Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott is taking some heat after making sure his players stayed out of the cold at Wednesday’s practice.
With the Bills set to take on the New England Patriots in what could be the coldest game in franchise history, McDermott decided to give his players a break from the cold and held the team’s practice indoors on Wednesday. That decision is drawing some criticism, especially after Patriots head coach Bill Belichick made the opposite call for his players.
The latest Bills news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Bills newsletter here!
McDermott’s Practice Decision Faces Scrutiny
With the Bills facing potentially frigid conditions for Saturday’s game, McDermott opted to give the players an extra day indoors. Temperatures in Buffalo were in the mid-30s on Wednesday, not nearly as bad as the single-digit forecast for Saturday, but McDermott still decided to keep players out of the elements.
Many criticized the decision, saying that McDermott was missing an opportunity to help prepare them for the cold feel of Saturday’s Wild Card playoff game.
McDermott seemed more focused on preparing his team for a third meeting against Belichick and the Patriots this season. He told reporters on Wednesday that the Patriots would likely come with adjustments after the Bills beat them 33-21 on December 26 to seize control of the AFC East. With their fate in their own hands, the Bills clinched the division with wins over the Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets to close out the year, but McDermott said they now have a big challenge in facing the Patriots again.
“They’re incredible that way in how they can change things up and what Coach (Bill) Belichick does to stay a step ahead,” McDermott said. “So, we obviously have our work cut out for us. It’s a short week in some regards here so we’ve got to get ourselves ready to go in a short amount of time. So that will be the challenge for us.”
Bills Prepare for Potentially Historic Cold
As WGRZ in Buffalo reported, Saturday’s game has the potential to be the coldest game-time temperature in Bills history. The current record belongs to the 1994 Divisional Playoff game against the Los Angeles Raiders, which had a temperature of 0 degrees. Saturday’s forecast for Orchard Park called for a low of 0, giving the Bills a chance to set the record.
It’s not likely that this week’s game against the Patriots would match how cold the Raiders game actually felt for players and fans, however. The 1994 contest was played in stiff winds, which brought the wind chill down to between -10 and -20 degrees.
Some players are already bracing for the conditions this week. Bills quarterback Josh Allen told reporters that he has difficulty with circulation in his feet, meaning he needs to take extra precaution in Saturday’s frigid temperatures.
“I think the most important thing for me is, I don’t know why, I got bad circulation in my feet. My toes get really cold and they go numb a little bit,” Allen said, via CBS Boston. “So just keeping those suckers warm and as dry as possible, as well as the hands — obviously that’s a big emphasis for quarterbacks, you need your hands to throw. So keeping those extremities as warm as possible.”