Ex-Vikings HC Bud Grant's insane cold weather rituals

Some of the nostalgia for football's olden days has worn off thanks to advancements in medicine, technology and a heavy dose of perspective. But there are still some stories that are undeniably epic.

Thanks to the Vikings' cold weather game this weekend, The Washington Post unearthed a beauty about how the old Vikings used to handle cold weather games in Minnesota.

Disclaimer: Former Vikings head coach Bud Grant is a wild man.

"Grant enacted strict rules for games: No gloves, no long sleeves, no long johns, no hand warmers. The Vikings would watch other teams gather by heaters on the sideline and fiddle with hand warmers. 'And we kind of giggled at it,' quarterback Fran Tarkenton said. 'They had to look at us and say, 'These people are crazy.'"

"Grant's most infamous rule: No heaters on the sidelines. To be sure, other teams used them. ... Beyond psychology, Grant had sound reason. When he looked across the field, he noticed a trend. 'What are the players doing?' Grant said. 'They're huddling around the heaters. Our players watching the game, ready to play.'"

The story goes on to note that fullback Bill Brown, in weather bordering 0 degrees without the wind chill, would walk out onto the field before games with no sleeves or socks and pick his scabs in front of the other team. He would proceed to smear the blood all over his white uniform.


This weekend's game will probably be a little less intense than that, but it's just a reminder of how far the game has come along. Though many players will opt for the tough guy sleeveless look, they will probably have access to some sort of material that warms the body.

Even Grant, who will be in attendance, is watching the game inside. When asked why, given his mastery of cold weather, he had this:

"If you had a choice -- sit indoors or outdoors," the 88-year-old Grant said, "what would you choose?"

Solid point, Bud.

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