Storming Onto the Field

Super Bowl champion Owen Daniels gets a kick out of playing football—and forecasting the weather.

Doug Pensinger/Getty images (Owen Daniels); Gary P Hayes/Getty Images (lightning)

What’s it like to play football in front of  thousands of screaming fans? Just ask Owen Daniels. Last year, as a member of the Denver Broncos, he helped the Colorado team win Super Bowl 50 against the Carolina Panthers.

Eric Lars Bakke/AP photo

Daniels has played professional football for 10 years. But scoring touchdowns isn’t his only talent. He enjoys forecasting weather too! Before he was drafted into the National Football League (NFL) in 2006, Daniels was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He played football there—and earned a degree in meteorology, the study of weather. 

During the 2015-2016 football season, Daniels did a weather forecast before each game for a local Denver news station. He says it’s important to know what conditions to expect on the day of a game. Heavy rain or snow can make players slip and fall. Swirling winds can change the direction of a pass. Stormy weather can also make it harder to catch the ball. “Usually there’s a game every week in the NFL that’s affected by weather,” says Daniels. 

Jamie Schwaberow/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

His interest in weather started long before he went to college. Growing up near Chicago, Illinois, he saw all kinds of extreme weather—from blizzards to tornadoes. “I didn’t like . . . the high winds, when it was dark outside when it wasn’t supposed to be dark,” Daniels recalls. These storms scared him until he began to learn more about them. Then he thought they were “really cool,” he says. Daniels dreams of a weather-related career, like being a meteorologist at a TV station, when he retires from professional football. He knows how important weather forecasts are—whether you’re a football fan or not. “Weather affects our lives on a daily basis,” says Daniels.

1. According to the map, what was the weather like in your state on Super Bowl Sunday last February?

2. Which U.S. city on the map had the coldest temperature that day? Which had the warmest? What other city do you think had good weather for a Super Bowl game that day? Why?

3. According to the article, what are some weather conditions that make playing football challenging? In what kind of weather do you think football players might prefer to play?

Note: Daniels no longer plays for the Broncos. As of press time, he wasn’t playing for any team.

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