Guest post from Stephen Juza of Pro Football History.com
This weekend, Kansas City and Green Bay will host their respective conference championship games. For Kansas City, they will be hosting for the third consecutive year, while Green Bay is hosting for the first time since January, 2008. While Arrowhead Stadium and Lambeau Field are notoriously hostile for opponents, the weather adds an unpredictable element to the game that few teams can properly prepare for.
This weekend, both championship games are expected to be played in less-than-ideal weather conditions. Green Bay is expected to get several inches of snow Sunday morning with freezing temperatures expected throughout the game, while Kansas City has the threat of rain throughout much of the day.
Since 2009, almost 30% of January games experience inclement weather, up from only 6% in the beginning of the NFL season. Traditionally, franchises that play frequently in these conditions fare much better on the road in the playoffs compared to inexperienced franchises. Part of this could be explained by their increased ability to practice in the rain and snow, since some teams may only encounter these conditions during road games.
This weekend’s AFC matchup will pair together two of the most experienced teams in inclement weather games. According to data from NFLWeather.com, between 2009 and 2019, the Chiefs and Bills have played in the third-most and sixth-most inclement weather games of all franchises. Both teams and coaches have the experience necessary to game plan for the rain, so fans should expect it to play less of a factor come game time, should the forecast hold true.
The Buccaneers on the other hand are one of the least experienced franchises in the NFL with inclement weather. Between the beautiful Florida weather, and frequent road games in domed stadiums, the Bucs have yet to play in these conditions this season. In fact, since 2009, only six teams in the league have played fewer inclement weather games than the Bucs. This bodes well for the Packers, who have averaged about five games a season in the cold or rain, most in the NFL during this time period.
The significant difference between the historical data and the current team rests with Tampa Bay’s new quarterback-Tom Brady. Few quarterbacks have played in as many big games in the snow and come out victorious. Playing in New England for 20 seasons has prepared Brady for conditions like those expected in Green Bay on Sunday. If snow does fall in Green Bay, Brady’s experience will be invaluable for the team as they try to pull off the upset against the top-seeded Packers.
The Buccaneers and Packers kick off Sunday first at 1:05(ET), while the Chiefs and Bills kick off at 4:40(ET).
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