The people of this happy town were spared the ignominy of having its Sunday playoff game blacked out locally when fans and some corporates bought out the remaining tickets for the 49ers-Packers game.
Too bad, too. In some ways, it would have been interesting to see what happens here when there’s a football game that isn’t televised. We might have learned what it takes to burn down a town in sub-zero weather.
But no, the National Football League’s blackout policy, which was about as popular as an undiagnosed lump in better times and is the potential subject of congressional interest now, was not going to be threatened, not even if Roger Goodell himself had to pay for the tickets.
Thus, the last bit of ancillary drama between now and kickoff was averted, and unless the 49ers have figured out a way to find mischief in Appleton, Wisconsin between now and then, there won’t be any.
The boys will dress in layers -- except for the lunatics who go sleeveless (Justin Smith, Joe Staley, we’re looking mostly at you) -- and will make heat with constant collisions with their fellow humans in the green outfits. And barring a driving blizzard of hens, toads and other tools of Wiccan cooking, all it will be Sunday is cold.
Bitterly, brutally, preposterously cold.
And it will not be allowed to be used as an excuse for either team in the event of failure. Weather remains one of the few things the NFL’s creepy technology fetish cannot be allowed to eliminate. And besides, the 49ers have played in cold weather before. Maybe not recently, and maybe not for Jim Harbaugh, but his arrival in San Francisco did not create a new Big Bang; there was football before Harbs, and though this might disturb some, there will be football after he takes the University of Texas job for $17 million a year.
Ha! Just joshin’. It just amused me to imagine you turning purple for a moment.
The weather wild card really only works if the wind is whipping that cold air around, and while people have enjoyed the forecasts dipping toward negative double digits, there has not been a commensurate increase in wind speed. In other words, Winnipeg has not yet emptied out its attic upon the unsuspecting billions below the border.
In sum, yes. It is cold. You’d hate it, and if you were one of those 49er fans who bought an available ticket, know that at these temperatures, there is not enough alcohol to numb you, and too much can actually harm you. But if you did fly out, get a hotel and bring every bit of paraphernalia in the North Face catalog, you can still stay in the room and watch the game like civilized humans. Green Bay would never let you down that way.