The Super Bowl will be played inside the Georgia Dome on Sunday where the temperature is always 72 degrees.
That wasn't much comfort today to the Tennessee Titans and St. Louis Rams when the two teams practiced outside for the first time. The temperature was 28 degrees when the teams got on the practice field--17 degrees with the wind chill factor.
The Titans practiced at Georgia Tech in downtown Atlanta and the Rams worked out at the Falcons' facility in Suwanee, 26 miles north of downtown. The teams won't get a chance to practice inside the Georgia Dome until Saturday. "We better just deal with it," said Tennessee tight end and former Maryland player Frank Wycheck.
St. Louis Coach Dick Vermeil ended speculation today that Nick Lowery might get a chance to kick in Sunday's Super Bowl. Lowery, a Washington native, is in the Atlanta area working out, but Vermeil said Jeff Wilkins will be the Rams' place kicker Sunday.
"The decision has been made," Vermeil said. "Right now he [Wilkins] is our field goal kicker."
Wilkins has been bothered by patella tendinitis in his left (nonkicking) leg. He has had trouble planting his foot, particularly on long kicks. Wilkins, who set an NFL season record for most extra points without a miss (64), missed a 44-yard field goal attempt against Tampa Bay in the NFC championship game Sunday.
"It's a lot better this week than it was last week," Wilkins said. "The pain is going to be there; I know that."
St. Louis gave Lowery a tryout last week and asked him to stay available. Lowery was not on an NFL roster at the end of the 1999 regular season so the Rams would be allowed to sign him for one game.
Eyes on Faulk
When the Titans beat the Rams, 24-21, on Halloween, the Tennessee defense limited Rams running back Marshall Faulk to one big play. Faulk turned a short pass from Kurt Warner into a 57-yard scoring play just 27 seconds into the third period.
"The one thing they always want to do is get a matchup with Marshall Faulk on a middle linebacker," said Titans linebackers coach O'Neill Gilbert. "They caught us in a look that we knew would be trouble if they ever guessed right. It was a second down play that we didn't expect. We've taken that particular look out of our playbook. They won't see it Sunday, not a chance."
Gilbert said the key for the Tennessee defense Sunday is sure tackling. The Rams' offense will spread the field and look for one-on-one situations for their skill players.
"Tampa Bay did a great job of wrapping up and didn't miss tackles," Gilbert said. "We better do that, too, especially with Faulk. You have to run right at the football when he's got it, you can't break down [ready to tackle] and stop and start because he'll laugh at you as he's beating you with a move."