Tomorrow’s matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Las Vegas Raiders at Acrisure Stadium on Christmas Eve is projected to be one of the coldest games Pittsburgh has played in decades.
How cold is cold? According to the forecast, Saturday’s “high” is expected to be 12 degrees with a low of eight. However, with wind gusts expected to reach over 20 MPH at points throughout the night, the actual “real feel” temperature is expected to reach below zero.
Head coach Mike Tomlin made note to acknowledge the frigid elements in is press conference on Tuesday, calling the upcoming elements a significant component that will factor into how either team plays Saturday night. However, Tomlin made note that his team won’t be running from the cold, but rather will run to it, embodying his “don’t seek comfort” mentality.
You can put down OLB T.J. Watt as one player that doesn’t plan on being fazed by the cold.
Just like how Bane from The Dark Knight Rises said to Batman that he was born in the dark and molded by it, Watt has done the same with the cold. Being born in Wisconsin, Watt has experienced frigid Arctic temperatures since he was a child. He’s taken that to Pittsburgh where the weather can be unforgiving during the winter months, often warming up in nothing but a cutoff T-shirt in below-freezing temperatures.
In fact, just two years ago, Watt and his brothers fully immersed themselves in the cold just like Bane did with the dark, cutting a hole out of a part of a frozen lake and use it as an ice bath. Per ESPN’s Brooke Pryor, Watt said that moment was colder than anything he expects to feel Saturday night in Pittsburgh.
“You definitively want to be the person delivering the hits in games like these; I can promise you that,” Watt said regarding the frigid temperatures Friday on video from Chris Adamski’s Twitter page.
Watt recognizes what the cold brings to a football game. Hits hurt that much more. The grass isn’t unforgiving when you fall on the frozen ground. To make matters worse, you feel a sharp, biting sensation any moment you are standing still, making the sidelines the last place you want to be in a game like this.
There’s no doubt that the weather Saturday night is going to be brutal. For many who aren’t ready for the frigid elements, it will be a slap in the face that can directly affect their performance. However, T.J. Watt doesn’t plan to be affected by the cold. He’s been born and raised in it, implemented it into his training and recovery, and has fully embraced it every moment he has worn the Black and Gold.
Look for Watt to bring the heat Saturday night as the Steelers attempt to honor legend Franco Harris in the 50th Anniversary of the Immaculate Reception.