KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Temperatures call for highs in the 20s, lows in the teens for Sunday’s game between the Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks at Arrowhead Stadium.
Those aren’t exactly ideal conditions for a kicker, especially one born in Brazil, lived in Florida and played collegiately inside a dome.
But Chiefs rookie kicker Cairo Santos doesn’t expect the weather to affect him too much.
“I’ve kicked (in the cold) just for fun,” Santos said. “Just this last Christmas I was in Chicago with my girlfriend’s family … and I kicked the ball just to experience it.”
Santos said he kicked at a park without uprights and wind was present that day, a good thing considering the swirling winds often present at Arrowhead Stadium.
“It felt like 10 below zero or 15 below zero,” he said. “I wanted to feel how the ball felt. It definitely doesn’t go as far. It’s all about focusing and striking the ball well.”
The actual temperatures on Dec. 25, 2013 in Chicago were in the low 20s with a wind chill factor in the low teens, according to the weather almanac.
But cold is cold for someone raised in warm climate.
The coldest game-day conditions Santos said he’s kicked in came in college.
“It was in the 30s at Marshall,” he said. “It was raining. It was cold and bad conditions, but anything below that I’ve never experienced (in a game) other than practice here. I imagine it will be the same as practice.”
Santos, who has made 10 straight field goals and is 12-of-14 on the year, said he practiced kicking outdoors in recent days to grow accustomed to the chilly wind.
With snow in the forecast for Saturday, the Chiefs are expected to keep the field covered overnight to preserve the field conditions.
Santos said he plans to test the field surface during pregame warm-ups before making a decision to change cleats, but he doesn’t anticipate issues based on recent practices.
“Maybe I won’t need to do anything because our fields are pretty hard here and during the week my normal shoes worked perfect,” he said. “We’ll definitely have to play it by ear, but I’ll be ready with the right type of gear.”
Santos appears confident for Sunday, and Chiefs coach Andy Reid isn’t worried if his rookie kicker has to make adjustments for the conditions.
“He’ll be OK,” Reid said. “I’m not too worried about that.”