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Deep freeze puts chill in tailgating before 49ers-Packers game

  • A Green Bay Packers fan looks through a tent as fans tailgate before an NFL wild-card playoff football game between the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo / Jeffrey Phelps)

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Jeff Giardinelli embraced the cold outside Lambeau Field dressed in a No. 8 Steve Young jersey, red San Francisco 49ers knit cap and Candlestick Park-themed scarf.

He'll remember his first visit to Green Bay for a while, whether or not his beloved 49ers beat the Packers in the NFC wild-card game Sunday.

An arctic front pushing through the Midwest could make the game one of the coldest in NFL history. The meat-locker conditions put a chill on outdoor tailgating and had fans heading into Lambeau early to warm up with free coffee and hot chocolate.

"Refreshing," Giardinelli, of Fresno, Calif., exclaimed as he walked across a parking lot with friend Jeff Morgan. "We suited up, we brought all the snowboarding gear we use out there and added to it. Without the wind, which isn't here yet, we're good. When it gets windy, we'll be ready for it."

Morgan wasn't quite as convinced.

"He says 'refreshing.' I say it's cold as heck," said Morgan, also from Fresno. He's not a 49ers fan but wanted to come this weekend for what he called the "Lambeau atmosphere."

It was 5 degrees by kickoff at mid-afternoon, though a northwest wind made it feel like minus-10. Temperatures were to dip as the winds increased through the evening.

That apparently meant little to some of the players, The entire starting offensive line of the Packers were sleeveless under their green jerseys. A few 49ers went with the sleeveless look, including quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

The coldest NFL game on record is the 1967 championship game, known as the "Ice Bowl" won by the Packers 21-17 over the Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau Field on New Year's Eve. The temperature dipped to minus-13, and the wind chill that day was minus-48.

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