99 Stats Until Kickoff (#59) Do NFL teams have better records when they play in their own time zone?

List of current National Football League stadiums

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From May 30 and every day until September 5… the start of the 2013 NFL season… Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ will publish “99 Stats Until Kickoff” a daily dose of NFL stats that will get you ready for the 2013 NFL season.)

Periodically you will hear football commentators talk about a team on the east coast taking a road trip to the west coast to play a foe and how the travel may affect their performance (or vice versa).

To see if there is any significant difference between teams playing in their own time zone versus traveling to other time zones to play, I looked at the last five seasons in the NFL and tracked how well teams played within their own time zone and how well they played outside their time zone.

The findings? There is a difference. Case in point: Look below at the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers, who play in an eastern time zone city, were 49-17 (a .742 winning percentage) in games they played in the eastern time zone. But when the Steelers had to travel out of their time zone, they were only 4-10 in those five years, a .286 winning percentage. That’s a difference of .456 percentage points. That difference was the largest of any team in this five-year analysis.

All total, of the 32 NFL teams, 26 played better in their own time zones versus playing outside their time zone. To quantify it, NFL teams in the last five season were 951-832-3 (.533 winning percentage) when they played in their own time zone and 327-446-1 (.423 winning percentage) when they played outside their time zone, a difference of .110 percentage points.

Following is a look at each NFL team and their win-loss record when they played games in their own time zone and their record outside their time zone in the last five seasons (2008-12).

EASTERN TIME ZONE       In time zone                Outside time zone                   Difference
Atlanta                                     45-17 .726                   11-7 .611                                 + .115
Baltimore                                46-20 .697                   8-6 .571                                   + .126
Buffalo                                    23-42 .354                   6-9 .400                                   –  .046
Carolina                                   27-34 .443                   8-11 .421                                 + .022
Cincinnati                                31-36-1 .463                6-6 .500                                   –  .037
Cleveland                                20-48 .294                   3-9 .250                                   + .044
Detroit                                     18-34 .346                   4-24 .143                                 + .203
Indianapolis                            37-23 .617                   12-8 .600                                 + .017
Jacksonville                             23-37 .383                   4-16 .200                                 + .183
Miami                                      31-33 .484                   7-9 .438                                   + .046
New England                          50-15 .769                   10-5 .667                                 + .102
New York Giants                    37-24 .607                   11-8 .579                                 + .028
New York Jets                         38-27 .585                   5-10 .333                                 + .252
Philadelphia                            35-26-1 .573                7-11 .389                                 + .184
Pittsburgh                                49-17 .742                   4-10 .286                                 + .456
Tampa Bay                              23-36 .390                   10-11 .476                               + .086
Washington                             24-40 .375                   9-7 .563                                   –  .188

CENTRAL TIME ZONE       In time zone                Outside time zone                   Difference
Chicago                                   31-24 .564                   14-11 .560                               + .004
Dallas                                      27-21 .563                   15-17 .469                               + .094
Green Bay                               40-16 .714                   13-11 .542                               + .172
Houston                                  31-19 .620                   14-16 .467                               + .153
Kansas City                             16-28 .364                   9-27 .250                                 + .114
Minnesota                               31-24 .564                   10-15 .400                               + .164
New Orleans                           34-15 .694                   18-13 .581                               + .113
St. Louis                                  11-35 .239                   8-25-1 .250                              –  .011
Tennessee                               29-22 .569                   13-16 .448                               + .121

MOUNTAIN TIME ZONE   In time zone                Outside time zone                   Difference
Arizona                                   24-16 .600                   13-27 .325                               + .275
Denver                                    21-20 .512                   20-19 .513                               –  .001

PACIFIC TIME ZONE         In time zone                Outside time zone                   Difference
Oakland                                  17-29 .370                   13-21 .382                               –  .012
San Diego                               29-17 .630                   16-18 .471                               + .159
San Francisco                         29-15-1 .656                16-19 .457                               + .199
Seattle                                     24-22 .522                   10-24 .294                               + .228

“99 Stats Before Kickoff” (Stats you need to know before the start of the 2013 NFL season) is available from e-book publisher Smashwords. Go to www.smashwords.com to download a copy, including a pdf version which can be viewed on your home computer. Cost is $2.99

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One response

  1. Part of the stats may be related to how familiar they are with their opponents. In division/out etc

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