GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — 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, and not just because beloved 49ers beat the Packers 23-20 in the NFC wild-card game Sunday.
An arctic front pushing through the Midwest made the game one of the coldest in NFL history. During its telecast, Fox reported the temperature dipped to 2 degrees and the wind chill was minus-11.
"It is not that cold, it is all mental," 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said. "Just look at Bow (All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman) with no sleeves."
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. Winds increased through the evening.
"I won't lie to you. It got pretty cold," linebacker Patrick Willis said. "But as I said earlier in the week, there's no better way to warm up than to get this 'W.'"
The bitter cold apparently meant little to some of the players like Bowman. Each member of the starting offensive line of the Packers went sleeveless under green jerseys. The sleeveless look also fit for Kaepernick.
"It was cold, but it was mind over matter," said running back Eddie Lacy, who also went without long sleeves. "We did a great job of dealing with it from a mental aspect, so it wasn't too bad."