By Fred Seely
Should the Jacksonville Jaguars be worrying about the cold weather as well as quarterback Brett Favre this Sunday in Green Bay?
“I hope it’s 10 degrees,” says quarterback Byron Leftwich. “That will be fun.”
Adds tight end Joe Zelenka: “Who wants to tell his grandkids they played in Green Bay when it was hot? You want to be able to talk about ‘frozen tundra.’”
And that’s what they’ll get when Sunday’s game kicks off at 4:15 p.m. as the early forecast is 26 degrees at the start with a good chance of snow. It’s a big change for the Jags, who were dropping passes in mid-50’s weather last Sunday in Jacksonville.
Will the chill have an effect?
“I think good football teams win regardless of the circumstance,” said Coach Jack Del Rio. “It doesn’t matter if it’s cold, if it’s a dome, if it’s outside, if it’s inside, if it’s night or day. It really doesn’t matter if it’s out on concrete in the parking lot.
“Now we get the opportunity to go to Lambeau Field and play Green Bay in the frozen tundra and all that. Green Bay ... Brett Favre ... a late game. It ought to be exciting.”
The Jaguars have played only five games when the temperature is 30 degrees or less, winning at Buffalo in 1997. Conversely, the Favre-led Packers are 38-1 at home with it’s 34 or less.
But it could be worse. In fact, for most of the Jaguars, it has been.
“When I was at Georgia Tech, we played a bowl game at Boise, Idaho,” said linebacker Daryl Smith. “Green Bay can’t be worse than that.”
And offensive lineman Ephraim Salaam: “When I was in Denver, we played Indianapolis and it was snowing so hard that you couldn’t see because the snow would blow into your helmet. It was five degrees when the game started. Colder after that.
“But it’s a mindset. You have to get past the initial shock and adjust.
“It only hurts when it’s over.”
“I grew up in Cleveland and we played high school games in 10-20 degree weather,” said tight end Joe Zelenka. “When the wind comes off the lake (Erie,) it’s cold. It can’t be worse in Green Bay.”
He’s even seen worse than that. Zelenka was chosen for an Armed Forces tour in March and spent several days in Thule, Greenland.
“It was minus 60,” he said. “If it’s 25 in Green Bay, that means I’ve been 85 degrees worse.”