GREEN BAY, Wisc. - The Cowboys are on the field early here at Lambeau Field, not to get used to the frozen so much as the tundra.
While temperatures are in the lows 20s today and certainly a tad chilly, it’s far from anything like it was the last time Dallas visited here in the playoffs. That was the Ice Bowl in 1967. In fact, today’s game in Green Bay likely will be warmer than the playoff games in New England and Denver this weekend.
While the chill won’t be much of an issue, the grounds will be. Lambeau is a notoriously choppy, slippery turf and the Cowboys knew they would have to prepare for it.
"We anticipate wearing seven-stud cleats and really making sure we address that from an equipment standpoint and guys getting over to the stadium earlier and making sure they check out the field,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said during the week. “You see some guys slipping around on the field when you watch tape. That's natural … You have to make sure you take care of those things, be a pro, make sure your cleats are right, so you can go function when the game starts.”
One of the iconic images of the 1967 Championship Game was Cowboys lineman Bob Lily digging in the frozen ground with his foot like it was a batter’s box before the third-and-goal from play from the 1 just to try to get some traction. The players in that game said the field was frozen – a tarp had been left on the night before and when it was removed the condensation underneath it flash-froze. Packers running back Chuck Mercein said it was like playing on an abrasive stucco wall – and it created a slippery surface. Today it seems like the problem will be more swampy than slippery.
Cowboys defensive end Jeremy Mincey said he played at Lambeau in 2012. That was in October on a 44-degree day, and he said it was difficult to keep his footing. He learned that lesson and will wear seven-stud cleats today.
“They feel a little muddy and then it's wet and cold at the same time,” Mincey said of soft fields. “Less studs are better so you can dig in and actually get some (traction). More studs is for a thinner field. Their field’s got a lot of moisture.”
Not the frozen kind, either. Not this time.