Cheap seats and a potential third straight Super Bowl run are drawing Seahawks fans to Minnesota for Sunday’s playoff game, even though the temperature at kickoff is expected to be near zero.
From his two hats and ski mask down to the toe warmers that stick on his socks, Greg Woodfill of Burien is ready.
So is Kristie Harrington of Kent, with new snow pants, along with extreme-weather gloves that have pouches to hold hand warmers.
And so is Nick Goins of Everett, with layer upon layer to wear under his Seahawks Rooster outfit.
Coldest NFL games
• Dec. 31, 1967, Green Bay, -13; wind chill -48.
• Jan. 10, 1982, Cincinnati, -9; wind chill -59.
• Jan. 7, 1996, Kansas City, -6 (no wind chill listed)
• Jan. 4, 1981, Cleveland, -5 (no wind chill listed)
• Jan. 20, 2008, Green Bay, -4; wind chill -24
Forecast for Sunday’s Seahawks-Vikings game in Minneapolis: Sunny, high of about 3 degrees with a temperature near zero at kickoff (10 a.m. Seattle time.)
Sources: NFL, National Weather Service, The Weather Channel
“I might end up looking like a stuffed snowman,” he said, “but it will all work out.”
These and many other traveling Seahawks fans plan to be in Minneapolis Sunday for what’s being billed as potentially one of the coldest NFL games ever, with a temperature at kickoff near zero.
“I think it’s great. It’s a chance to be part of history,” said Woodfill, who spent $400 this week on cold-weather gear.
He’s flying to Minnesota Saturday morning with longtime friend Kenny Burns, the official holder of the Seahawks season tickets the two have used for years.
Even for Minnesotans, Sunday’s weather is well below the comfort level for the midday kickoff. According to The Weather Channel, a normal January day in Minneapolis has a high of 24 degrees and a low of 7.
Concerned about fans of both teams, the Vikings announced this week that free hand warmers will be given out at the stadium, that fans can bring blankets to the game and that a nearby hockey arena will be open three hours before kickoff for fans to take shelter while awaiting the game.
“How cold is it? We’re using a freaking hockey arena as a place to stay warm,” noted Vikings fan blogger Christopher Gates.
Fans also are being advised to bring cardboard or paper to put under their feet as insulation from cold stadium surfaces.
With the chilly game on tap, the NFL posted a list of its 10 coldest games, topped by the Dec. 31, 1967, NFL Championship game at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field, remembered as “The Ice Bowl,” with a Packers-Cowboys game-time temperature of -13 and wind chill of -48.
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5 p.m. (Central time) Saturday, 8th Street Grill, 800 Marquette Avenue. Hosted by Midwest Sea Hawkers
But those who want to use wind-chill as their metric can award the title to the Jan. 10, 1982, AFC Championship in Cincinnati, with a Bengals-Chargers kickoff temperature of -9 and a wind chill of -59.
Sunday’s Seahawks-Vikings game is not expected to hit those marks, but it could slip below the “warmest” game on the list, played in Green Bay Dec. 22, 1990, with a game time temperature of 2 degrees.
Seahawks fans, encouraged by low ticket prices — some seats are being offered online for less than $50 — have been sharing tips and observations about what to wear and where to get it.
“I’ve been researching, shopping, getting advice on Facebook, everything,” said Woodfill, 57, a Metro transit supervisor.
He didn’t cut corners on long underwear, spending $50 apiece for Under Armour tops and bottoms. But he feels he got a great score on ski pants marked down 60 percent — to $24 — at Fred Meyer.
In all, he plans to wear three layers below the belt and even more above, including two Marshawn Lynch pieces: a sweatshirt he already owned and a new extra-large jersey to fit over his coat as his outermost layer.
“Gotta welcome Beast Mode back,” he said, before it was known that Lynch was not ready to return after abdominal surgery.
He has thin gloves to wear when he wants to snap a photo, and heavy mittens to wear over them the rest of the time.
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In a dry run putting on all his gear at home Friday, Woodfill — disappearing further under each layer — worried he might actually be taking too many garments. His final decision may wait until after he gets to Minneapolis.
Woodfill and Burns bought second-row seats behind the Seahawks bench for $300 apiece, but have since seen plenty of lower-price seats available.
Woodfill wonders if tickets are available because Minnesota fans are avoiding the cold, or perhaps they just don’t want to see anything resembling the Seahawks’ 38-7 victory there last month.
Whatever the reason, the game has come within reach of some who might not have been able to afford Seahawks playoff tickets if the team were playing at home.
The Vikings, awaiting completion of a new covered stadium later this year, are in their second year of playing outdoors in the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium.
Harrington said she and her boyfriend, Bob Fettig, bought new snow gear for the game and will try to get some additional use out of it on outings with the four kids they have between the two of them.
Harrington and Fettig, both UPS drivers, checked prices for a potential trip immediately after last weekend’s games and were surprised by what they found:
Round-trip airfare under $300, prime seats for $145 apiece and what looks like a good hotel at $109 a night.
“It’s too cheap to not go,” she said.