The playoffs for the 2016 NFL season will begin next weekend. While some games will be held in domed stadiums and weather will not be a factor, there will be games where weather conditions could affect play and potentially the outcome of the game.
Let’s take a look at the history of NFL playoff games in the Super Bowl era (since 1966). Specifically, we’ll note the NFL playoff games since 1966 that were played in “extreme” temperatures… those under 20 degrees, and those games that were played in temperatures above 70 degrees.
- There have been 28 NFL playoff games that have been played since 1966 in temperature under 20 degrees.
- The last playoff game played under 20 degrees was last season when the Minnesota Vikings hosted the Seattle Seahawks in a games that was played with a temperature of six below. The game was played on January 10, 2016.
- There have been four games played in temperatures below zero. In addition to the aforementioned Vikings-Seahawks battle last season, the other three: 1967, Dallas at Green Bay (13 degrees below zero); 1981, San Diego @ Cleveland (nine degrees below zero); and 2007, New York Giants @ Green Bay (one degree below zero).
- Of the 28 games, three teams hosted more than half of those games. The Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers have each hosted five playoff games under 20 degrees since 1966. Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Kansas City and Philadelphia have each hosted two of those games, while Buffalo, Cincinnati and New England have each hosted one game.
- The home team is 19-9 in these games, although in the eight playoff games played since 2000 that were played in temperatures under 20 degrees, the home team is only 3-5.
- There have been 14 NFL playoff games that have been played since 1966 in temperatures of 70 degrees and above.
- The last playoff game played at 70 degrees or above was after the 2008 season when on January 4, 2009 the Baltimore Ravens played in Miami. Temperature for that game was 78 degrees.
- The home team is 9-5 in these “warm” games.
- Thirteen of the 14 NFL playoff games since 1966 played in temperatures 70 degrees and above have been hosted by the Miami Dolphins. The other game was hosted by the Tampa Bay Bucs.
- Five of these games were played in temperatures of 75 degrees and above. The highest was previously-mentioned games between the Dolphins and Ravens (78 degrees). The others: 1978, Houston @ Miami (77 degrees); San Diego @ Miami (76 degrees); Buffalo @ Miami (75 degrees); and 1990, Kansas City @ Miami (75 degrees).
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