It’s not supposed to be nasty weather in Cleveland on Sunday. The forecast suggests partly sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-40s.
The Colts (8-4) are anticipating a cold-weather December game when they face the Browns (7-5) at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Pagano says that means hot chocolate. And chicken broth. Oh, and chili with Fritos.
“December football,” said the former Browns assistant from 2001 to 2004. “This is what it’s all about, right? Cold weather. Hot chocolate. We’ll have that chicken broth in the locker room waiting on us, like when you go to Green Bay in December, they’ve got the great chicken broth. I love that stuff. That’s football.”
He mentioned the Colts playing in the bitter cold of Kansas City the past two Decembers, both of the trips wins.
“Cold, frozen field, playing on the frozen tundra, as they say,” Pagano said Wednesday. “They had great chicken broth in that locker room, hot chocolate, chili, hot chili, Fritos in it. I don’t know what they call that, is it a ‘ball park stack’ or something?”
Sounds corny, but it’s all about being prepared.
“Around now, you get a nice, hard-nosed, cold, grimy game, one of those tough games that you’ve got to fight through,” said safety Mike Adams, who was with the Browns from 2007 to 2011.
Noses tend to drip in the elements.
“Yeah,” Adams said, “get your tissues ready.”
Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, a Browns mainstay from 2006 through last season, says it helps to bring more than that.
“You never know weather-wise,” he said. “Right now, they’re reporting 45 (degrees), which is great, but I’ve played many games in stadium to know you better bring an extra set of cleats because it could be raining one minute, snowing the next and cold the next minute.”
Pagano chuckled at a suggestion that Sunday could be “balmy.”
“Do you really trust the forecast?” he asked a reporter. “I quit trusting that a long time ago.”
He joked that he trusts the Indianapolis forecasters. The Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium has a retractable roof which is closed for most games, especially when it rains or is cold.
“Nobody better,” he said. “Spot on all the time. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s like Nostradmus is working down there.”
As for the Cleveland outlook, Pagano said he couldn’t remember a time in four years there when it was warm for a December game.
“It usually got gray around, I don’t know, September,” he said. “The sun came back out in May.”
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.