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All week, we heard the horror warnings: Sunday in Green Bay was gonna be -50 degrees with the wind chill. Frostbite in seconds. Beer freezing in your cup. It would practically be the second coming of the ice age, and even the typically-bonkers Packers fans were preferring to stay the hell away.
Well, that all sounded fine to me. Having inhaled the classic Packers books Instant Replay and When Pride Still Mattered (both unforgivably absent from our list of great football reads), I've long been of the opinion that Ice Bowl-esque conditions are to be embraced, not avoided. So, too, are home playoff games, regardless of the conditions. That's why I booked my (refundable) room at a hotel near Lambeau back before week 8: Because I knew that if the Packers made the postseason (it seemed more certain before week 8 than during the rest of the season), there was no way I was missing it.
Then chatter started swirling about the slight chill expected in Green Bay. Friends and family alike would comment, "Good luck Ryan" with eyes rolling as the media scare tactics intensified. Throughout the week, I responded in the same way: "I promise you, it's not gonna be that bad." I'm not saying meteorologists flat-out make stuff up, but I am saying that they're perhaps prone to a touch of exaggeration. Time and again, their warnings for WORST WEATHER EVER are eaten up as gospel by headline-hunting media outlets only for the WORST WEATHER EVER to fail to live up to its billing.
Don't get me wrong: Yesterday was cold. As Kyle Cousineau detailed in MMQB this morning, there were points in the game where the guy in front of him wearing a thermometer around his neck reported temperatures of -15 degrees. My neighbor's beer did freeze. That may sound cold—and again, it is—but it's also not tremendously atypical for a January night in Green Bay, where the average low is seven degrees. People who live in Wisconsin (I don't currently, but have in the past) regularly go ice-fishing, hunting, and snowmobiling in elements similar to yesterday's.
The key? Layers. Cartoonish stacks of clothing may seem comical to anyone whose response to cold weather is to forsake enjoyable outdoor activities in favor of an afternoon hiding indoors, but for the rest of us it's just part of the drill. I wore two pairs of socks, boots, pajama pants, jeans, sweatpants, a hoodie, two winter coats (including a puffy 90's Starter jacket), an Aaron Rodgers jersey, and a cheesehead top-hat. My core was comfortable, and I never needed to unwrap the blanket I brought. As a bonus, due to the roller-coaster nature of the game we spent a lot of time moving around on our feet. It wasn't appreciably worse for me than last week's game at Soldier Field, which reached a -10 degree wind chill.
My toes did admittedly get cold because my boots suck, but that's my own fault—and it was easily remedied by the toe warmers I knew to bring, because, again: This is standard operating procedure. If you're a fan of a Great Lakes Region football team, you learn how to cope with the cold. Or maybe we're just tougher. Whatever the case, the pain of Colin Kaepernick's unabated ability to run left for dozens of yards at will was far worse than any discomfort I felt from the weather.
If you follow hundreds of people on Twitter, Ryan Glasspiegel should probably be one of them.