With the 49ers in town for this Sunday’s NFC Championship, what could be a better way to cap off an epic rivalry than with another ‘Mad Max’-esque battle?
The “49ers rumors trade” is a rumor that has been circulating the NFL since the 49ers last hosted the Packers in the playoffs. Mike Florio, who is an NFL insider, suggested a radical rule change to prevent this from happening again.
Highlights of the article:
- Following the San Francisco 49ers’ road victory over the Green Bay Packers in the 2013 NFL Playoffs, NBC Sports’ Florio, Mike recommended a drastic rule change.
- Florio proposed the league consider enacting a rule prohibiting games from being played outside below a particular temperature.
- Although the concept is sound, the NFL is unlikely to implement a temperature restriction.
The San Francisco 49ers are swiftly proving to be a reunion tour in the 2021 NFL Playoffs. The latest episode in the long-running rivalry between the two legendary clubs was a dramatic Wild Card Round win against Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys.
The No. 6 49ers will face the No. 1 Green Bay Packers in the eighth playoff meeting between the two clubs on Saturday, Jan. 22. When these two last met in a must-win game at Lambeau Field, there were so many worries about the game’s playing conditions that NBC Sports’ Florio, Mike recommended a drastic rule change just days before kickoff.
When the Packers played the 49ers in January 2014, Florio, Mike proposed the NFL implement a temperature regulation.
During the 2013 NFC Wild Card Game, San Francisco 49ers players donned long sleeves and wrapped up | Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group via Getty Images
On Jan. 5, 2014, anybody wearing a hat, jacket, thick trousers, and boots to Lambeau Field most certainly spent the day cold. Those who elected to wear a short-sleeve shirt — or, worse, go naked — may still be feeling the affects of a game in which the temperature was 5 degrees Fahrenheit at kickoff and the wind was blowing 10 miles per hour.
The game must have seemed like a January vacation to Cancun compared to pregame anticipation. On gameday, the weather prediction predicted for a high of 5 degrees below zero and a low of 20 degrees below zero, according to ProFootballTalk.
Florio reported two days before kickoff that NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy stated the league didn’t have a predefined temperature measurement that would cause a game to be postponed. Florio responded by publicly urging the NFL to alter its position:
“Players and officials will be exposed to such circumstances for around 90 minutes in the first half of the game, as well as another 90 minutes in the second half — maybe even longer if overtime is used.” And, although spectators may theoretically leave the sitting area to seek a warmer position in the stadium, how warm will any space in the stadium be, other from the restrooms?”
Florio didn’t specify a temperature range in which the game may be too chilly. In response to the notion that summer games are excessively hot, most preseason games are held at night or inside.
Despite the inclement weather, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick racked up 325 total yards (227 passing, 98 running) and orchestrated a game-winning 14-play, 65-yard drive in the last 5:09 of the game.
Despite the fact that Florio’s suggestion is sound, the NFL is unlikely to accept it.
Florio has the proper concept in principle. The issue is that there are just too many logistical choices for such a concept to ever succeed.
Florio argued at the time that the NFL move the game to Saturday, January 4, and either play three games that day or move a Saturday game to the Packers’ Sunday schedule. It’s tough to picture the league deliberately altering its schedule around due to frigid weather over a decade later, particularly considering the TV slots.
Assume if an outside party suggested that a cold-weather Packers playoff game be relocated to either Ford Field in Detroit or U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, both of which are indoor venues. In that case, the Packers would be essentially penalized by the league for low temperatures and wind, both of which are beyond their control.
The distinction between moving a game through a snowfall and moving one through a temperature change is obvious. Fans can safely make it to Lambeau Field or Soldier Field in Chicago in cold, windy conditions. If the road is coated with ice and snow, they will be unable to do so.
The considerations of pride and home-field advantage also make such a rule change implausible. Teams like the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs desire any edge they can get. Hosting a warm-weather team or one that plays in an indoor venue should theoretically give such benefit. The 49ers, on the other hand, didn’t seem to agree with that idea in January 2013 or 2014.
Over the past decade, the NFL has had decent success avoiding severely chilly playoff games.
The truth of life in the NFL is that games in January will be chilly, particularly when teams like the Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Buffalo Bills host playoff games. However, the NFL has usually avoided games with temperatures as deadly as they may have been eight years ago when the Packers faced the 49ers.
Currently, ten of the NFL’s 32 teams play in stadiums that are domed or have a retractable roof. Three of the league’s clubs are headquartered in Florida, where downpours are more of a concern than wind cold this time of year. At Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, no one is anticipating 10-degree weather.
Despite this, the 2015 Wild Card Round matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium remains one of the coldest in NFL history. At kickoff, the two NFC rivals faced battle in -6 degree cold with a -25 degree wind chill. After Vikings kicker Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal in the last minute, Seattle won 10-9.
Walsh could have kicked inside Ford Field and terminated the Seahawks’ season if the league had listened to Florio. Life went on then, and it will go on regardless of the kickoff temperature for the 49ers’ game against the Packers on Saturday.
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