Print and Go Back ESPN.com: AFC East [Print without images]

Friday, December 19, 2008
Dolphins will visit Ch-Ch-Ch-Chiefs on Sunday


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

DAVIE, Fla. -- Not to rub it in, but the weather in South Florida has been fabulous.

The Miami Dolphins have been enjoying pleasant conditions for weeks. Sunshine, warmth, blue skies, low humidity.

Unless the Earth steers itself straight into the sun before kickoff, conditions won't be nearly as tolerable for Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium.

If the forecast is correct, then the Dolphins will be playing the coldest game in franchise history.

The Weather Channel is predicting a teeth-chattering, kneecap-numbing high of 8 degrees at kickoff. But, hey, it'll be mostly sunny.

The record low for a Dolphins game was 14 degrees and occurred in December 1977 against the New England Patriots in Schaefer Stadium. Next on the list was a balmy 22 degrees against the Patriots in December 1982.

"Ever?" head coach Tony Sparano asked after being told the Dolphins hadn't played in such frigid conditions. "All right. That's another thing that there's some history involved in, I guess."

In games played at 25 degrees or colder, the Dolphins are 3-6, including a 1979 playoff game in Pittsburgh.

"It really doesn't matter," Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter said. "When you're playing these late games in football, with what's at stake, it doesn't matter about the weather. I just think that's an excuse.

"This is our playoff lives right now. To worry about the weather would be a cop-out. We're not even going to make that a factor. If the game was in Alaska, then the game would be in Alaska. We'd go there and handle business like we normally would."

The Dolphins on Friday practiced with icy footballs to better acclimate themselves.

"We're trying to coach everything," Sparano said. "If we could practice in a freezer, we would've."

Sparano suggested he would consider giving Kansas City possession to open the game and the second half if he could.

"You've got to play smart, field-position football," Sparano said. "You've got to be able to kick the ball down into their end. You've got to be able to keep them down into that end. ... Really, if you can play that kind of football and shorten the field a little bit when the elements are involved, I think you give yourself a chance to win.

"Before, you had the possibility to defer the coin toss. When you played in weather games like this you were thinking about some different things, maybe putting them out there first, doing some of those things. There are a lot of coaching deals here that come into play.

"Some people might say in bad weather that you give them the ball twice and you let them start it when you're talking about field position and if they're having true problems moving the football."

For the record, the coldest Dolphins home game was 40 degrees against the Chiefs in December 1989.