Brutal Cold Expected for Kansas City’s Playoff Game

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This weekend is the first round of the N.F.L. playoffs, and because there is a home game in Buffalo, the superlatives are coming out. It will be cold, as low as 9 degrees. The players and fans will be freezing. The game will be a war of attrition played out on the frozen tundra of …

Wait, hold up. Scratch that headline.

While it is true that Buffalo is facing single-digit temperatures for its Sunday night game between the hometown Bills and the Pittsburgh Steelers, another city is expected to have even worse conditions. Worse. Than. Buffalo.

With the caveat that forecasts are not 100 percent accurate four days out, Kansas City, Mo., is in for a rough week. After expected snow Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, the temperature on Saturday evening, when the Kansas City Chiefs will happen to be playing the Miami Dolphins, will be around minus 3 degrees.

Here’s your gratuitous Taylor Swift reference: Fans will have to be “Fearless” to face those conditions. And a brief aside for readers from outside the United States: Minus 3 Fahrenheit is minus 19 Celsius. And the football that is being referred to is not soccer. All right, carry on.

While baseball games can be rained out, football plays on in almost any weather conditions. So those hardy Kansas City souls excited to see their hometown team begin its quest for a second straight Super Bowl will have to bundle up, then bundle up some more.

Players will have to do the same, and will make liberal use of layers of clothing, hand warmers and copious slathering of Vaseline.

At least it will be better at other playoff game sites. Detroit will be in the single-digits Sunday night, but has a domed stadium. Houston (50s on Saturday) and Dallas (30s but dropping later Sunday) have retractable roofs. And Tampa Bay, Fla., will be getting showers on Monday, but temperatures in the 70s.

There have been several games billed as the coldest, snowiest or most miserable in N.F.L. history, but the 1948 championship game in Philadelphia has seniority. A tarpaulin was laid over the field, but so much snow fell on the tarp that players from both teams had to be recruited to haul it off before the game. Minutes later the field was completely covered with new-fallen snow anyway. The snow obscured the yard markers, making first down decisions merely guesswork. In the end, the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Chicago Cardinals, 7-0, to win their first championship.

The New York Times suggested the game should have been postponed but quickly added, “don’t say that in the presence of any faithful Philadelphia followers. Wet, cold and uncomfortable though they might have been, they were happy.”

Kansas City fans will hope to feel the same after Saturday.



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