Compendium of cold quarterbacking

This seems to be the key factor in overcoming the cold. Denial.

Asked what his coldest games were, Kelly immediately cited two games, against the Los Angeles Raiders in 1988 (the wind chill was minus-14) and at the New York Jets in 1989 (wind chill minus-11).

"You always looked at your schedule at the beginning of the season," Kelly explained. "Who's coming to Buffalo in December? We always hoped it was going to be a dome team or the Miami Dolphins."

Kelly could never bring himself to play with the cumbersome gloves of the 1990s -- he preferred those chemical hand-warmers, tucked away in a pouch wrapped around his waist -- but he always made a critical adjustment in the cold.

"I was one of those guys that loved to grip a football for tight spirals," he said. "But if you really think about it, as the ball gets slicker and slicker, it'll slip out of your hands more often. For me, I always loosened it up a little and tried to follow through a lot more."

A Zen, less-is-more philosophy. Same for clothing. Don't be a hero, Kelly said, by wearing short sleeves. On the other hand, don't dress with too many layers that might restrict the passing action through the shoulders.

Oh, and the most important advice of all:

"It helps to have a good running game," Kelly said. "I was always blessed to have No. 34 behind me, Thurman Thomas. It's crucial when you're playing in frigid temperatures."

Seahawks and Broncos, take note.

Cold = confidence

While Brady has 25 victories in games below freezing, the most of any active quarterback, Roethlisberger is second, with 17. He doesn't like playing in the cold, he said, he's just used to it.

"That's why I have this nice beard," Roethlisberger said, tugging on it, last week at the team's facility in Pittsburgh. "It keeps my face warm for most of the season."

He was dressed in a red T-shirt and gray sweatpants and had the relaxed look of a man just back from a fishing vacation. Let the record show, it was snowing outside.

"I always try and say, 'The other team has to play in the same weather I have to play in," Roethlisberger said. "And maybe they're not used to it, so maybe I have a little advantage."

On cold days, Roethlisberger will wear a glove on his throwing hand. On super-frosty days, he'll wear two.

"It helps you throw a little tighter spiral, spin a little better, cut it through the wind," he said. "I have to constantly remind myself, drive the ball, because you're not going to be able to put too much touch on it.

"If you're not throwing a perfect spiral, it looks real bad."

Playing in Canada in the 1990s, Flutie discovered glass-cutter gloves.

"I have small hands, but it gave me a good grip on the ball," he said. "I loved the cold weather and the wind because, with my athleticism, I felt like it gave me an advantage."

Confidence in the cold: It's a state of mind.

Sunday, after the Broncos touched down in New Jersey, they met the media on a yacht, Cornucopia Majesty, docked at the team's Jersey City hotel. Manning was asked if he feels confident playing in the cold.

"Well, I do," he said. "In my two years [with the Broncos], I think we have seen a lot as far as on-the-field situations -- weather, crowd noise, you name it. So, I do feel comfortable."

So did Kelly, who led the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls in the early '90s. He'll be in attendance Sunday with all of his snow-loving brothers.

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