By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Andy Reid definitely didn’t have to hem and haw about the “arctic blast” that’s expected to hit Kansas City on Sunday. But he’s aggressively downplaying the extreme cold in classic “football guy” fashion.
“It will be a little chilly and that’s OK,” Reid deadpanned to reporters on Monday.
The Chiefs head coach is making a hell of an understatement. As of Tuesday there’s an expected high of 11 degrees for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game between the Chiefs and Patriots, and temperatures could fall closer to zero.
“We’re at that time of the year. You go play,” Reid continued, flashing a wry smile. “I don’t think it will be an issue, [and] I didn’t think it was really an issue [on Saturday against the Colts].”
Reid and Bill Belichick both understand that the AFC Championship is really going to come down to who plays better on the field, and not the thermometer readings. But mental toughness should certainly play a role in who executes better in the uncommonly cold elements. Gripping, throwing, catching, and kicking the football is a unique challenge in below-freezing temperatures.
“I think it’s just the focus you [have]- whether you’re throwing the ball, carrying the ball or all of those things – you just have to make sure you focus and take care of it,” said Reid. “Then, you go. We’ve had enough practice – we continue to practice outside where it’s cold. It’s all part of it. You just have to adapt.”
Both teams should have enough experience playing and practicing in the cold that the weather, even arctic in nature, shouldn’t have much of an impact on the outcome of the game. Per Pro Football Reference, Patrick Mahomes’ first career start in Dec. 2017 against the Broncos had a gametime temperature of 17 degrees.
Belichick isn’t even interested in entertaining the idea that the Patriots’ chronic road struggles have any bearing on how they’ll play on Sunday.
“Yeah, I mean, we play half our games on the road, half at home. We’ve been in those situations, both ways, plenty of times as have all of our opponents. It is what it is,” Belichick said during a conference call on Monday. “We’ll deal with the conditions as they come up just like we always do.”
Both teams will have the right mentality entering this game if they fall in line behind their coaches. No one can control the arctic blast that’s going to engulf Arrowhead Stadium (I mean unless you talk to certain people). What they can control is how they prepare and execute on Sunday.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.