We have a long stretch of Arctic cold before we reach Sunday’s season finale in Foxboro. That said, the potential for a historic cold day at Gillette Stadium is something that needs to be addressed. The coldest home game in Patriots history (also the coldest game at Gillette) happened on January 10, 2004. The Tennessee Titans traveled to frigid New England for the AFC Divisional Playoff. The Pats won 17-14 en route to their second Super Bowl title. Feel free to head down the rabbit hole and watch some highlights of the game. I couldn’t find any quick game highlights but this NFL Network film can help you kill some time. (Bonus President Trump at 3:54).
This game replaced a December 11, 1977, game against Miami as the coldest home game in team history by a whopping 10 degrees. I was surprised to find that there weren’t more games in the single digits or even in the teens in team history. Most of the Pats home playoff games have come in recent years during which the climate has undoubtedly warmed. But 3 of the top 7 coldest games are in the last 14 years so make of that what you will.
It sure looks like Sunday has a great chance to join this list in the top 3. The threat of snow is looking less and less away from the South Coast, Cape, and Islands. But that is because this Arctic air mass will suppress the storm to our south and east. There will be a re-enforcing shot of cold air Saturday night into Sunday. The EURO model, traditionally the best, has a temp of around 1 at 1 PM Sunday.
I can’t ignore the American GFS model as it has done alright so far this winter. The GFS is around 20 in Foxboro on Sunday at 1 PM. Blending the two together creates a compromise of around 10 F. That is also where the ensembles are (blend of many different members of a given model family) sit. So I’ll conservatively call for the 2nd coldest home game in Patriots history. Interestingly, at least to me, Sunday is the 50th anniversary of the Ice Bowl which is the coldest game in NFL history. The Cowboy’s and Packer’s battled in Green Bay for the NFL Championship and the right to go to Super Bowl II. Kickoff temperature was -13.
I’ll keep my eyes on it. You should also know that the EURO is forecasting wind chills of -15 to -25 on Sunday. I’m thinking New Year’s Eve will be best spent with my rear end on the couch.