One way to weather storm: Talk about cold

Candus Thomson's Ravens 101

January 15, 2009|By CANDUS THOMSON

Of all the cliches a new Ravens fan might be forced to fall back on, perhaps the most reliable is, "The weather could be a factor in the outcome."

Unless you're Washington crossing the Delaware or the game is in a domed stadium - and this one isn't - it's a pretty safe bet that no one will challenge you. It's so bankable that you can be sure one of the TV gas bags will use it before Sunday's kickoff.

So what about the weather?

A football in frigid temperatures acquires the aerodynamic properties of a Belgium block. Feet slip on rock-hard turf. Wind turns passes and kicks into knuckleballs, wide receivers into pretzels and coaches into basket cases.

The Elias Sports Bureau says that since the 2000 season, Pittsburgh's lowest average temperature for a home game this time of the year is 36.1 degrees. That's a tick colder than New England and 10 degrees lower than Green Bay, where the infamous "Ice Bowl, the coldest game on record (minus 13 degrees with a wind chill of minus 48 degrees), was played in 1967. Those conditions are hardly in the same class as in the AFC title game in January 1976, when, with the wind chill in double digits, the Steelers beat Oakland, 16-10.

That's not likely to be the case Sunday at Heinz Field. Professional weather guessers are predicting snow flurries and temperatures in the 20s, with winds west-northwest at 8 mph setting up a wind chill of 16 degrees. Practically springtime.

Tomorrow, we'll explain why Lamar Hunt matters.

As a public service, we continue our crash course in Ravensology that can easily be transferred to flash cards for memorization.

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