Brutally cold forecast favors Tom Brady, whose record in worst conditions is simply amazing

John Tomase
January 15, 2019 - 11:32 am
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Bad news, Kansas City Chiefs -- Tom Brady's unbeatable in the bitter cold, too.

With Sunday's Arrowhead Stadium forecast plummeting by the second -- an Arctic front currently calls for lows of 1 degree -- the Patriots and Chiefs will have to bundle up for the AFC title game.

This news favors the Patriots, because Brady's history in brutally cold weather is just as dominant as his history everywhere else, if not more so.

Brady is 5-1 in games played at 20 degrees or lower. His numbers aren't great, but you try throwing a prolate spheroid when it has been transformed into a piece of concrete, per the Ideal Gas Law, which has never before been applied to football.

Brady has completed 125 of 223 passes (56.1 percent) for 1,307 yards, 10 touchdowns, and four interceptions while posting a QB rating of 80.7.

Three of those games have come in the playoffs, and Brady has won two of them. Here's a look at his previous six efforts on frozen tundras.

Jan. 10, 2004 (4 degrees): Patriots 17, Titans 14

This is the coldest game in Patriots history and the one that might be threatened on Sunday. The field thermometer was frozen at 4 degrees when the Pats hosted the Titans in the Divisional round after a 14-2 regular season.

In simply horrific conditions, Brady completed 21 of 41 passes for 201 yards and a 41-yard touchdown to Bethel Johnson that opened scoring in the first quarter. This was not a game for offense -- neither team broke 300 yards -- but the Patriots held on when Adam Vinatieri booted a 46-yard field goal with four minutes to go.

Drops were an issue all game, including a huge one by Patriots tight end Daniel Graham inside the 10 that necessitated one of the most impressive kicks of Vinatieri's Hall of Fame career. The game ended with Titans receiver Drew Bennett dropping a desperation fourth-and-12 bomb at the Patriots 15-yard line.

Footnote: a sideline guest was none other than billionaire businessman Donald Trump, who wanted to meet Brady and wished him luck. Wonder what ever became of him?

Jan 23, 2005 (11 degrees): Patriots 41, Steelers 27

Brady has won so many memorable games, it's hard to single out one. But the 2004 AFC title game certainly deserves special mention.

Remember the Flu Game?

The defending Super Bowl champs went 14-2 for the second straight season but had to visit Pittsburgh for the conference championship because the Steelers had finished 15-1 behind a brash rookie quarterback named Ben Roethlisberger, who entered the game a perfect 14-0, including an overtime win a week earlier over the Jets.

Brady woke up the morning of the game with a temperature of 103, which was 104 degrees warmer than the Steel City windchill. He then went out and delivered the gutsiest game of his career, leading the Patriots to a blowout victory and berth in Super Bowl XXXIX vs. the Eagles.

He completed 14 of 21 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns, getting the jump on the Steelers with a 60-yard strike to Deion Branch in the first quarter.

The Patriots led 24-3 at halftime on Rodney Harrison's 87-yard interception return before intermission, and they cruised from there.

Jan. 10, 2010 (20 degrees): Ravens 33, Patriots 14

The lone cold-weather blemish on Brady's resume hardly qualifies as his fault. The 2009 Pats were an ugly transition team that finished 10-6 with the least-inspiring football of the Belichick Era.

This one lasted exactly one play, Ray Rice racing 83 yards untouched on Baltimore's first snap. The Ravens won with a high school offense, quarterback Joe Flacco completing only 4 of 10 passes for 34 yards and a TD, but Rice and Co. piling up over 200 yards and four scores on the ground.

Brady was awful, going 23 of 42 for 154 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions. He was also sacked three times and lost a fumble while compiling a passer rating of 49.1, far and away his worst in 38 playoff games.

Jan. 10, 2015 (20 degrees): Patriots 34, Ravens 31

Five years to the day later, Brady earned some revenge as the Patriots pulled out all the stops in a rollicking Divisional Round game.

The Pats twice overcame 14-point deficits with all manner of trickery, as well as Brady's signature brilliance. Julian Edelman threw a 51-yard touchdown to Danny Amendola, the Patriots hit the Ravens with some eligible receiver chicanery, and Brady was immense.

He completed 33 of 50 passes for 367 yards and three touchdowns, and he also ran for another score. The Patriots needed all of it to offset a four-touchdown performance from Flacco.

The Patriots trailed by three points with a little over five minutes remaining before Brady hit Brandon LaFell with the game-winning 23-yard score.

Dec. 18, 2016 (18 degrees): Patriots 16, Broncos 3

On a windy afternoon not particularly conducive to offense and against one of the league's best defenses, Brady went a workmanlike 16 for 32 for 188 yards and no TDs or turnovers. LeGarrette Blount rushed for the game's lone touchdown and the Patriots defense took it from there, sacking Trevor Siemian four times and picking him off once.

Dec. 31, 2017 (13 degrees): Patriots 26, Jets 6

Remember the Bryce Petty Era? Jets fans would prefer not to. The Patriots could've started Brian Hoyer and won. With high winds and windchills hovering around zero, Brady went 18 for 37 with two scores. Petty was sacked four times and took a safety to end the scoring.

So what does this tell us about how Brady might perform on Sunday? History suggests we shouldn't expect even a 60 percent completion percentage, but that when the frost settles, the Patriots will somehow have found a way to reach yet another Super Bowl.

When the elements oppose you, no one says it has to be pretty, and to the list of ways Brady knows how to prevail, we shouldn't underestimate this one -- winning ugly.

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