Why Not Practice in the Cold?

The Packers thrive on playing opponents at home, especially this time of year. The weather is ice cold and usually a big distraction for visiting teams, especially teams from the south or ones that play home games in a dome.<p>

While they live in Green Bay during the season, most of the Packers are just as affected by the cold weather as their opponents. The Packers practice inside the Don Hutson Center and only play in the elements when it's time to play the game.

The Packers, under Forrest Gregg, used to practice outdoors no matter what the weather. But Green Bay was never better than 8-8 under Gregg.

"I think getting out of your car at night, you get acclimated a little bit," said Packers coach Mike Sherman. "As far as practicing on Lambeau Field and in the snow, there's such a risk for injury in those situations. ... It's one thing to go to a shooting range and shoot that gun and practice. It's another thing to have somebody shooting back at you with live bullets.

"I'd rather be in a safe environment to get ready for the game, which is, obviously, the Hutson Center for us."

The Packers (11-4) are 31-10 in December dating back to 1992 when Mike Holmgren took over as head coach. He never had his teams practice outdoors in the cold. The Packers finished with a 4-1 record in December this year. They are 8-1 under Sherman in December in the last two seasons, including 5-0 at home.

Despite 19-degree weather and a wind chill that sent the thermometer to 5 degrees, Sherman wore nothing but a sweatshirt and baseball cap along the sideline against the Vikings to set an example for his players to tune out the weather.

"I can't speak for all the guys, but I know for me, for those three hours you'd prefer 70 (degrees) and sunny, but if you're going to play, you might as well be better than the next guy," said Packers quarterback Brett Favre. "Not that I don't get cold, not that little hits don't feel like big hits, but I want to be the best out there."


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