By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Saturday night’s playoff game in Buffalo is going to be cold. Very, very cold.
But that’s just part of life in Western New York, and the home team certainly won’t be fazed by such conditions. Or so you might think.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen revealed a pretty serious concern on Tuesday when asked about the expected temperatures, which should be in the single digits, with the wind chill making it feel like a sub-zero night on the banks of Lake Erie.
“I think the most important thing for me is, I don’t know why, I got bad circulation in my feet. My toes get really cold and they go numb a little bit,” Allen told the media. “So just keeping those suckers warm and as dry as possible, as well as the hands — obviously that’s a big emphasis for quarterbacks, you need your hands to throw. So keeping those extremities as warm as possible.”
The 25-year-old California native has certainly gained plenty of experience playing in some chilly weather, having played collegiately at Wyoming in the Mountain West Conference before joining the Bills. He’s said the cold temperatures are more of a factor on the sideline than on the field, including the issue with his toes.
“I’m a one-layer sock guy. We’ve got the heated benches and they’ve got the little foot warmers there. But sometimes when it’s super cold, it doesn’t feel like much,” Allen explained. “So I gotta get by the heaters.”
"It's not fun getting hit in the cold… getting up off the ground is just a little more exhausting throughout the game."
– Josh Allen on playing in single-digit temperatures forecasted for Saturday night.
— Dan Fetes (@danfetes) January 11, 2022
Outside of the circulation problem in his feet, Allen spoke to the obvious reality that playing in those temperatures is simply … unpleasant.
“It’s gonna be cold for both teams. It’ll be a challenge. You know, it’s not fun getting hit in the cold, it’s not fun catching our passes in the cold,” Allen said, tacitly acknowledging that his rocket arm may not be ideal for his receivers in such conditions. “And getting off the ground is just, it’s a little more exhausting throughout the course of the game. So again, just trying to get used to that and it’s more of a, I think, mental barrier than it is a physical barrier, if anything. But again, we gotta do our best to not let the elements limit us in what we can do.”
Stefon Diggs, who’s on the receiving end of some of Allen’s powerful throws, didn’t sound exceptionally excited about having to haul in any rockets in the blistering cold.
“It just be so cold, bro. Like, my fingers get cold, my toes get cold,” Diggs said. “He throws the ball too hard. I tell him to take something off it. … He’s just got a strong arm. He can’t help it.”
Diggs — who said he’s ready for this one, having played in that historically cold playoff game in Minnesota in the 2015 postseason — was mostly referencing Allen’s arm strength in normal conditions. Certainly, the cold fingers won’t help matters.
This will mark the second time in a little over a month that these two teams will be meeting under unique weather conditions. Last time, of course, the Patriots completely altered their approach, running the ball 46 times while throwing just three passes. Bills head coach Sean McDermott didn’t alter the Bills’ game plan all that much, with Allen completing half of his 30 passes.
Obviously, both teams will once again be facing the same challenges of the weather in this one. There just likely won’t be as much detail shared from the New England side about the specific issues expected to arise on Saturday night.