The average low in Chicago in December is 23 degrees. On Sunday at noon, when the Bears host the Packers, the temperature is expected to -2. You read that right: Two degrees below zero. The high for the day? Zero, with a low of -15. Added bonus: 15 mph winds.
Taken together and the game could be the coldest in Bears' history, according to Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith who also notes the current franchise record is from December 2008 when the Bears hosted the Packers and the temperature at kickoff was 2 degrees.
If the -2 degrees-at-kickoff holds for this Sunday, it would rank among the 10 coldest games in league history. The most recent entry to that list came back on January 10, 2016, when the Vikings hosted the Seahawks in a playoff game at TCF Stadium and it was a balmy -6 degrees -- with a windchill of -25.
Other insanely cold-weather games (courtesy of NFL.com):
- Dec. 31, 1967, Lambeau Field, Cowboys vs. Packers: -13 degrees
- Jan. 10, 1982, Riverfront Stadium, Chargers vs. Bengals: -9 degrees
- Jan 10, 2016, TCF Bank Stadium, Seahawks vs. Vikings: -6 degrees
- Jan. 7, 1996, Arrowhead Stadium, Colts vs. Chiefs, -6 degrees
- Jan. 4, 1981, Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Raiders vs. Browns: -5 degrees
- Jan. 20, 2008, Lambeau Field, Giants vs. Packers: -4 degrees
- Dec. 3, 1972, Metropolitan Stadium, Bears vs. Vikings: -2 degrees
- Dec. 22, 1990, Lambeau Field, Packers vs. Lions: -2 degrees
- Jan. 15, 1994, Ralph Wilson Stadium, Raiders vs. Bills: 0 degrees
- Dec. 26, 1993, Lambeau Field, Raiders vs. Packers: 0 degrees
- Dec. 10, 1972, Metropolitan Stadium, Packers vs. Vikings: 0 degrees
The Packers (7-6) are favored by 6.5 points over the Bears (3-10), but the weather could mitigate some of that advantage. Also not helping Green Bay: Aaron Rodgers is dealing with hamstring and calf injuries, neither of which will benefit from freezing conditions.
There is a silver lining, however: This experience will no doubt pay dividends when the NFL extends its global reach to include an annual Freezer Bowl get-together in Antarctica (ratings gold!). They could make it a matchup between the league's two worst teams, sort of football's version of a relegation battle.