Mahomes, other Chiefs readying for cold NFL weather game


Winter storm hits Kansas City

A winter storm hit Kansas City on Thursday, Dec. 22, bringing bitter cold temperatures, freezing drizzle and snow. Blizzard-like conditions are expected to make travel treacherous for a few days. Here’s the latest:

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Editor’s note: Follow our live weather storm updates here for the latest on conditions in Kansas City.

Patrick Mahomes says, in this case, functionality will take precedence over fashion.

The Kansas City Chiefs home game is expected to be bitterly cold Saturday afternoon. And for Mahomes, that means one — but only one — change to his usual wardrobe.

“I’ll throw that little neck-warmer thing that I always throw on. It doesn’t look great, but it keeps my neck warm,” Mahomes said with a smile. “I’m not a big, like, throw-a-glove-on guy or anything like that, so that’s about it.”

The weather certainly will be a factor Saturday.

Wind chill for kickoff against the Seattle Seahawks at Arrowhead Stadium is expected to be in the single digits. And though KC won’t have to brace for those exact conditions until gameday, coach Andy Reid introduced a draft to his team’s practice Wednesday, opening the doors of the team’s inside training facility to let in some of the winter air.

How much the temperature affects players depends on their position and history with freezing environments.

Chiefs long-snapper James Winchester, for instance, has experienced plenty of frosty games during his eight seasons as a pro.

Still, his job requires him to handle the football as much as anyone besides quarterbacks and centers. That means his preparation will focus on an effort to “manage your hands a little better” while utilizing hand-warmers often and remaining around sideline heaters.

“The name of the game is don’t keep your hands out in the elements any longer than you have to,” Winchester said. “So if you’ve got to run on for a punt, or an extra point or a field goal with your hands in your pouch, that’s what I do.”

Rookie cornerback Joshua Williams won’t be grasping the football as much, but his more significant challenge will be dealing with a new experience. Williams grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and went to college in that same warm-weather location.

“This is gonna be the coldest game I’ve ever played in my life,” Williams said. “I’m 100% prepared. Coach (Andy) Reid is making sure we’re prepared. We’re looking at it like any other game. We take the steps necessary to go out there and compete.”

Williams, like Mahomes, wasn’t planning on many clothing changes. He said he’d likely put long sleeves on this game but didn’t anticipate any other modifications.

KC-Seattle will be far from the only NFL contest affected by weather this weekend. New Orleans at Cleveland, for example, is expected to be an even worse atmosphere for offenses, with 25 mph winds predicted. As such, the current 32.5 over-under total — the sports books’ expected combined point total for the two teams — is the lowest mark for an NFL game since 2010, according to data from Stathead.

Mahomes’ throwing conditions should be better than that in KC; forecasts call for 9 mph winds Saturday with gusts to around 20.

The over-under total for the Chiefs-Seahawks is 49 as well, meaning Vegas doesn’t believe Saturday’s extreme circumstances will affect the offenses too much.

“We’ll go out there and play,” Mahomes said. “It’s still football at the end of the day.”

This story was originally published December 22, 2022 5:30 AM.

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Jesse Newell — he’s won an EPPY for best sports blog and previously has been named top beat writer in his circulation by AP’s Sports Editors — covers the Chiefs for The Star. His interest in sports analytics comes from his math teacher father, who handed out rulers to Trick-or-Treaters each year.


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