I’ve got to get something off my chest (which is the main reason why I started writing this blog–my wife doesn’t give two shits about my sports opinions…not that you do either, but I digress).
It was really cold in Green Bay last night. That much was obvious. It was also really cold in New England. That was also obvious. As a result, you heard sportscasters all week wondering how much of a home field advantage the weather would create for the Packers and the Patriots. The pundits are assuming that because Packers and Patriots players play half their games in cold weather cities, they are more used to the cold weather. I have never understood this idea.
The media would have you believe that Brett Favre grew up racing Alaskan snow dogs (with Cuba Gooding, Jr.) and spreading salt on icy roads. In reality, he was raised in relatively balmy Kiln, MS, where the temperature is expected to reach the upper 50s today (yep, I looked it up). Believe it or not, Donald Driver was not born in an igloo–rather, he was born and raised in Houston, TX. Tom Brady is California-bred. Nothing says “winter parka” like those famously frigid California winters, huh? Same goes for Tedy Bruschi (San Fran).
On the other hand, Chris Chambers, of the warm-weather Chargers, grew up in Cleveland, OH. Call me crazy, but I think it gets cold there. Chambers’ teammate, Shawne Merriman, was born and bred in Washington, DC. Now, DC isn’t exactly Alaska, but it ain’t Miami either. I could go on and on…but hopefully you’ve gotten the point by now. Cold weather does not provide an advantage for the home team for a multitude of reasons:
- Most players didn’t grow up in the city of the team they currently play for.
- Many players, in this age of frequent player movement, haven’t played for their team that long–certainly not long enough to become 100% accustomed to colder weather. So if a guy is traded from Miami, for instance, to Green Bay, he doesn’t immediately become comfortable in freezing weather.
- Many players don’t live in the city of the team they currently play for. Do you really think Green Bay is a destination for the rich and famous?? See: Brett Favre.
- Both teams have to face the same weather. The home team’s half of the field isn’t any warmer than the visitor’s.
This has proved itself out over and over again, and that was the case in yesterday’s games. Favre looked awful. He looked like he was 38 years old and freezing cold, as opposed to the 28-year-old-Favre he’s resembled for the majority of this season. Eli Manning looked great, and continued a stretch of games that is making people forget about his older brother. Plaxico Burress looked outstanding–one of the best games of his career. The man opposite him all night, Al Harris? Not so good. Brandon Jacobs was a force, while Ryan Grant was invisible.
“But wait,” you say. “I thought that Favre, Harris and Grant were Eskimos, while Manning, Burress and Jacobs were beach bums!! At least that’s what the media told me to believe!!” True. You were told to believe this. But this is the same media that used to talk about how Brett Favre had never lost a game below 40 degrees. But when he and the Packers lost to the Buccaneers and the temp was 35 degrees, all of a sudden the stat was changed to “Brett Favre has never lost a game below 35 degrees.” The Packers then lost to the Falcons in that below-freezing playoff game in 2002, and I’m surprised I didn’t then hear the stat “Brett Favre has never lost a game below 31 degrees during the regular season.”
The point about Brett Favre being slurped by the media has been run into the ground, so I won’t address that here. Let’s stick to the task at hand. PLEASE, for the love of God, stop believing that cold-weather home teams have any kind of advantage. They don’t. It’s clear. For you gamblers out there, your empty wallets after last night’s Packers/Giants game should be evidence enough.