FOXBORO - Bill Belichick would tell you he's not in the excuse-making business so any attempt to get him to talk about the heat and humidity the Patriots will face in Miami this weekend will get about the same response he offered Wednesday.
"I don't know," he said when asked if Miami's humidity could be simulated this week. "Look, it is what it is out there. So, whatever it is, it is."
The Patriots, notably, were practicing outside during Wednesday's media availability portion of practice. In the past, when expecting to go to work in drastically warmer temperatures, they've headed inside to the Empower Field House. There's still time for that as the Patriots will practice Thursday and Friday this week.
"Bill would say, 'Put all your stuff on, we're gonna be in the bubble,' " Rob Ninkovich said on this week's episode of the Ex-Pats Podcast. "And they've got the heat on in there. But it doesn't work. Doesn't work. You can only get the bubble to 77."
At the moment, the forecast in Miami is calling for temperatures in the 80s and scattered thunderstorms. It was 35 degrees in Foxboro during Wednesday's practice.
"Eighty-two degrees? Coming from [the 30s]? You better believe they're going to be in the bubble," Jerod Mayo told Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran on Quick Slants the Podcast. "They're going to be in the bubble...It's always tough. You're coming from 30 degrees to 90 degrees. It's a huge shift."
The reality is the heat matters. The Patriots will be able to wear their normal road white jerseys on Sunday, which could help the team manage the effects of being closer to the equator, but it's still an issue without much of a solution.
"Next week is going to be a good test," Ninkovich said. "I love it. Tale of two teams: home and away. Home games, [the Patriots are] undefeated. Away team, they don't bring the energy.
"In Miami, they gotta bring it. There's gonna be enough Patriots fans there because every year we were down there and you look around there's so much blue, white and red and it's like, 'OK this is like a home game.'
"Then you're sitting there on the bench sweating in the blazing sun, sucking down oxygen because you can't breathe, taking off your chest clips so you can open your lungs up, it's tough. You're not used to it."
The Dolphins are 5-1 at home this year, versus 1-5 on the road. Against the Patriots in Tom Brady's career, Dolphins home-road splits haven't been quite that drastic, but they've owned the series when in Miami late in the season.
Tom Brady is 7-9 on the road against the Dolphins as a starter and 1-5 in Miami in December. Those five December losses in Miami account almost all of Brady's December losses on the road in his career. He has seven total.
This chart shows those games in Miami in the Brady/Belichick Era (Brady was hurt in 2008), including the teams' records following the game and the game-time temperature.
Brady's individual numbers have suffered in Miami in December as well. His 62.6 completion percentage for the month of December over his career drops to 59 percent when in Miami in December. His career December rating of 92.3 is vastly superior to his 73.3 rating in Miami in December. Brady has an average of 2.5 touchdowns thrown for every pick in his career in December. In Miami? His December touchdown-to-interception ratio is 9-to-10.
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"You're not used to it," Ninkovich said. "I'm telling you, you can sit in a sauna and put a stair-stepper in there, do whatever you want. You're not going to get the humidity and the feel of when you're down there. It's like the sun is closer to you because it is."
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