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Why the 'frozen tundra' may not be a disadvantage Sunday for Bucs in Green Bay

The sub-freezing temperatures throughout the game will be the coldest game of the Bucs' season.
Credit: AP Photo/Mike Roemer
Event staff look out at a snow-covered Lambeau Field before an NFL football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Green Bay, Wis.

GREEN BAY, Wis. — By Green Bay standards, Sunday’s NFC Championship Game between our Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Green Bay Packers won’t be incredibly cold. But it will be cold. 

Sub-freezing cold. The entire game.

The game will start in the upper 20s and end in the mid 20s. Winds will blow from the "warm" southeast up to 18 mph, producing wind chills as cold as 13-degrees. Oh, and there may be a few snow showers, as well. 

Coming to Tampa from a long career in New England, Tom Brady has played and won in many cold-weather games. However, this will the coldest game the Bucs have played all season. The Packers, of course, embrace the cold and likely see it as an advantage.

But is it an advantage? 

According to USA Today, of the 108 freezing games (32 degrees or less at kickoff) played at Lambeau Field, the Packers are 78-29-2, winning 72 percent of the time. Tampa Bay is 0-8 playing there in freezing temperatures. 

In fact, the Packers have gone 27-9 vs. all warm-weather teams at home in sub-freezing temperatures, good for 75 percent.

But what about playoff games when it matters most? 

USA Today says in freezing playoff games at home, the Packers are 12-5 (71 percent). Keep in mind that the home team typically wins more often than not. Also, if you’re hosting the playoff game, you’re ranked as the better team, so you may have an advantage in talent.

Is this cold weather advantage more of a myth than fact? Maybe. Green Bay's record in home playoff games since 2001 is not all that great. They are just 6-5. Two of those losses came from warm weather teams, the San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons. 

The website CheeseheadTV.com says that in the 2020 regular season just completed, there were eleven games in the months of December and January where a warm weather and/or dome team had to play in an outdoor, cold-weather stadium. The warm weather teams had a record of just 3-8. Of course, some of these losses were simply against better teams.

So what about Tom Brady in the cold? He came to Tampa Bay from New England. This guy knows cold, right? He does. He’s actually a legend in the cold. FanDuel.com says Brady has compiled a 13-2 record in playoff games played in freezing temperatures. He’s even been called the best cold-weather quarterback of all-time. 

CBS Sports says Brady won’t necessarily produce not mind-blowing numbers in a cold game but wins with immaculate efficiency when it comes to scoring and limiting turnovers. He’s had just 18 interceptions in 33 games where the temperature is less than 30 degrees? That's incredible. 

If the Bucs win Sunday in Green Bay, they’ll return home to play in the Super Bowl against the AFC champion on Feb. 7. They’ll be able to practice for the big game in their shorts.

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