Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri is another player who provides cold comfort. "I think Vinatieri has missed one [field goal] all year," marvels Steelers kicker Jeff Reed. (Actually it was two.) "And he's kicking in New England, in a division that has Buffalo and New York." In two of the game's finest winter moments Vinatieri kicked a 45yarder in a blizzard to tie the Raiders in regulation and a 23yarder to beat them in overtime in the 2002 AFC divisional playoffs--inspiring long snapper Lonie Paxton to fall in the end zone and make a snow angel.
The coldest game in NFL history was probably the 1981 AFC championship, in which Cincinnati defeated San Diego in a --59� windchill. "My body has changed since that game," says Ken Anderson, the Bengals' quarterback that day. "It doesn't handle weather like it used to. I get out in cold weather without gloves, and my fingertips turn white. A couple of years ago I saw Dan Fouts [the Chargers' quarterback in that game], and he said the same thing."
You can't always prevent frostbite, but you can try. Former Bills wideout Steve Tasker recalls the desperate lengths to which players would go to stay warm in Buffalo. "Jim Jensen of the Dolphins put cayenne pepper on his feet before he put his socks on," says Tasker. Result? Jensen's feet were more chili than chilly. Reports Tasker, "He always played pretty good when he was in Buffalo."
For a collection of Steve Rushin's columns, go to SI.com/writers.