The coldest game in Dolphins history was in December of 2008. The mercury reached just 10 degrees in Kansas City that day.
That record call fall this weekend. It’s supposed to get down into the single digits in Pittsburgh when the sun goes down Sunday.
How could the Dolphins possibly prepare for that in South Florida, where the highs reached 80 Thursday?
By freezing their footballs.
“There's only so much you can do in this kind of weather in practice,” said Dolphins special teams coordinator. “We actually put balls in the freezer, believe it or not, but then you bring them out here, and in five minutes they're thawed back out. Not much you can do in this weather. We actually had our K [kicking] ball bag in the freezer [Wednesday] and we'll do that again [Thursday] and try to simulate as much as we can.”
It’s not like Heinz Field is an easy place to kick in the best conditions. The stadium has an open end that faces the water, and the swirling winds off the river create headaches for place kickers.
Combine that with a rock-hard footballs, and it could get dicey for Andrew Franks and company.
“I think the pre-games are really important for specialists in these cold-weather games,” Rizzi said. “They get out there real early and get as much operation time as possible. Even if you're not kicking the ball, handling the ball. Obviously John Denney and the holder, Matt [Darr]. All that's going to be really, really important, any time you go up into the cold weather, into the Northeast, this time of year.”