Russell Wilson hopes for snowy Super Bowl, Peyton Manning doesn’t
BY MARK POTASH Staff Reporter January 27, 2014 10:37PM
SUPER BOWL FORECAST
The forecast for Super Sunday continues to improve with an expected high of 39 degrees and sunshine. A 20 percent chance of some rain and wintry mix remains, but no blizzard.
Updated: January 28, 2014 9:20AM
JERSEY CITY, N.J. —Peyton Manning’s lone Super Bowl victory came in the rain in Miami — the opponent slips my mind — so it’s not like he needs a hermetically sealed bubble to do his best work. But the prospect of cold, perhaps inclement, weather in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday at the Meadowlands is a bigger issue for him more than anybody.
Asked if he felt confident playing in cold weather, Manning’s response was earnest but not exactly convincing.
‘‘Well, I do,’’ he said. ‘‘Anytime coming off an injury like I had [neck surgery], the more situations you can face — weather, two-minute drills, third-and-ones, fourth-and-ones — I needed to face different circumstances with my new surroundings and with my new physical state.
In my two years [with the Broncos], I think we have seen a lot as far as off-the-field situations — weather, crowd noise, you name it. So I do feel comfortable.’’
But not as comfortable as diminutive Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, who is as crafty as he is nimble with his quick feet and huge hands, and ready — eager, actually — for anything.
‘‘Hopefully, it snows,’’ Wilson said. ‘‘that would be kind of fun to play Super Bowl [XLVIII] in the snow.’’
With the Super Bowl in an outdoor stadium in a winter climate for the first time in NFL history, the impact of the weather is one of the most intruiging aspects of an intruiging matchup. Let’s put it this way: the Weather Channel will be broadcasting live from MetLife Stadium during the game.
With six days before kickoff, it remains to be seen how the weather will play out — picking a winner against the spread is tough enough. The teams arrived to a snowcovered New York/New Jersey area on Sunday. The NFL caused a stir last week by acknowledging plans to move the kickoff and possibly the day of the game in the event of bad weather.
But according to the Weather Channel, the forecast for Super Bowl Sunday is for temperatures in the mid-30s, sunshine and little chance of precipitation.
Broncos coach John Fox didn’t ignore the potential impact of weather in the Super Bowl. ‘‘Obviously the elements are something that’s part of strategy,’’ Fox said. ‘‘In order to be a championship football team, we’ve got to be weatherproof and I think our team played in a lot of different elements this year.’’
In theory, inclement weather affects the precision of an offense in football more than the aggression of a defense.
But not always. ‘‘I’ve seen a lot of games where they’ve been able to throw for a lot of yards in bad weather,’’ Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker said.
Welker knows from experience. In 2009, his Patriots played in the snow at Foxboro against the Titans and won 59-0 — Welker had 10 catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns. In 2010, the Patriots played the Bears at an icy, snowy Soldier Field and won 36-7 — Welker had eight catches for 115 yards in that one.
But both times, the quarterback was Tom Brady, who threw six touchdown passes against the Titans and two against the Bears without an interception. This time it’s Manning, who is better in bad weather than most people think, but still has a history of playoff losses, perhaps coincidentally, in cold weather — last year against the Ravens; 2004 and 2003 at New England; and 2002 against the Jets at the Meadowlands.
No wonder he was stumped when asked if he could use the weather to his advantage.
“I’m not real sure,’’ he said after a pause. ‘‘I don’t really have an answer for that.’’