When Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers spoke of his desire to host the NFC Championship game at Lambeau Field, weather was a component of his wish. Including the playoffs, the Packers are 8-1 at home this season and are allowing just over 19 points per game on average.
Having already ended the season of one warm weather team in the Los Angeles Rams, the Packers are hopeful for a duplicate effort against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Sunday’s NFC Championship game.
“When you come to Lambeau, you play a different brand of football,” says Packers wide receiver Davante Adams. “It takes you out of your element as far as the way you talk. they way you play. You get rattled, man. It’s tougher to communicate.”
Despite being conference rivals since 1977 and division rivals for 25 years, the Packers and Buccaneers have only met one time in the playoffs. The Packers earned a 21-7 win in the divisional round in January of 1998.
But home playoff results against warm-weather are mixed.
In 2014, the San Francisco 49ers ran over the Packers in the wild card round of the playoffs winning 23-20. San Francisco rushed for 167 yards in that game. Rodgers was limited to just 177 yards passing. The temperature at kickoff was 5 degrees, with a wind chill of minus-10.
In January of 2003, it was the Atlanta Falcons who looked right at home defeating the Packers 27-7 on a snowy night at Lambeau.
Historically, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are terrible when the temperature at game-time is below 32 degrees. Sunday’s forecast calls for highs in the 20’s with a chance of flurries.
While not every member of the team is conditioned to play in sub-freezing temperatures, Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is no stranger to the elements given his near-two-decade stint with the New England Patriots.
“It’s chilly man,” Brady tells reporters following Sunday’s divisional round playoff win over the New Orleans Saints. “That’s January football in the northeast or midwest. We’ll be prepared. We’re gonna have to go out there and play well. We’ll be challenged. It’s going to be a great game.”
Is the weather advantage a true advantage, or just a way for the Packers to win the psychological battle during the week?
ESPN’s Jen Lada explains her thoughts on Wisconsin’s Afternoon News.