ESPN.com senior writer Elizabeth Merrill delivers a "Hot Read" on Patriots running back Danny Woodhead, visiting his home in North Platte, Nebraska. Here's an excerpt:
The place where Danny Woodhead comes from is not for wusses. The temperature hovers around 15 degrees below zero at dawn Wednesday, causing a frozen fog to settle over the Platte River and prompting a news piece on how to keep the cows warm. Breakfasts at the local diner are served with a blob of gray gravy, a giant sausage and a stern cardiologist's warning.
They still buy the newspaper in North Platte. They still have flip phones, too, which are tucked away in heavy work overalls so as not to distract from the morning conversation. Most mornings, the talk starts with the weather -- wind chills are for suckers -- and ends with football.
This is Cornhuskers territory, which means Saturdays are for the Big Red and Sundays are for washing the car, doing chores and waiting another six days for a game. But not this season. Woodhead is playing in the NFL. And in this western Nebraska town of about 25,000, the New England Patriots have about 25,000 new fans.
"Danny has kind of picked up our spirits," Mark Jolliffe said as he waited at the counter for a hot plate at Roger's Fine Foods on Wednesday. "He took our minds off the Huskers' losses."