As we creep closer to the NFL Playoffs, temperatures are plummeting around America. At this time of year, weather conditions can be a tougher opponent than the guys on the other side of the line of scrimmage.
That was exactly the case during Sunday’s tilt between the Tennessee Titans and the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. The official temperature at kickoff was 1 degree, which tied the record for the coldest game in Arrowhead history. The wind chill made it feel like -9 degrees.
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The brutal cold stifled both teams’ offensive attacks. With seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs held a 17-16 advantage, and Titans kicker Ryan Succop was called on to attempt a game-winning 53-yard field goal. That’s a challenging task in tropical weather. But when you’re dealing with sub-zero temperatures? I imagine it’s like trying to kick a frozen turkey 50+ yards.
Succop did indeed come up short on his first attempt:
However, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid had decided to “ice” Succop by calling a timeout just before the kick. That plan backfired when Succop crushed his second attempt through the uprights to give the Titans a win as time expired:
Succop’s career-long FG is 54 yards. So how the heck did he nail this kick? Succop himself wasn’t quite sure.
Succop told The MMQB that he couldn’t envision himself making the kick. He said, “[I thought] if I had 10 kicks from here, I don’t think I could make one. Not on a day like this.”
Succop also said he decided to abandon technique after seeing his first attempt come up short: “I knew after that first kick that I just had to throw technique out the window. I just had to kick that thing as hard as I could, regardless of the right technique. I was kicking a frozen football in the worst conditions you could imagine.”
The kick was so improbable that Succop believed it was the product of divine intervention. “[It was the] kick of a lifetime,” he said. “I was crying like a baby after this one. I could not do this. No question in my mind it was the Lord’s will. That’s the one explanation for it.”
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