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Fans, Players Shiver in Green Bay

December 9, 2002

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) _ Fans and players for the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings seemed to have one of two questions on their icy lips Sunday night when the temperature at kickoff was 11 degrees.

_ What was the NFL thinking scheduling a night game at Lambeau Field in December?

_ What’s the big deal?

The game between the border rivals marked the latest _ by 30 days _ that the league had ever scheduled a night game in Wisconsin.

The wind chill was 6 degrees at kickoff and the cloudless sky promised to plummet the temperature into the single digits and the wind chill into subzero readings during the game.

Talk show hosts debated whether the late start was a smart marketing move or a hardship for freezing fans.

``This will be just great. This is football weather, right?″ said Dennis Michels of Antigo. ``But we’re not going to take our shirts off.″

Norma Cruz of Green Bay said she would have preferred a noon kickoff.

``For Green Bay, they should schedule day games,″ she said.

Joe Catheline of Chicago said it wouldn’t have made much difference.

``It’s only about 10 degrees warmer in the daytime,″ he said.

Amanda Krysvak, of North Aurora, Ill., whose family has had season tickets since 1957, said this was nothing compared to some playoff games _ the Ice Bowl in 1967 or the NFC championship in 1996, when the temperature at kickoff was 3 degrees.

Still, she was dressed in several layers and had heat packs in her shoes.

``If I fell down, I couldn’t get up,″ she said.

Sean Lannan, who was born in Minneapolis, had two pair of wool socks, two pairs of long underwear, four shirts, a coat, gloves and a hat.

``The pain is now bearable, that’s all,″ he said.

But he’d rather be in Green Bay than in the climate-controlled Metrodome any day.

``I love it. Being a football fan, it couldn’t be better,″ Lannan said. ``It’s the essence of football, sitting outside and enjoying the game _ which I don’t get to do being a Vikings fan.″

Bridget Carter, a Packers fan from the Twin Cities, said the cold didn’t bother her one bit.

``The weather’s fine. What do you expect? It’s Wisconsin,″ she said. ``It’s good for the Packers and bad for the Vikings.″

Both teams practiced outdoors during the week in preparation for the frigid night, although the Packers had several layers of clothing Friday and Vikings coach Mike Tice made his players go out in short sleeves so they would know exactly what it would feel like.

``The worst thing about it is the commercial breaks,″ Packers safety Darren Sharper mused. ``Because we’re out there in the middle of the field and can’t run to the heater.″

Although the players had heaters and cider on the sideline to stave off frostbite, Sharper said there was no way to stay warm.

``It will be impossible,″ he said. ``You get used to it, your fingertips get numb and your toes get numb and you’ve got to continue to go out there and play well. You just keep moving around.″

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