KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins were scheduled to play one of the coldest games in NFL history Saturday night, but that didn’t stop hundreds of fans from queue in front of Arrowhead parking lots. Stadium more than 12 hours before kickoff.
At least they made it to the stadium.
“We want our Bills to win,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said at a news conference in suburban Buffalo, “but we don’t want 60,000 to 70,000 people to go to the football match in conditions that promise to be horrible.
Snow wasn’t the problem in Kansas City, although more fell Saturday morning — it was expected to end well before the Chiefs and Dolphins kicked off. Rather, the concern was what the National Weather Service called “dangerously cold” wind chills, which could make the forecast temperature of minus-2 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-18 degrees Celsius) at kickoff feel like minus-24.
There have only been four playoff games played in subzero temperatures in NFL history, the most recent being the 2007 NFC title game between the Giants and Packers, when it was minus- 3 at kickoff. New York won 23-20 at Lambeau Field in a game perhaps best remembered for the images of Giants coach Tom Coughlin’s frozen face on the sideline.
The coldest game in league history remains minus-13 for the 1967 NFL Championship, when the Packers beat the Cowboys at Lambeau Field in a game known as the Ice Bowl. The wind chill that day was -48 degrees.
“We definitely had that initial shock when we looked at the forecast,” said Chiefs season ticket holder Keaton Schlatter, who was flying in from West Des Moines, Iowa, for Saturday night’s game. “We thought maybe we’d put our tickets on sale and if they didn’t sell we’d go for it. But we decided it was all part of the experience and we didn’t want to miss it.
So Schlatter’s group of about 10 planned to be inside Arrowhead Stadium as usual.
“We’ve stockpiled enough winter gear that I’m not too worried,” he said. “We bought a heated vest and socks to combat the cold. I can’t wait to try them. I’ve never used them before.”
The Chiefs plan to install numerous warming stations throughout the stadium and have bent some of their rules to help fans cope with the cold. They are allowed to carry blankets, as long as they don’t have zippers or compartments, and they can use portable chargers to power the type of heated clothing that Schlatter brought to the game.
Fans can also bring cardboard to put under their feet, a helpful tip that Chiefs safety Justin Reid passed along this week.
“Trying to figure out what to wear that will be the hottest has been the worrying part,” said Lauren Bays, a Chiefs fan from Smithville, Missouri. “I’ve been thinking about ways to add warmth all week and found a pair of ski goggles that I plan to wear.”
Not all fans are this diehard. Ticket prices on the secondary market fell throughout the week as fans tried to unload their seats. The price of admission was less than $30 on Saturday, about 10 percent of what it would normally cost.
The weather will almost certainly cool the Dolphins, whose loss to Buffalo last week cost them the opportunity to host a home playoff game this weekend. They trained all week in the Miami heat, and it was 86 degrees Friday when they boarded the plane for Kansas City. It was 10 degrees with a wind chill of -6 when they arrived, a difference of almost 100 degrees.
“You can’t prepare for a game like that in that kind of weather, so it’ll be new,” said Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who grew up in Hawaii and played college football in the relative heat of Alabama.
The coldest game ever played at Arrowhead Stadium was 1 degree at kickoff, held in a game against the Denver Broncos on December 18, 1983 and in a game against the Tennessee Titans on December 18, 2016 .
Almost all forecasts predicted that this record would be broken on Saturday evening.
“Cold is cold. For you, for me, it’s cold,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “But you’re going to do your thing. This is how you’re going to play.
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