Every football fan has game-day superstitions. But did you know NFL quarterbacks have them, too? Unfortunately, no one can prepare for the weather. A few historic NFL games have had record-high temperatures, which threw some of the most famous quarterbacks for a loop.
Patriots vs. Jaguars (2018): 97°F
It’s hard to believe the New England Patriots lost to the Jaguars last year, then went on to win Super Bowl LIII, but that’s what happened. Their Week 2 matchup pitted quarterbacks Tom Brady and Blake Bortles against each other in the hottest game in Patriots’ history.
Jacksonville’s TIAA Bank Field reached a balmy 97°F at kickoff. For Tom Brady, it wasn’t a great game. But Bortles threw two touchdown passes in the first quarter. The Patriots only returned with a field goal kick in the second.
The Pats started a classic Brady comeback, but after a fumble in the fourth quarter, they ultimately couldn’t catch up. The Jags ended up winning 31-20.
Packers vs. Cardinals (2003): 102°F
Look a little further back and you’ll find the Green Bay Packers’ Week 3 game against the Arizona Cardinals in 2003. During this hot game in Tempe, Arizona, we watched quarterback Brett Favre take on the Cardinals’ quarterback Jeff Blake, as well as the previous year’s Super Bowl XXXVII MVP, safety Dexter Jackson.
The only thing hotter than the competition was Sun Devil Stadium’s temperature — a record high for the Packers at 102°F at kickoff. Even by Arizona standards, this crazy hot game reached up to 106°F by the fourth quarter.
It was tough for fans to sit through and tough for the players on the field, especially those used to playing in the Frozen Tundra. At the time, Favre was 35-1 in games colder 34°F and 12-18 in games above 70°F. Not promising.
Arizona fans were spotted in the stands holding signs saying things like “We’ll have the grilled cheese.” Known for their cheeseheads hats, Green Bay fans dominated the stadium, but they couldn’t rally the Packers to a victory.
The Cardinals took advantage of the desert heat and, with a fourth-quarter interception from Favre to Jackson, came out on top. Arizona beat the Packers, 20-13.
How does hot weather change NFL games?
Since football is a fall sport, we tend to think about extremely cold weather instead of hot. But with the number of teams recently moving to warmer cities, like Los Angeles and Las Vegas, we’re actually seeing a rise in the average temperature at kickoff.
With extreme heat, players need to constantly monitor how their bodies are handling the temperature in order to prevent things like heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and dehydration.
With player safety becoming a bigger concern in recent years, the NFL takes heat-related illnesses seriously. Staff members are always keeping an eye on how players are doing on sidelines. While hot games are probably done for this season, remember to check the weather forecast and dress accordingly to cheer on your team!