Weather Should Have No Impact on the Selection of Quarterbacks in the NFL Draft

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
Weather Should Have No Impact on the Selection of Quarterbacks in the NFL Draft
Elsa/Getty Images

When it comes to football analysis, there isn't much that irks me more than the ideology that quarterback prospects, due to weaker arms, won't be able to perform well in a certain city due to its weather. 

It's truly become one of the sport's worst, most overblown and downright lazy philosophies, yet, it's widely accepted as concrete truth—respected experts use it in legitimate evaluations every year.

I've realized that it's almost always a smart practice to think independently before confirming to a popular notion. 

That's the idea here.

Conforming is easy and safe, and hearing many echo one's sentiments never gets old.

Sure, weather affects football, especially when it's played outside. 

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

We know that.

Weather's influence is often more noticeable from a physical perspective, but it certainly can impact the psychological aspect of the game—players, who are humans after all, don't prefer extreme temperatures, just like the rest of us.

Unfortunately, we'll never be able to truly measure how much it factors into players' game-day mindsets and how it subsequently alters on-field play. 

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

But does weather affect the game enough that a quarterback with a perceived "weaker arm" shouldn't be selected by a team based in a "cold-weather city?"

I just can't buy into that generalization.

To start, I'd characterize Chicago, New England (Foxborough), Green Bay, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Cleveland, New York, Buffalo and Denver as cold-weather cities that house NFL teams and play outdoors. 

Does that mean those organizations should only draft a quarterback with an arm strong enough to rip a football through those frigid and blustery winters? 

Conventional wisdom tells us, almost unequivocally, yes. 

However, how many games each year in those cities are truly affected by adverse weather, so much so that a signal-caller with a weaker arm wouldn't be able to make the necessary throws with the necessary velocity that a signal-caller with a big arm would make with ease? 

Not many.

At all.

Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Fans in those cities can vouch. 

"Bad weather" games are simply far more infrequent than universally assumed. 

Ultimately, the genuine "bad weather" outings will make up an exceptionally small percentage of a quarterback's games during his career.

The discrepancy between strong-armed quarterbacks and weak-armed quarterbacks playing in "bad weather" is the foundation of this flawed analysis.

According to this school of thought, passes thrown by the weaker-armed quarterback will either be knocked down, sent off target or will fail to reach the intended receiver quick enough due to "bad weather."

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The cold, not the wind, is typically thought to be the culprit.

It must be, because everyone understands that gusts of wind can appear in any city, at any time of the year, at any temperature, right?

The "cold-weather-will-highlight-weaker-arms" argument is absolutely illogical.

Wind can move a football, not the cold.

The only type of "bad weather" games that should be counted are the ones that feature excessively high winds.

Those games are even more of a rarity.

Wind is unpredictable—another reason why it shouldn't be factored into the evaluation of a quarterback's fit with a particular team. 

Chicago, Ill., the Windy City, a place that offered what many call the "Windiest Game in NFL history"—it probably was—isn't even on City-Data.com's 101 cities with highest average wind speeds, and the difference between No. 1 and No. 101 is less than four miles per hour.

Funny, isn't it?

Do you think an NFL team's local weather should factor into the evaluation of QB prospect?

Submit Vote vote to see results

The disparity is marginal to say the least.

Seriously though, since when does temperature make a difference on how hard or far a ball can be thrown?

Well, to get scientific, cold air is more dense than warm air, so yes, in theory, colder environments create more drag on the football than warmer temperatures.

But I can't imagine it having a drastic affect on a 15-yard out-route or a 40-yard bomb.

If we can agree that "bad weather" games (with high winds) will account for a minute percentage of a quarterback's career (the percentage of drives he'll lead into the wind being even smaller), and that unforeseeable breezes, not low temperature, are what truly can impact a ball in flight, then we all should realize it's extremely foolish and almost forced over-analysis for an NFL team's weather to factor into the evaluation of a quarterback prospect.  

 

Load More Stories

Follow B/R on Facebook

Team StreamTM

NFL

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.