Championship Sunday separated by 40-degree temperature difference
As fans gather at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia and GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City on Sunday, a significant difference will be prevalent between the two locations: the temperature.
The NFC Championship Game in Philadelphia will be the first of the two championship games to kickoff on Sunday. This game marks the sixth time the NFC Championship Game is hosted in Philadelphia, making it the second-most of any city to host the game behind only San Francisco, which has hosted it 10 times.
With temperatures forecast to be 10 degrees above average for the date, Sunday's game is quite likely to become the warmest NFC Championship ever hosted in Philadelphia, beating the 47-degree game played on Jan. 21, 2018, against the Minnesota Vikings.
Temperatures on Sunday will be in the 50s during the first half of the game, making it the warmest NFC Championship Game at kickoff since Jan. 2015 when the Seattle Seahawks hosted the Green Bay Packers at 52 degrees. However, wind speeds of above 10 mph will put AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures into the 30s during portions of the game. Rain is also possible in the second half.
The Philadelphia Eagles are no stranger to warm weather games as of late. The team has not played a game with temperatures under 40 degrees at kickoff in over a month, with the last being when the team traveled to Chicago on Dec. 18, to play the Bears when the temperature was 17 degrees at kickoff. This game will also mark only the second time all season the San Francisco 49ers will play a game with kickoff temperatures under 50 degrees.
The coldest NFC Championship Game hosted by Philadelphia occurred on Jan. 11, 1981, when the Eagles beat the Dallas Cowboys when the temperature topped out at 12 degrees.
Similar temperatures to the 1981 game are forecast for the AFC Championship game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas Chiefs on Sunday, which kicks off following the NFC Championship Game.
Rather than being 10 degrees above average like Philadelphia on Sunday, Kansas City will be nearly 20 degrees below average for the date while it hosts its fifth AFC Championship Game in a row. Despite dipping to a chilly 20 degrees at kickoff on Sunday, this year's game will only go down as the third-coldest AFC Championship Game in Kansas City -- surpassed by the 17-degree kickoff in 2020 and the 19-degree kickoff in 2019.
It is only forecast to get colder as the game goes on, with temperatures dipping to 17 degrees in the fourth quarter. With high winds in the game forecast, the AccuWeather RealFeel® will be more than 10 degrees lower and stay in the single digits throughout the game. Winds are expected to peak during pregame but remain above 10 mph for most of the game.
Despite the freezing temperatures, many fans will bundle up to watch the game at the stadium. Doing so safely will mean the mandatory wearing of a hat and gloves, according to Kansas City Chiefs superfan Christopher Stone.
"You have to be smart to survive those games. Bring a piece of cardboard or carpet to stand on because when you're standing on that concrete, your feet will get so cold. Put feet warmers in your boots before you put your feet in there, hand warmers bring those, and thermals of course," Stone told AccuWeather before a frigid 2019 game.
A fan is bundled up for cold weather during the second half of an NFL football game between the Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
At 20 degrees, the AFC Championship Game will be the second-coldest game of the season for both the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals.
The Bengals are no stranger to the cold as every outdoor game the team has played after Dec. 18, has been below 40 degrees at kickoff. As for the Chiefs, five of their last seven outdoor games have been played with kickoff temperatures above 40.
With an AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperature of 4 degrees in Kansas City and an AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperature of 44 degrees in Philadelphia, a remarkable 40 degrees will separate the two cities on Sunday.
The winning teams will have much more comfortable temperatures when they travel to Phoenix for the final matchup of the season on Feb. 12. The high temperature is forecast to reach the upper 60s for outdoor events and even more comfortable conditions when the game kicks off inside the domed State Farm Stadium.
Correction: This story previously miscalculated the AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperature difference as 54. The correct number at the time was 44.
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