Cold Weather QB Look With Freezing Rain Expected For Steelers-Chiefs Game

When you think about NFL playoff football you usually associate cold weather being part of it. In the upcoming Divisional Round playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Kansas City Chiefs, not only will it be played in the cold, but potentially freezing rain as well.

According to the latest forecast on, icy conditions with periods of freezing rain are expected Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. A high 34F is expected with winds out of the ENE at 5 to 10 mph. The chain of rain Sunday is currently 90%.

Based on that current forecast, we can probably expect to see both teams lean heavily on the run during Sundays contest in addition to a short passing game and that certainly fits the style of play of both teams.

So, based on the assumption that Sunday’s kickoff temperature in Kansas City will ultimately be 35F of less, it’s time to look at how both quarterbacks that will play in the game have fared so far during their careers in those kinds of temperatures.

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, who has played in five playoff games so far during his career, has never played in one where the kickoff temperature was reportedly less than 38F. He has, however, played in a total of 11 regular season games in which the kickoff temperature was reportedly 35F or below and his teams were 5-6 in those games. In those 11 games, Smith completed 61% of his pass attempts for 2,208 yards and threw 14 touchdown passes and 9 interceptions. Those numbers equate to an 84.2 quarterback rating, if you give any weight to that stat whatsoever.

It’s probably worth noting that Smith went 3-1 in four of those aforementioned games when he didn’t throw an interception. Smith is also 3-6 in those games where he threw more than 20 passes.

When it comes to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, my research concludes that he’s played in a total of 38 games in which the kickoff temperature was reportedly 35F or lower and it looks like 7 of those games came in the playoffs and went 6-1. In all 38 games, Roethlisberger is 28-10 but 14-2 in his last 16.

In those 38 games that Roethlisberger has played in where the kickoff temperature was reportedly 35F or below, he completed 61.5% of his passes and threw 56 touchdown passes and 32 interceptions. If you’re scoring at home, that work out to a 91.3 quarterback rating.

Roethlisberger is 5-0 in the aforementioned games in which he attempted 20 or less passes and 14-5 in the 19 games that he didn’t throw an interception.

For most of his career there’s been a narrative about Smith as it relates to him having small hands. With freezing rain expected Sunday in Kansas City, it will be interesting to see how that affects his ability to throw the football.

The Steelers not only have a better running game than the Chiefs do entering Sundays game, it’s also worth pointing out that the Kansas City defense struggled at times during the regular season when it came to stopping the run just as Pittsburgh did.

The Chiefs will obviously have a big home field advantage over the Steelers on Sunday and it will be interesting to see how that and the weather ultimately plays a role in the game.

  • srdan

    Weather like that has less to do with the QB and more to do with the OL and RB. I like it.

  • Doogie

    weather like this can actually be good for a QB that has large hands, well, maybe not good, but less of an impact if your hands are large. Now with Leveon, you gotta run him a lot. In the Cincy game he looked like the only one who could run on the field at times. He is pretty good in bad weather. Maybe a game like the Chi game when bettis carried the team during a snow storm his last year..Over all I think the Steelers have the advantage in this kind of weather.

  • Doogie

    Now if they are expecting power outages, will we get a delay during the game?? Ive seen some odd delays like the field spewing rubber pellets in cincy wasnt it? Does Arrowhead have back up generators?

  • srdan

    I want to see LB get 600 yards this post season.

  • dany

    Homefield advantage, use their homefield to your advantage. Leave only the crowd (and that’s one rowdy crowd) as their advantage

    This is probably a Bell vs Ware match but the article is right, the very possible small involvement of both qbs will be the difference

  • Doogie

    so he has 167 so far, leaves 433 and 3 games possible.. well 3 x 160 is 480 so it could happen, and no one has a really good defense except for Houston, and they lack much of an offense, so figure if somehow they beat the Punks, They dont sustain long drives so leveon would get more chances.

  • Daniel

    yea but if we score alot with our runs the crowd will eventually die down.

  • Matt Manzo

    Sounds like we’ll match up a lot better with them now! Maybe the weather eliminates some of the Cheifs explosive plays, like they had against Denver?

  • Orlysteel

    Maybe the freezing rain will help in keeping their fans quite cause they get really loud, hope it makes them really uncomfortable were it makes it really difficult to scream.

  • Josh Gustad

    I chose the wrong game to go to….I live near KC so I jumped at front row seats with a buddy for a good price. If you see a frozen Steeler fan with a Bell jersey on, it’s me…

  • Dave Bryan, weatherman. This is great research.

