10 a.m. NFL Games: The Bane of the West Coast Team
We all know the feeling. It's a few hours from midday, but you haven't yet woken up to full capacity. Maybe you accidentally put the sugar for your coffee back into the fridge and put the cream in the cabinet. Maybe you start silently hoping the kicker misses the field goal only to notice that it was your team kicking it. Maybe you call your boss or, Lord forbid, your wife the wrong name. For whatever reason most of us just don't seem right in the late mornings.
I never liked 10 a.m. games. For any East Coasters reading this, all those 1 p.m. "afternoon games" scheduled for you are at 10 a.m. for us. This means that in any given year, a Pacific Time zoner can expect to be up for kickoff at 10 a.m. for as many as six of our eight road games. Forget hot wings and beer, we watch our road games while eating scrambled eggs and drinking coffee.
I'm going to be upfront. I'm a Seahawks fan. But for today, my allegiances lie not with the Seahawks, but with all West Coast teams, because I spent this morning satiating my curiosity.
It always seems like the Seahawks get destroyed when we play our games at 10 a.m. We go into Cowboys Stadium or Lucas Oil Field and get absolutely blown out, but that's expected. What's not expected is us getting blown out by the Bills. A fake field goal? It's like the Seahawks were totally caught sleeping.
So I kicked open a spreadsheet and started filling in wins and losses for six teams: the Seahawks, 49ers, Chargers, Raiders, Cardinals, and Broncos. Over the last five years, I looked at their overall wins and losses, then wins and losses at 10 a.m. games (which I suppose are technically 11 a.m. games for Arizona and Denver).
It turns out that over the last five years, those six teams have an overall win percentage of 47.71 percent. It also turns out that their win percentage for 10 a.m. games drops to 35.56 percent. That's over a 12 percent differential.
Then again, 10 a.m. games are always road games, so maybe it's not fair to judge overall win percentage to a particular road win percentage. So I also typed in the percentages for road games that aren't at 10 a.m., and subtracted to find the win percentage for road games not played at 10 a.m. Perhaps that would be a lot closer?
Actually, that number is 45.71 percent. That's still a more than 10 percent differential, and that's only comparing road games to road games!
If your first thought is, "Well yeah, but that must be because they play against great East coast teams," don't forget that for as many of those games played against teams like the Colts or Steelers, at least as many are played against teams like the Bills, Rams, or Buccaneers. This is a massive disadvantage for West Coast teams.
Now I'm going to say two things that may seem contradictory: The San Fransisco 49ers are the best team in the NFC West this year, and they will not win their division.
Why? Because the schedule has the 49ers playing six games at 10 a.m. this season, while the Cardinals only play four, and the Seahawks only play three games that early. In the AFC I can also predict that the Chargers will have an excellent year not only because they have built a good team, but because they only play two games at 10 a.m.!
I'm sorry to tell you this. I honestly have no idea why there isn't more outcry at the blatant disadvantage caused by this scheduling. I don't know why Roger Goodell scours to punish a player like Brian Cushing who might have used steroids, giving his team an unfair advantage, and yet this giant differential in 10 a.m. and non-10 a.m. games goes without anyone batting an eye.
So why schedule these games at 10 a.m.? Is it convenience? Money? Ignorant TV executives? I don't know, and frankly I don't care. All I know is that our teams are getting the short end of the stick through bad scheduling.
If you're angry, good. I am. If your fanhood lies with a West Coast team, you should be too.
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