Head Coach Tony Dungy opted for the baseball cap in Cincinnati in 1998, a good indication that it really wasn't too cold
Santa (a.k.a. the Bucs' equipment staff) is going to make sure every Bucs' locker is filled with cold-weather gear in Green Bay
Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Head Coach Tony Dungy has insisted that the main effect of the freezing cold the Bucs expect to encounter in Green Bay is mental rather than physical. His players have bravely echoed that idea all week.
That doesn't mean they're taking any short cuts on the physical side.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' equipment staff, headed up by Equipment Manager Darin Kerns, is in for one of its most complicated trips of the year. In addition to the thousands of pounds of gear it transports for every away game, the equipment staff must also bring cases full of cold-weather gear this weekend, as Sunday temperatures are expected to barely hit double digits.
Here is a list of all of the extra gear that each player will find in his locker on Sunday, courtesy of Kerns' crew:
· One pair of cold-weather gloves · One stocking cap · One skeleton mask · One pair of thermal socks · One pair of tights · One long-sleeve mock turtleneck · One pair of hand muffs that wraps around the waist · One Lycra body suit · One heavy sideline coat to be worn when not playing
In addition, the locker room will be stocked with hand warmers, fur coat pockets and hand muffs for that extra warming edge. The hand warmers are held between the hands and activated by rubbing the hands together to create friction.
The masks for the lower half of the face, covering the nose and mouth, also feature some new 'technology.'
"We've got a new thing now," said Dungy. "It's supposed to be some kind of mask that warms the air before it gets to you, so you're breathing in warm air. We're going to try that out, see if it works."
That sort of option is a far cry from what was available when Dungy was playing with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the late 1970s. "There's a lot of stuff out there," he said. "The gloves have gotten a lot better, that type of thing. It's as good as it can be."
Dungy and his Steeler teammates had a shorter laundry list of cold-weather apparel, and they certainly needed them at times in the now-condemned Three Rivers Stadium.
"You had the long underwear, and the body suits were just starting to come in vogue," said Dungy. "The gloves, actually, just started coming in when I was playing. That was the first year that they developed some gloves that you could catch with."
Now, Dungy spends most of his sideline time in the opposite extreme, battling intense heat early in the season but rarely experiencing downright cold in Tampa, Florida. That's good, because it's even more difficult to stay warm as the head coach, when you don't have the opportunity to work up a sweat on the field.
"It's much easier if you're running around, moving around," he said with what seemed like a small hint of envy. "The guys will stay warm. If you keep your feet and your head warm, you'll be alright."
Dungy does expect to make use of at least one of the items on the above list.
"I'll have the knit cap," said Dungy. "That's when you'll know it's cold. If I have the baseball cap on, it's not cold."
This Sunday, bet on the knit cap.