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No winter wonderland

January 13, 2010 - John Mehno

Should be another great NFL weekend in front of the TV: two games on Saturday, two more on Sunday.

Saturday's match-ups are Arizona at New Orleans (4:30, FOX) and Baltimore at Indianapolis (8:15, CBS). Then on Sunday it's Dallas at Minnesota (1, FOX) and the New York Jets at San Diego (4:40, CBS).

Winners proceed to next week's conference championship games.

What's the only thing that's missing? Weather. The first three games will be played under domes. The lone outdoor game is in San Diego, where Sunday's forecast calls for overcast skies, a high of 61 and a 30 percent chance of rain.

OK, that's something. It could just as easily be sunny and 78. But the element missing this year is the elements. No snow, no cold, no battling nature as much as the opposing team. For me part of the fun of January football is getting games played in tough conditions. The granddaddy of them all is the 1967 Ice Bowl between the Cowboys and Packers at Green Bay.

The Steelers had a couple of AFC Championship games at Three Rivers Stadium that were played under trying conditions. They met the Houston Oilers the day after a big snowfall had turned to rain, and there were puddles on the artificial turf. They had a game against Oakland in which part of one sideline was frozen, drawing conspiracy calls from Raiders owner Al Davis.

One year the Chargers had to go to Cincinnati and play in sub-zero temperatures. New England has hosted games played in snowstorms in recent years.

Barring a leak in the roof, there will be none of that this year.

If you also miss it, take a look at the youtube clips linked up top.

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