Compendium of cold quarterbacking

Last year, Manning first wore one in Week 16 against the Browns – and threw three touchdown passes, including lasers to Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. He tried it again the next week in a win over the Chiefs. The Broncos outscored their opposition 72-15 in those games, and the glove seemed to take the wobble out of Manning's spiral.

He has worn at least one glove in 10 of his games with the Broncos but insists that the move was less predicated on the weather than the goal of achieving a better grip after undergoing neck surgery. Denver is 8-2 in those games, including the two playoff contests that delivered them to the Super Bowl, and Manning's passer rating is a lofty 111.9.

In Week 14, part of the pregame discussion concerned Manning's 3-7 career record in games when the temperature was 32 degrees or below at kickoff. It was 18 degrees at Mile High, and maybe it was a coincidence, but Manning threw for 397 yards and four touchdowns in Denver's blowout victory over the Titans. Maybe not.

"Whoever wrote that narrative," Manning said afterward, "can shove it where the sun don't shine."

Grammar aside, it was a nice moment for Manning, who set a franchise record with 39 completions and tied another with 59 attempts.

"I wasn't trying to answer [the critics] because I didn't give it any validation in the first place," Manning told reporters.

Who wants to play?

When the Cincinnati Bengals hosted the San Diego Chargers in the AFC Championship Game after the 1981 season, they had a powerful home advantage. The temperature at Riverfront Stadium was a bone-chilling minus-9. The wind chill was minus-59 -- the lowest ever recorded for an NFL game.

Ken Anderson, the Bengals' quarterback, had played in cold games before, but this one was different.

"When you woke up Sunday morning and walked outside, it kind of hits you in the face," he told ESPN recently in an interview in Hilton Head, S.C. "You say, 'Oh my gosh, what are we in for today?' Fifty-nine below zero is something you certainly didn't expect."

Bengals head coach Forrest Gregg was not fazed in the least, for he had played with the Packers in the Ice Bowl as an offensive tackle in front of Starr.

"Guys, this is going to be a lot like going to the dentist," he told his team. "You know it's going to hurt but you've got to go anyway. I want to find out not only what guys on their team don't want to play, but what guys on our team don't want to play because of the conditions."

As it turned out, the California team wasn't particularly keen on playing. The Bengals won 27-7 and Anderson, who would go on to win the NFL's Most Valuable Player and Comeback Player of the Year awards, completed 14 of 22 passes, two for touchdowns.

"The first time you get a chance to go to a Super Bowl in franchise history was really, really big for us," Anderson said. "The opportunity to play that game at home was something special."

If Super Bowl XVI had been played outside in the Cincinnati weather, the Bengals might have beaten the San Francisco 49ers. Indeed, it was the first Super Bowl played in a northern city. While Detroit was visited that week by cold and snow, the game was played at a toasty 72 degrees inside the Pontiac Silverdome.

Less is more

It was snowing in Williamsville, N.Y., when the television crew arrived at Kelly's office earlier this month.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...