Prepare for round three of the Buffalo winter-weather psyche job.
The first round was before the Dec. 23 clash between the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills in a game that decided the AFC East championship. The Dolphins came prepared for the worst Buffalo weather, but, on a somewhat decent December day, left on the downside of a 24-14 decision.Round two occurred Jan. 12 in a divisional playoff game against Miami again. It was cold and it snowed, but the two teams scored a combined 78 points, a regulation-time NFL playoff record.
But the Dolphins repeated their losing act, 44-34.
The Bills and the weatherman are now getting ready for the third - and most important round - on Sunday when the Bills play the Los Angeles Raiders in the AFC championship game, with the winner earning a trip to Super Bowl XXV.
The early forecast calls for snow and wind, with high temperatures in the mid-20s, according to the National Weather Service.
"Actually, everything I told you is an outright lie," joked Mike Pukajlo, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Buffalo. "Actually, it's going to be sunny and in the 70s. But we're not telling the Raiders."
"It'll be so cold and snowy," Pukajlo continued laughing, "that the Raiders will be shivering and have lots of fumbles and dropped passes."
The Raiders, like those before them, claim the possibility of cold weather will not affect them. No problem at all, if you listen to Coach Art Shell and quarterback Jay Schroeder.
"You can't let it become an issue because you have no control over it," Shell said of the elements. "If it's cold, fine. Maybe we'll bring some of this weather with us from out here."
"If it's cold, you've got to play in it," he added. "If it's hot, you got to play in it."
"Whatever the weather is, we're going to play," echoed Schroeder. "I've never seen them cancel a game because of cold weather."
Those comments aside, Raiders equipment manager Richard Romanski is making sure the team is prepared - psyche job or not. He is packing four different kinds of shoes for each player, including shark shoes, which have sole configurations like a shark's teeth. Gloves are also on the agenda.
"We'll have six kinds of gloves for each player," he said. "They'll be able to find something to their liking."