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Can Peyton Manning and Broncos win in cold weather?

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning reacts to a

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning reacts to a dropped pass in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Credit: AP

JERSEY CITY - Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody can do anything about it. That's worrisome for Peyton Manning as Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium approaches because amid all the "greatest quarterback ever" hype attending him is the nagging fact that he is 0-4 in playoff games in sub-40-degree weather.

You wouldn't figure a team from Denver would think twice about cold weather, but it was considered a milestone of sorts when Manning led the Broncos to a cold-weather win Dec. 1 in Kansas City.

When the subject came up at the arrival news conference Sunday at Denver's hotel, one reporter tried to put a positive spin on things, asking if there is any benefit to playing in the cold weather. It was the only question that stumped Manning, who looked dumbfounded and mumbled, "I don't know if there is."

Since his move from the Colts' domed environs in Indianapolis to Denver's open-air stadium last season after he sat out the 2011 season to recover from neck surgery, weather is only one of the factors to which Manning has adjusted.

Asked if he feels comfortable in the cold, he said, "I do. Any time you come off an injury like I had, the more situations you can face -- weather, two-minute drill, third-and-1 -- I needed to face different circumstances in my new surroundings with my new physical state. In two years, I feel like we've seen a lot in terms of weather, crowd noise, you name it. So I do feel comfortable."

Manning said it helped to get familiar with the Super Bowl environment in September when the Broncos routed the Giants at MetLife. Manning's kid brother Eli spent a little time during the past week talking with Peyton about the local wind conditions, too.

Another Bronco who is familiar with East Coast weather is former Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker. Asked to recall a couple of memorable bad-weather games, he picked a 2007 win over the Jets in snow, sleet, rain and icy wind in Foxborough, but that was child's play compared to one game at Buffalo's windy stadium by Lake Erie.

"We played one game in Buffalo where they had 70 mile-per-hour winds," Welker said. "They had to take a rope to pull the field-goal posts back upright. The receivers were rotating and loaning each other their jackets because there would be only one receiver in the game since you really couldn't throw the ball. It was like, 'Here, you take my jacket and get warm. I'll go in on this play.' "

Broncos coach John Fox dismissed worries about the weather and said any team that wants to be a champion must be "weatherproof."

There's no rule that says Manning and the Broncos can't pass in inclement weather.

"I've seen a lot of games where they've been able to throw for a lot of yards in bad weather," Welker said. "I don't see it being a problem for us. I see us coming out there and executing our plays and not worrying about the weather or anything else. You just have the mind-set that we're going to move the ball and score touchdowns."

New York Sports