NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – Snow, wind, ice, rain: December in the NFL.
Not even indoor games are safe.
Weather played havoc with the NFL’s Week 14 schedule, with the Giants’ game at Minnesota postponed from Sunday to Monday night and moved to Detroit. New England’s game at Chicago’s Soldier Field was threatened by whiteout conditions and the field constantly needed shoveling.
That didn’t slow the potent Patriots, whose league-leading offense romped past the Bears 36-7.
The game-time temperature was 26 degrees, and with snow and a 30-mph wind swirling through the stadium, visibility wasn’t great. The field was blanketed in white and the boundaries, goal lines and yard markers were tough to see. Logos were all but invisible, too.
No matter to Tom Brady, who threw for 369 yards and two touchdowns. The Patriots clinched a playoff berth with the win, and pulled further ahead of the second-place New York Jets in the AFC East.
“It’s one of those days a lot of people would be cozied up near the fireplace drinking hot chocolate, but we work out on Sunday,” Brady said, “and all of us were pretty much committed to try to play well, try to execute well in pretty tough conditions and for the most part we did that.”
The Giants never made it to Minneapolis, stranded in Kansas City after a blizzard hit the Twin Cities, causing the Metrodome roof to collapse for the fourth time, but the first time since 1983. Heavy snows also caused the previous failures.
“There were no injuries, which we’re thankful for,” said Bill Lester, executive director of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission.
With the switch of the game to Ford Field, where the Lions upset the Packers 7-3 on Sunday afternoon, the NFL said fans with tickets to that game could use their ticket for a free admission to Giants-Vikings, with no reserved seating.
Makes one wonder if Packers fans who traveled to Detroit would stick around an extra day to boo Brett Favre — presuming he is recovered from a right shoulder injury enough to keep his record consecutive starts streak going.
The league also said free general admission tickets for other fans who want to watch the Giants and Vikings will be available in Detroit.
“We’re going to work to make this as accommodating of a game for both teams, but particularly the Vikings, since it is their home game that is being lost,” Lions President Tom Lewand said.
Earlier this year, three games were delayed because of severe weather: the season opener of Denver at Jacksonville, 33 minutes due to lightning over the stadium; the next night’s Baltimore at New York Jets game, delayed 15 minutes by lightning; and Minnesota at the Jets on Oct. 10, delayed 45 minutes due to lightning over the stadium.
Games that have been moved to another city include the Oct. 22, 1989 meeting between New England and San Francisco that was switched from Candlestick Park to Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, Calif., due to the Bay Area earthquake; a Monday nighter on Oct. 27, 2003 switched from San Diego to Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., due to Southern California wildfires; and the Saints’ entire 2005 home schedule because of Hurricane Katrina.
Rain up and down the Eastern seaboard hurt attendance in Jacksonville, Landover, Md., and Orchard Park, N.Y., for early games.
Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park was about one-third full for the kickoff of the Bills and Browns. The Buccaneers-Redskins game also was played before lots of empty seats, as were Raiders-Jaguars in Jacksonville, and Falcons-Panthers in Charlotte, N.C.
None of those matchups is particularly appealing, but rainy weather was a factor everywhere. The Redskins announced an attendance of 66,124, lowest at FedEx Field since a game in January 2002.
At the New Jersey Meadowlands, the wet stuff wasn’t frozen, but heavy rain poured down in the second quarter, just as Santonio Holmes was dropping a sure touchdown pass in the end zone. There were five turnovers in the Dolphins’ sloppy 10-6 win over the Jets.
The folks in San Diego heading to the Chiefs-Chargers game might have chuckled at it all. It was hot and sunny, with temperatures around 80 degrees. And their Chargers won 31-0.
AP Columnist Jim Litke in Chicago and Sports Writers Andy Seligman in Chicago, John Wawrow in Orchard Park, N.Y., Mark Long in Jacksonville, Joseph White in Landover, Md., Mike Cranston in Charlotte, N.C., and Bernie Wilson in San Diego contributed to this story.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.