7 weather extremes that will impact NFL games this season
The Bills and Rams will kick off the regular season at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on September 8
Football season is almost here, and that means millions of fans will brave extreme weather to watch their favorite NFL team try to bring home a victory.
Through extreme heat, frigid cold and everything in between, the league is notorious for playing through some brutal weather conditions.
If Mother Nature sticks to the normal playbook, meteorologists already have a good sense of which games could be the coldest, warmest, windiest and even snowiest.
Here are the seven games to watch during the 2022-2023 NFL regular season.
HOW TO WATCH FOX WEATHER ON TV
Warmest potential game
After many sweltering preseason games, the first matches of the regular NFL season will kick off in early September.
If Mother Nature sticks to what is usually seen during the first month of metrological fall, Glendale, Arizona, will be home to the warmest NFL game of the season.
The Chiefs are scheduled to take on the Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on Sunday, September 11.
Days in the desert Southwest are typically warm with highs that reach the low 100s.
But if you are a fan, don’t worry about seating and sweating in the extreme heat.
Glendale’s stadium has a retractable roof that is usually closed, and there is typically plenty of air conditioning blasting in the arena.
A game site that does not have the choice of closing its roof is Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
The Patriots will take on the Dolphins on the same day as the match in Arizona, so the game in the Sunshine State will be in the running for potentially having the hottest on-field temperature.
An average high in South Florida usually reaches near 90 degrees, which does not take into account humidity or the impact of pavement absorbing and emitting some of the heat.
WHAT IS THE HEAT INDEX AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOUR HEALTH?
Coldest potential game
The coldest game appears destined to be at Lambeau Field when the Detroit Lions take on the Green Bay Packers during the final week of the regular season.
The NFL is still working out timing, but it appears the game will take place during the first two weeks of the new year.
According to climate data, a typical early January day in Green Bay sees a low of around 12 degrees and a high that only reaches the mid-20s.
Depending on which large-scale weather features are in control, it is not unheard of for temperatures to never get above zero and for lows to be colder than -20 degrees.
The cold air temperatures don’t take into account a potential wind chill that could make prolonged exposure to the elements even more dangerous.
WHAT DOES THE WIND CHILL MEAN?
Rainiest potential game
If the showdown between the Patriots and the Dolphins on September 11 is not the warmest, it could be because of afternoon thunderstorms.
The almost daily occurrence of wet weather could make the South Florida game the rainiest of the year.
Mainly because of the storms, no other city hosting NFL games sees as much rainfall as Miami.
The metro area averages more than 60 inches of rainfall a year, and an early September day could see around a third of an inch of precipitation.
Unfortunately, the rain usually comes from storms, which tend to produce plenty of dangerous lightning.
Hard Rock Stadium says when lightning is detected in close proximity, they encourage the public to seek shelter, and they suspend game operations.
STUDY FINDS DANGEROUS LIGHTNING CLOSE BY IN 1 OF EVERY 14 MLB GAMES
Windiest potential game
If average weather plays out, get out your anemometer ready for the January 1, 2023, meeting of the Dolphins and Patriots.
According to NOAA data, winds average 12.6 mph in eastern Massachusetts during the first month of the year.
Winds not only have a significant impact on the kicker’s ability to get the ball through the uprights, but the force of Mother Nature can also impact the betting line before the teams even see the field.
Chicago’s claim to fame of being the "Windy City" doesn’t hold weight during the early new year, as cities such as cBuffalo and New York tend to have higher wind speeds.
HOW WEATHER CAN HELP YOUR BASEBALL TEAM WIN – OR LOSE
Cold weather fans might have to wait until the last week of the regular season to see the snowiest games.
While the NFL is still figuring out the times and dates for the last matches, weather almanacs do give us a sense of what to expect.
If Old Man Winter holds true to his norms, the playoff rematch of the Patriots versus the Bills could have the most snow on the ground.
Buffalo, New York, averages just shy of an inch of snow per day during early January.
The region ranks ahead of cities such as Chicago, Green Bay and Denver, which will also be hosting games, with a likelihood of seeing snow.
WHEN CAN YOU EXPECT THE FIRST SNOW OF THE SEASON?
First game of year under the night’s sky
The first game of the year that will kick off after sunset and isn’t under a covered by a roof with lights will be the match between the Bears and Packers on September 18.
The Sunday night game will start at 7:20 p.m. CDT, which is about 24 minutes after sunset.
As the season progresses, more and more games will kick off without sunlight because of the shortening of days between the summer and the winter solstices.
The subtle change in light may have more of an effect on the body than meets the eye.
Medical experts say a change in light and time can affect a body’s circadian rhythm.
A study published in the National Library of Medicine found that football players who can control their sleeping patterns had an advantage during games.
SUN WILL NOT SET UNTIL AUGUST IN NORTHERN ALASKA
Highest elevation game
Believe it or not, the human body is impacted by elevation, and in the 2022 – 2023 season, a couple of sites may play a role in which team becomes victorious.
A game to keep an eye on will be the November 21 match between the San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals in Mexico City.
Usually, Denver boasts having the highest elevation game, but because of the league's international series, the Estadio Azteca wins out at an elevation of around 7,200 feet.
Medical experts say people who are not accustomed to high altitudes can see increased exhaustion because of the body’s inability to transport oxygen.
Mexico City has facts and tips posted on its website for visitors to learn about the potential for altitude sickness while visiting the Central American country.