Local Coach, Players Reflect On Cold Weather Games

Vikings vs. Seahawks Game Could Be One Of Coldest In Team, NFL History

The high temperature for Sunday’s Wild Card Game game between the Vikings and Seahawks at TCF Bank Stadium is forecasted to be close to zero degrees. If that’s the case, it would be the coldest home playoff game in Vikings history and one of the coldest in NFL history.

It may not have been zero degrees out, but some players at the University of Sioux Falls say they can recall playing in some pretty cold games. After years of handling the pigskin in freezing temperatures, even coaches have strategies to staying warm.

“I think the memorable one is the semi-final, my very first year here against MidAmerica Nazarene,” said USF Head Football Coach Jed Stugart.

USF won an NAIA Title in 2010, but before getting there, they had to endure one of their coldest games in recent history. On Dec. 4, the team took the field in a cool 21 degrees. With 20 miles per hour winds, it felt even colder.

Stugart said, “It was probably in the 10-15 below wind chill factor, no snow but it was just that cold.”

The Coo won the game, but Coach Jed Stugart says it wasn’t exactly fun.

“I don’t think anybody looks forward to really cold games. You’re hitting your fingers on helmets, you’re hitting each other. We even had a coach that started his coat on fire standing in front of a heater,” said Stugart.

In the last six years, there’s only one snow game he can remember… against Wayne State in 2014.

“We’d have guys shoveling the field off during the game,” said USF Quarterback Luke Papilion.

It felt like 11 degrees, but Luke Papilion and Brady Rose say it’s the most fun they’ve had in a game.

“It kind of brings you back to your childhood days, playing around in the snow throwing the football around, trying to make crazy catches,” said Rose, a USF Wide Receiver.

But the quarterback and wide receiver have different philosophies when it comes to what to wear.

Papilion said, “… A half-sleeve shirt or a long sleeve shirt depending on the weather and some tights or something like that.”

Rose said, “I personally don’t like anything because the ball gets slippery.”

And cold. If you sweat, wearing clothes sometimes makes it worse. But both say keeping your hands warm is most important as well as your attitude.

Papilion said, “You’re going to go in with a bad mind set and the cold’s going to affect you and you’re not going to have a good game or are you going to be able to overcome the adversity.”

Dr. Thayne Munce at the Sanford Sports Science Institute says playing in cold temperatures can cause hands and feet to become weak and lose sensation. However, once a football player himself at Augustana, he believes playing in extreme heat is even worse.

Munce said, “You can use clothing to your advantage and you can use other methods to warm up your body and while you’re excising your body, it produces heat, so that counters the effect of the cold, whereas when you’re excising in the heat, the harder you go and the longer you go the more difficult it is for your body to perform in those environments.”

Free hand warmers will be handed out at Sunday’s game, as well as coffee. While officials are asking people to bring blankets, they’re encouraging fans to bring Styrofoam, cardboard or newspapers to put under their feet, a tactic that has worked at other outdoor facilities in the past.

There have been only nine games in NFL history where the high temperature didn’t get above zero.

You can catch Sunday’s Vikings game against the Seahawks at noon right here on KDLT.