard Facts of Bad-Weather Football

The weather forecast for Green Bay on Sunday: a high of 11 degrees. For Foxborough: a high of 16. In other words, baby, it's gonna be cold outside for this weekend's conference championship games. To get you prepared, here are answers to 10 hot ... er, whatever ... topics about frozen football.

1. Why is a quarterback who grew up in Mississippi now the most-famous cold-weather QB of all time?

It really is hard to explain how a man who spent more than half his life in the South can have a 43-5 record at home when the temperature dips below 34 degrees at kickoff. But Packers quarterback Brett Favre, if you haven't noticed by now, is a unique individual. He's also a great player. And great players can produce under any conditions.

"Brett is a mentally tough individual, so that plays a big part in his success [in the cold]," said Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who served as Favre's quarterbacks coach in Green Bay in 1996. "He also has huge hands and a really strong arm. So you know he's not going to have problems holding onto the football and he's going to get it where it has to go regardless of the conditions.

"I've seen a lot of guys who can't throw once the temperatures drop or the wind picks up. He's not one of those players."

Mornhinweg added that the tougher adjustment is on the receivers who have to catch Favre's passes. The velocity on the quarterback's passes can be so great that it can feel like bricks are flying through the air when it's cold.

But one thing that doesn't change in frigid weather is Favre's preparation. He's never been known to do anything different when a cold-weather game is on the schedule and he probably won't start with this weekend's NFC Championship Game against the Giants.

"Whether it's hot, cold, rainy or windy," Mornhinweg said, "Brett has no problems playing football." -- Jeffri Chadiha

2. How does a warm-weather team prepare for cold weather?

When former Atlanta head coach Dan Reeves led the Falcons to a 27-7 NFC wild-card win over Green Bay in 2002 -- the Packers' first home playoff loss at Lambeau Field -- he didn't change a thing.

"Everybody says you have to prepare for [the cold] but concentration is the most important thing," Reeves said. "You have to worry about getting your job done and then you see how much the elements affect the guy across from you. When it comes to weather, you adjust to it as the game goes on. You can't go into a game expecting it to be a certain way because things can change."

Reeves added that technology has improved to the point that players are more capable of dealing with the cold these days. Most players will wear insulated tights under their uniforms and will keep chemical-warming devices inside their gloves and socks.

Former NFL running back Eddie George was with the Titans when they played at New England in a Saturday night playoff game in the 2003 season. The game-time temperature was 4 degrees and the wind-chill factor was minus-10.

George placed foot warmers in his shoes and hand warmers in a pouch that was attached to his waist. He also wore thicker socks than normal.

"You can't go out there thinking that you are going to be able to beat the elements," George said. "... The key is to keep your extremities warm; then you are fine. But for the most part, you need to treat it like it is a normal football game."

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