Entering the week, the forecasts for the AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs projected a chilly game — one that might have the potential of reaching sub-zero temperatures to set new franchise records for both clubs. With three days to go until the highly anticipated meeting between the conference’s top two seeds, however, it appears as if the outlook has changed quite a bit.
It now looks as if there will be no “Arctic Blast” that has been talked about just a few days ago. The game at Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium — which will be kicked off at 5:40 p.m. local time — is now projected to be played at between 27°F and 18°F, depending on the outlet. A noticeable difference to the 10°F and -5°F temperature range that was seen as a possibility just a few days ago.
The Weather Channel, for example, has a rather moderate outlook when it comes to game time temperature and is going with a range of 27°F to 22°F for Sunday’. Meanwhile, Accuweather sees the thermometer to reach somewhere between 24°F and 19°F and the National Weather Service goes with a high around the 24°F mark and a low of circa 18°F. Still cold, no doubt about, but not quite as it was projected to be earlier this week.
The Patriots have played eleven games that had a kickoff temperature of 20°F or below over their franchise’s 59-year history, and there is still a change that a twelfth gets added on Sunday. But whatever the temperature, New England head coach Bill Belichick will not be worried about it — at least publicly as this excerpt from his Wednesday press conference illustrates:
Q: The forecast for Sunday is for temperatures in the single digits and wind chill below zero. How does that impact preparations for the game?
BB: Yeah, we’re going to get ready for the Chiefs. Whatever it is, it is.
Q: Do you mind playing in severe cold?
BB: Love to play in a championship game. Schedule it wherever you want. We’ll be there.
Q: Does it change the play calling? Does it make it harder to throw?
BB: I don’t know. It’s Wednesday. We’ll see what happens Sunday night. Right now, we’re getting ready for the Chiefs.
Safe to say that the weather is rather low on the Patriots’ list of worries at this point during the week.