    My sense is that if it is in fact cold and wet on Sunday, the Steelers would have a slight advantage given a better QB and a better RB (in absolute terms, but also specifically when it comes to cold weather), and it might also mean that Hill is somewhat less effective in the return and passing games if the ball and field are slippery. That said, I don’t want to read too much into it. Even with Ben, my concern is that he hasn’t been great this year (inconsistent, to say the least), and in some games he just hasn’t seemed to have great accuracy. That could only get worse in such conditions.

  • Sam Clonch

    Lol, me too! Front row, just to the right of the tunnel. I’m not scared! Bring it on!

  • srdan

    When I go to away games I have two goals.
    1. have a great time
    2. be louder than anyone in my section the whole game.

  • Sam Clonch

    Live in KC, and have been watching the re-sell sites since Sunday. More are actually coming up each day, and prices are dropping as the Chiefs fans see the weather coming and sell their tickets! They’re fans are weak sauce!

  • Orlysteel

    Thanks Sam.

  • Ben Saluri

    There are a bunch of Steeler fans driving down from Des Moines. A friend of mine that lives in K.C. says local news is predicting 20k plus Steeler fans for Sundays game. Short passing game and L Bell will be difference maker.

  • Sam Clonch

    I’ll be looking for a tailgate to crash!

  • Daniel

    Weather is non factor for me when i go to the games my blood is boiling and im waving that terrible towel screaming my lungs out so i dont even feel it

  • Josh Gustad

    Tailgating will offer me a “liquid blanket.”

  • Steel Tippin

    That’s what the beer is for lol

  • Garrett Hunt

    Dave, for those stats on Alex Smith, how many of those 11 games was he a member of the Chiefs? Do you know the splits on those games with the Chiefs?

  • Josh Gustad

    Like I said earlier man, liquid blanket! My buddy is a Chiefs season ticket holder and they start tailgating when the gates open at 6:30 am. I’m sure I’ll be plenty warm by the time the game starts haha

  • Applebite

    Haley has to be smart when calling plays in this game, just for the simple reason; the weather around KC at this time of year is fickle, and can easily change up int he course of an hour. And he should know this well enough. I’ve known of people sliding off roads around that area, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see fans not show up for the game out of concern for their safety.
    Dominate the LOS and walk out of Arrowhead on top.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Just checked ticketmaster and there are still 8,295 tickets available from $59 to over $670. Let’s get more Black & Gold there!

  • steelburg

    Your spot on with your comments. We saw it last year in the playoffs when we faced the Bengals. AJ McCarron complained after the game that he struggled at times throwing the ball he also said that he felt like it only rained when they had the football. I hope it pours down because if it does we definitely have the advantage.

  • RickM

    After snowy Buffalo and one other game where it was raining hard and he wasn’t particularly effective I’d far rather have it dry for Ben. The temperature doesn’t bother me, but moisture does,

  • Mrs Bighead

    I bought tickets last Saturday for $110 a pop and now similar tickets are going for $60 because of the bad weather. That really bites

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Wear the glove, Ben. Wear the glove.

  • justafanlikeyou

    That’s the same tactic I used this past weekend in Pittsburgh. Copious amounts of fireball and beer had me nice and toasty!
    Enjoy the game!

  • justafanlikeyou

    Oddly, our franchise QB gives me the biggest cause for concern as well.
    Look no further than last weeks game and his last INT. 4 minutes and 30 seconds are left with an 18 point lead. Just take the sack and keep the clock moving. Don’t force a throw and possible pick6. Thankfully they were able to tackle the guy and make Miami drive the field.

  • Terrible Towlie

    Bell and James will be the difference makers

  • Aj Gentile

    This could be a good game for eli and ayers running short routes

  • Gary M

    Really needed to split those numbers into home and away. It’s proven that Big Ben plays a lot better at home, so if 75% of those cold weather games were played at Heinz your numbers would be somewhat bloated. I thought this was a good article though and covered a very serious issue with the game on Sunday that hardly anyone is talking about. As a fellow blogger, could I please have access to your data? I’d really, really appreciate it! Or at least, how did you get access to the data?

  • John Pennington

    No turnovers by Ben and kicking game will go along way to help win this game.Tackling is a must covering the tightend stop the running game.Tackle tackle tackle.No kick returns or punt return please.