Word from Dallas this week is that the Cowboys are hoping for a colder-the better scenario for Sunday’s playoff-game in Green Bay against the Packers.
Single digits? Bring ‘em on.
Below zero wind chills? Short sleeve weather?
What in the name of a Polar Vortex is going on here?
Running Game Emphasis in Cold Weather
The logic in hoping for more frigid temps? Cold weather games require an effective running game in order to win. This past season, the Cowboys ranked second in the league in rushing. DeMarco Murray is a stud running back and their O-line one of the best in the business.
OK, I get that.
But left unsaid is that the Packers running game ranked 11th overall, got stronger as the season wore on and the bitterly cold weather this week is on their home turf; Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI. Eddie Lacy, James Starks and the highly regarded Packers O-line will have something to say about this outcome as well.
Contention that Rodgers Play in Bitterly Cold is Suspect
Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News points out that recent history has shown a Rodgers vulnerability when it comes to bitterly cold weather.
Gosselin writes, “The legend dating to the Ice Bowl is that the Packers love the cold. The colder the better. Cold is supposed to be a big part of that home-field advantage in the North Country. Turns out that’s a myth. Since the Ice Bowl, the Packers are 5-7 when game-time temperatures have been in single digits. At Lambeau, they are 4-5 during that stretch.”
“He’s (Rodgers) 0-3 in his career on single-digit temperature days, including a home loss in the playoffs to San Francisco last January,” writes Gosselin. “The 49ers prevailed 23-20 in game-time temperatures of 5 degrees with a wind chill of minus-10. In 2008, Rodgers and the Packers lost a pair of home games in minus wind chills to pedestrian Chicago (9-7) and Houston (8-8).”
“Tundra Takeover” planned for Sunday
In an attempt to rally their fair weather fans into supporting the road team, one local Dallas TV station has started a “Tundra Takeover” campaign.
Their plea is for all self-respecting Cowboys fans to buy a ticket and travel to Green Bay for this weekend’s game. Tickets are readily available, though expensive, on the secondary markets. It will be interesting to see how many true blue Cowboys fans heed the call and actually show up.
Curiously, the team is also promoting “Ice Bowl Two” tee shirts. Perhaps they forgot that they lost the first one in 1967 by a 21-17 score?
I suspect that much of the chatter from Dallas this week may well be a case of whistling through the graveyard; outwardly exuding confidence but inwardly worried as hell.
Quarterbacks the Key
Despite the bloviating from North Texas this is going to come down to the quarterbacks. Each will have to throw the ball well, make the reads and execute sound decisions when the chips are on the line. That criteria and history heavily favors NFL MVP front-runner Aaron Rodgers over the sometimes mistake-prone Tony Romo. Dirty Harry vs. Maxwell Smart.
It is also reason to like the Packers chances of victory on Sunday.
The Packers prefer home cooking. Brats, cheese curds and beer over BBQ brisket and red wine.
Sorry Dallas, The Frozen Tundra is Our House!——————
Jeff Albrecht grew up just north of Green Bay and was lucky enough to attend some of the Lombardi Era classic games, like the 1962 championship and the Ice Bowl. Jeff went on to play HS football in the Green Bay area and College ball at UW - Stevens Point. Jeff is retired but still does some writing for his local paper. Jeff is a writer with AllGreenBayPackers.com and you can follow him on twitter at @pointerjeff .