The first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather city might not be a popular choice for some of the NFL players with Seattle and Denver. But Chris Kuper of Anchorage isn’t among them.
He just laughs. Kuper once played in a game in college during which the temperatures dipped as low as minus 53 at the University of North Dakota.
“We’re not worried about the weather. We’re weatherproof,” he told reporters in New York. “We practice in cold weather. We have experience with it.”
The 31-year-old guard for the Denver Broncos is looking to become the third Alaska player to win a Super Bowl title -- each of them an offensive lineman.
The first Alaskan to win a Super Bowl was Anchorage’s Mark Schlereth, who did it three times -- two with Washington and one with Denver. The second was North Pole’s Daryn Colledge, who won one with Green Bay.
Kuper, a Dimond High graduate, has started 79 of 90 career regular-season games with Denver. He is currently a backup after losing his starting job due to injury more than performance. Due to the left ankle injury, Kuper's 2013 contract was reduced from $4.5 million (none guaranteed) to $1.05 million (all guaranteed), according to the Denver Post. Kuper can earn an additional $1.7 million in playing time bonuses.
In the 2011 finale, Kuper dislocated his ankle, broke bones and tore ligaments and tendons. Major surgery followed. This season, he started only one game and appeared in three others.
The 6-foot-4 300-pounder probably hopes it snows to remind him of his days at Anchorage Football Stadium.
Van Williams, a 20-year local sports writer and the former sports editor of the Anchorage Daily News, writes about the athletic exploits of Alaskans for the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. He can be reached at email@example.com.