Does anyone (except for the earliest of early birds) actually think that it is fair for a West Coast NFL team to play East Coast teams on Sundays, at what is essentially, for them, 10 a.m. (1PM EDT)?
As everybody knows, the human body is governed by circadian rhythms—they tell you when to get up, when to eat, and when to go to bed. Since the teams usually work out in the afternoons during the week, the afternoon is when their bodies are most naturally geared toward playing games.
Obviously, each team and individual should do their best to get themselves ready to play, from practicing early all week, to staying on the East Coast all week, to waking up ultra-early on game days, but those are merely mitigating strategies.
The fact remains that it is tougher, as a whole, for West Coast players to get their bodies ready for a 10 a.m. (PDT) East Coast clash, after traveling across three time zones two days before. And even if steps are taken to alleviate these effects, teams shouldn’t have to take them (especially since there are other options available) because they take a team out of their broader in-season rhythm.
This isn’t fair. After all, football is a game of inches—everything each member of the team does needs to be in-sync with the rest of the team.
One sluggish player, a few slightly sluggish players, or a whole team of slightly sluggish players can make all the difference in a game. It can start by a team getting abused on a few plays, which leads to them feeling down, the other team scoring multiple times, and by the time some of the guys’ bodies are fully up-and-running at top speed, the whole game can already be drowned by the snowball effect of failure (i.e. inept play breeding more inept play).