Tom Brady was more than happy to trade the bitterly cold winters of New England for Tampa Bay’s year-round sunshine.
But the 43-year-old quarterback’s quest for a seventh Super Bowl title will include a postseason staple from his Patriots days: a frigid, potentially snow-covered conference championship game.
The current forecast for that game: high of 28 degrees, low of 23 degrees, 40 percent chance of snow. True playoff football weather.
That’s obviously nothing new for Brady.
During his 20-year Patriots tenure, Brady played 29 games in sub-30-degree temperatures and won 25 of them, according to Pro Football Reference. When facing those conditions in the playoffs, he’s 13-1, including AFC Championship victories in 2004 (at Pittsburgh), 2007 (vs. San Diego) and 2018 (at Kansas City). His lone defeat: the blowout loss to Baltimore in the 2009 wild-card round.
Brady’s opponent, Rodgers, also is no stranger to this type of weather, having played his entire career in one of the NFL’s coldest markets. The Packers QB is 21-5 in starts with a kickoff temperature in the 20s or below, including a regular-season win over Brady at Lambeau in 2014. That record includes a 5-1 mark in the postseason, with the one loss coming to Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers in the 2013 divisional round.
The Buccaneers franchise, meanwhile, hasn’t played in temperatures below 30 degrees since its last appearance in the NFC Championship — a 27-10 road win over the Philadelphia Eagles in January 2003. Tampa Bay is 1-11 all-time in such conditions. But head coach Bruce Arians downplayed their impact.
?Every time I played in Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Buffalo, nobody was cold out on the field,” Arians said Monday in a video conference. “It?s more mental. And staying warm on the sideline, we?ve got all that technology now with heaters and everything else. It?s different, but it?s not that big a difference.?
Brady, who earlier this season said he’s never moving back to the chilly Northeast, sometimes combated the brutal Foxboro cold by wearing a scuba suit underneath his Patriots pads. Even after playing most of his 21st NFL season in and around Florida, he said he’ll be ready for this latest winter outing.
“Just got to have some mental toughness and wear some warm clothes and be ready to go,” Brady said after Sunday’s divisional-round win over the New Orleans Saints. “It?s chilly, man. That?s January football in the Northeast, Midwest. We?ll be prepared.”