This is an open thread for pre-game chat!
Mother Nature has played havoc with the NFL this weekend, and the Dallas Cowboys are taking some steps to ensure that the team is as prepared as they can be for the conditions that they will face in Chicago's venerable old Soldier Field tonight. The conditions are going to be miserable tonight (here is the game forecast from Weather Underground) so head coach Jason Garrett has spent some serious time in making sure his players are prepared for what they will experience this evening.
"One of the things we emphasize is (to) make sure you get your gear right. You think about it. You spend time making sure this is going to help me feel warm, but I still can function with whatever these sleeves are, whatever these gloves are, the tights, whatever you wear on your feet. The goal when you’re playing is you’re not thinking about the cold. You’re just playing football." - Jason Garrett
At least on Cowboy will not be following Garrett's advice regarding sleeves. It seems that there is a tough guy named Jason Witten who will be going sleeveless in the bitter Windy City weather.
"Football ain’t meant to be played like that. I don’t know. I do bundle up over there on the bench though. Nah, I don’t let that get in the way. I mean, there is something to be said when you’re out there playing, you’ve got to not wear sleeves. I think Dan Campbell taught me that pretty early in the career."- Jason Witten
Quite frankly, would you expect anything else out of the Senator? Witten will, however, make sure that he stays well bundled up on the sidelines. The only other accommodation he will be making involves his shoes.
With the recently installed new sod that has not fully secured itself in place and the heating system that keeps the field from freezing, the Soldier Field turf is expected to be more loose and prone to tearing free in chunks. In an attempt to deal with this, the equipment people are installing longer cleats in the players shoes. In theory, this should help to improve the athlete's ability to maintain their footing. Unfortunately, in conditions that the teams will face tonight, even that is not guaranteed to work. Still, they have to try to find the cleats which will give the players the best possible footing.
Aside from bundling up and doing what they can to make things work, the players from both teams are going to have to make the best of a bad situation. As Garrett stated:
"You’ve got to be mentally tough enough to focus on the task at hand and don’t let the elements be a factor."