Chilling part of the Packers isn’t weather

by Gary Shelton on January 21, 2021

in general

Brady has often played in the cold./TIM WIRT

Thursday, 4 a.m.

It will be balmy, okay? Sun-splashed. A day to take the boat out onto the lake.

I know, I know. The longer you think about Green Bay, the more you want to go and put on a sweater. It's snow and ice and frostbite, with a football right in the middle. You think of Bart Starr sneaking in behind Jerry Kramer. You think of the Bucs getting lost in the white during the Snow Bowl. You think of cursing out Frosty the Snowman.

But not this week. This week, it will be a day for those in Tomahawk, Wisconsin (upstate) to go for a vacation weekend.

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One more time: Does Green Bay have a beach?

As it turns out, the Bucs are getting a break on Sunday. By Green Bay standards, Sunday afternoon will be a post-card day. It's supposed to be in the mid-20s, which means that a player can still feel his fingers most of the time. Yeah, you can make ice, but the Packers have a history of playing in cold temperatures.

“I don’t really consider 28 degrees cold," said Bucs' coach Bruce Arians. "I grew up in the north [and] we’ve got a lot of guys that [have] played in Green Bay and played in colleges up north. The weather won’t affect the ballgame – I don’t think – at all.

 “Every time I’ve played in Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Cleveland [or] Buffalo, nobody was cold out on the field. It’s more mental and staying warm on the sideline. We’ve got all that technology now with the heaters and everything else. It’s different, but it’s not that big of a deal for us.”

In other words, the part of the Packers that makes your blood run cold is Aaron Rodgers and his gang of high-scoring cheeseheads. It's enough to give you frostbite.

That much aside, the Bucs have another chilling prospect -- they have to play the Packers. Don't be fooled by the Bucs' 38-10 victory earlier.

“It was the same thing as the Saints last week, having beaten us twice [and] pretty badly, once," Arians said. "We won that ballgame. You can’t fall into that trap of what happened last time. They’re a much, much better football team [and] we’re a much better football team. Both [teams are] very different right now, so you better take care of today’s work each and every day.”

Tom Brady is pleased to play in his 14th conference championship game.

“I think the team has worked really hard to put ourselves in this position," said quarterback Tom Brady. "Our coaches have done a great job preparing us for this moment. We’ve really come on strong here the last six weeks – played our best football of the year when we needed it the most. Then, the team has done a great job coming together and performing and executing under pressure [with] two road playoff wins. It gives us a great opportunity to go on the road again to beat one of the great football teams in the league. The Packers were in the NFC Championship game last year – lost a tough one to San Francisco – and I know the type of team they are and what they’re capable of. They’ve got a great offense – one of the best in the league – really talented defense, really well coached. That’s how it should be – the two best teams in the conference should be getting together and seeing how it all goes down. I’m excited for it – we’ve still got a lot of preparation. We barely got started in practice today. We’re going to need two more good days and then we’ll be ready to go.”

Linebacker Lavonte David doesn't expect the same performance from the Packers this time.

“We put that (game) in people’s ears already," David said. "This is a whole different football team that we’re about to face and we’re a different team in our own right. At the same time, this is a different stage and a different level. That was like Week [6] in October or whatever it was – that was a long time ago. We’ve got to put that past us. They’ve got a lot of weapons back. It’s going to be a different ballgame. A lot is at stake right here, so we’ve definitely got to forget about what happened that game the last time we played them and focus on the right now – that’s us getting better at practice today. When Sunday comes, we’ve just got to be able to execute at a very high level.”

The Bucs have been good on the road all season. Brady hopes that continues on Sunday.

"We’ve been pretty good on the road all year outside of the first game and the Chicago game," Brady said. "For one reason or another, we’ve just done a good job. Some years it’s been like that. I’ve been a part of other teams where it wasn’t quite like that. Let’s keep that streak going – that would be pretty sweet. Let’s get another one. We’re going to be challenged to get it because we’re going up against a great football team. Playing on the road, it’s about good football, execution, communication, all the fundamentals, the blocking, tackling, throwing – all those things. It’s a great environment. This is one of the coolest stadiums in the league to play in. I know they’re excited, we’ll be excited, and it will make for a great football game.”

The Bucs-Packers game is scheduled at 3:05 p.m.

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