You’re a Miami Dolphins football player. You left Miami yesterday where temperatures were in the 70s. Tonight you’ll be playing a game in Kansas City where temperatures will be below zero with a wind chill factor of -23 and winds blowing at 35 miles per hour.
I think about these Dolphins players right now, in their hotels feeling apprehensive and worried probably, and wonder what they’re thinking. This isn’t just an important playoff game against a good team. It’s a test of your courage to just be outside in this psychologically and physically brutal weather. Can you overcome the cold to execute the plays? Will you be able to concentrate? How awful are you going to feel? How bad do you want to win?
When you get on the field and start feeling the pain of utter freeze will you start thinking that more than anything else you just want to get inside and you would rather do that than actually have to play the game? I bet this has crossed their minds. Will forfeiting and ending your season be your preference for being outside tonight?
I don’t normally get too into football games anymore from a pure X and O standpoint. Maybe the hundreds of games I’ve seen have made all of it just too repetitive. The drama isn’t there.
But tonight I’m going to be dialed in because this is more than a playoff football game. It’s a test of peoples’ toughness just to be outside and suffer through the pain, burning sensations, shivers, and fear. It may feel like torture.
This kind of cold weather isn’t some incidental afterthought. It’s the central storyline of the game. How can a team that lives all season in 70-degree weather go out on one night and be brave and tough enough to play a football game in conditions that will shock their bodies and make them feel unimaginably uncomfortable? Playing an NFL football game is tough enough on the body. Playing in tonight’s wicked weather will give toughness a new meaning.
You may think this is an overstatement and the players will be fine. I ask you: Have you ever been so cold that you started crying? Have you ever stood outside for three hours in frigid temperatures because for some reason you had to or were in an uncontrollable situation? You start thinking about pain. You think about doing anything you can to stop thinking about how cold you are. You stop focusing on anything else except how long it will be until you can get inside to warmth. It’s a serious situation. It’s not a game. You start to wonder if you can stand it for five more minutes.
If the Dolphins win this game tonight with the weather being as big a foe as Patrick Mahomes, if they do the unthinkable and somehow win this game, it will be one of the most inspiring and historic wins in NFL history. Warm-weather NFL teams have a sad history of fading out of the playoffs when they have to travel to cold stadiums to play.
Are the Dolphins mentally locked in enough, do they want to win badly enough, to endure a -23 wind chill?
This is riveting and rare theatre because it’s not just a football game, it’s a survival test. Mental discipline will be the determining factor. Tune in and watch the real-time suffering and potential triumph for the ages.
Sammy Sportface, a sports blogger, galvanizes, inspires, and amuses The Baby Boomer Brotherhood. And you can learn about his vision and join this group's Facebook page here:
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