The most important part of the NFL season happens to coincide with the coldest months on the calendar. Since the NFL is about one thing and one thing only—performance—players have to find a way to overcome the weather and be productive no matter what mother nature throws at them. If you can’t stand up to the elements in December and January, your Super Bowl hopes don’t stand a chance.
Former NFL defensive lineman Anthony “Spice” Adams knows all about football in frigid conditions. Adams played for the Chicago Bears from 2007 to 2011, enduring the extreme cold of venues like Lambeau Field and Soldier Field. Adams recently spoke about those experiences for Nike’s #GetOutHere campaign, an initiative that encourages athletes to get outside during the winter months.
“Nobody cares that it’s snowing out, nobody cares that it’s 20 below, they just want you to perform. So you have to block out everything and go out and do what you’re supposed to do,” Adams said. “[We’d] always be out there with no sleeves on, especially if we were playing a team like Atlanta or Miami. You want to let them know that the elements might change, but we’re not going to.”
Adams specifically cited two games during his career as particularly bone-chilling.
One was a Dec. 22, 2008 overtime win against the Packers. The announced temperature at Soldier Field that night was 2 degrees, making it the coldest home game in Bears’ history. The wind chill pushed temperature well below zero.
“I was talking to teammates on the sideline and they’re like, ‘man, you got snot frozen in your mustache!’ And I’m looking at them like, ‘you got snot in your mustache, too!’ Everyone had frozen snot on their faces. If you tried to drink some water and spit it out, it was basically frozen by the time it hit the ground,” Adams said. “And everything hurt. It hurt just to touch your arm.”
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The other game was a Dec. 2, 2007 battle against the New York Giants. Rain and a wind chill that sunk temperatures into the 20s made the game a sloppy, unpleasant affair—even before Adams tore his triceps in the first quarter. “I tore my triceps and didn’t even know it. It was so cold I thought it just might be sore. I went to get in my stance and I couldn’t even put pressure on it. So I just got into a left-handed stance,” Adams said. “I did that in the first half and I played the entire game with a torn triceps.” He finished with four tackles, a fumble recovery, a half sack and one nasty scar.
With some huge games scheduled to be played in less-than-tropical conditions down the stretch, we’ll see who can dominate the cold and who winds up frozen out of contention.
Stay tuned to STACK for more information about Nike’s #GetOutHere campaign in the coming days.