Jordan RaananESPN Staff Writer
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Rain, sleet, snow or Arctic freeze, Bill Belichick doesn’t care. He willing to play the AFC Championship game anywhere, anytime and in any sort of weather.
“Love to play in the championship game,” Belichick said. “Schedule it wherever you want. We’ll be there.”
That is the approach the Patriots are taking into their matchup with the top-seeded Chiefs. It’s clear Belichick is setting an example for this team this week. He’s not about to accept any excuses — not the field, not the weather, not the difficult road conditions of playing at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Patriots were just 3-5 on the road this season. It was their worst road record since 2009, when they went 2-6.
Accuweather is calling for it to be “bitterly cold” on Sunday evening, and it projects for a wind-chill temperature of minus-1 degrees at the 6:40 p.m. ET kickoff.
Belichick brushed off any questions about the possibility of the weather altering his play-calling or approach.
“I don’t know. It’s Wednesday,” Belichick said. “We’ll see what happens Sunday night. Right now, we’re getting ready for the Chiefs.”
The Patriots played in freezing temperatures last week against the Los Angeles Chargers. It was 26 degrees at kickoff, marking their coldest game of the season. New England jumped out to an early lead and cruised to a 41-28 victory.
Belichick talked Monday about taking everything from the weather to the condition of the field into consideration for their weekly preparation. The Patriots practice outside regularly, even if it’s snowing.
“We definitely do that. In some cases, we can practice that way. In some cases, we can’t,” Belichick said of preparing for that week’s conditions. “If we’re able to utilize a practice tool prior to the game because of the way that the circumstances fall, then great. And if we’re not, then we prepare mentally and talk about how we want to do certain things or whatever the issues are.”
The Chiefs are more accustomed to the conditions than the warm-weather Chargers. The Chiefs and second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes already dismantled the Colts 31-13 in the snow last week in the divisional round at Arrowhead Stadium.
Belichick still believes, when all is said and done, it will be about football and not the weather. The Patriots have to defeat Kansas City, not the freezing temps.
“We’re getting ready for the Chiefs,” Belichick said. “Whatever it is, it is.”