Coldest day ever for a Super Bowl? Let ya in on a little secret: Psssst, the game is being played indoors.
Yes, this is the Bold North here in Minneapolis. And today's forecast high of 5 degrees isn't even worth two field goals. But for the 66,000-plus inside the climate-controlled environs of fully enclosed U.S. Bank Stadium Super Bowl LII, it's going to feel more like Tampa Bay than Green Bay. But not yet. Phillip Chialastri, 42 and his son Marcus, 17, strolled the streets early Sunday, eventually headed to a tailgate party. They attended the game in honor of their late son and brother, Matthew Chialastri. Needless to say, the pair of Eagles fans from Baton Rouge, La., were "so cold," Phillip said.
"For so many years I was about to turn this in to the Goodwill, then I found out we were coming here," Phillip said of his thick brown jacket. "It was too heavy, there was no room in the closet anymore. Then we went to Minnesota and I said 'I'll finally be able to wear it. I'm so happy I kept it."
Asked if he had anything to add, Marcus, dressed in a hoodie and windbreaker, just shook his head.
"This is ridiculous," he said.
"It's so cold," his dad reiterated. "But we are so surprised that people are so friendly seeing how it's so cold. We thought maybe because they stay in the house so long because it's so cold they see other people they're like 'Ohhh, we're seeing each other again!' It's so cold people!" Carly McNeill, 18, and her brother Evan, 14, were decked in Patriots colors as they ducked into the Walgreens downtown. Carly said it was 8 degrees when they left their home in Boston, but this was otherworldly.
Despite the cold, Evan donned only a hooded sweatshirt.
"Yeah, I'm fine," he said. The same went for Bob Ford of Ramsey, who posed in a foam Patriots hat, jersey— and shorts. Even the Mary Tyler Moore statue he stood next to was dressed more warmly, complete with Bold North gloves. Icicles hung from his facial hair.
"It's a little cold out," he said with a laugh. The temperature at the time: -3.
Keith and Michelle Carroll of Lincoln, R.I., just outside the Boston area, said they're used to the cold, but "this is brutal." The Patriots fans shivered, but said it wasn't going to dampen their spirits.
"Nothing can," Keith said.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has put the Twin Cities and many surrounding communities under a windchill advisory all through the morning, and possibly beyond after that, meaning temperatures will feel more like 20-somethings below zero than the those teeny single digits on either side of 0.
"The cold windchills will cause frostbite in as little as 30 minutes to exposed skin," the NWS advisory reads. "Expect windchills to range from 20 below zero to 30 below zero."
Officials at Hennepin County Medical Center say they've seen "a couple" admissions for frostbite since Friday morning.
"Unfortunately with frostbite sometimes people try to wait it out and don't seek treatment right away." said HCMC spokeswoman Christine Hill.
Anyone up for sunrise should see a reading on their smartphone with a minus sign in front. After that, the warmup — there's got to be a better word — should stall out at 5 or so.
But at least it will be sunny as visitors as locals take in Super Bowl-related festivities around town and bundle up ahead of marching into U.S. Bank Stadium, where operators shoot for something closer 70 degrees come kickoff between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles.
While the Super Bowl's outcome is in doubt, there is no doubt that Super Bowl LII will be the coldest ever. The soon-to-tumble previous record stands at 16 degrees, set in 1982 at the enclosed and no-defunct Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich.
OK, so it's bitter cold on the one day all of America's eyes are on Minnesota. Anyone who sticks around a day can feel the difference between 5 above and plus-16.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482