Football is known as a game of inches, but for the Arizona Cardinals, the Oakland Raiders, the San Diego Chargers, the San Francisco 49’ers, and the Seattle Seahawks it’s a game of miles, thousands of miles.
While gaining yards on the gridiron has proved difficult for most of the aforementioned “West Coast teams,” overcoming the thousands of miles they have to travel to play teams on the East Coast is proving insurmountable.
West Coast teams are 0-14 in games played on the East Coast. If you include the city of New Orleans, West Coast teams are 0-15. If you include London, their win-loss record falls to 0-16.
For games starting at 1 PM ET, West Coast teams are 2-15 (the two wins coming against the lowly St. Louis Rams and the rebuilding Kansas City Chiefs).
Conversely, East Coast teams are 3-6 in games played on the West Coast.
Now, I know what you’re saying, “West Coast teams are awful this year.”
I understand that. The left coast quintet has a combined overall win-loss record of 18-32. Only one team, the Cardinals, is a lock for the postseason.
However, San Diego was in the AFC championship game last year, and Seattle has made the playoffs each of the last four seasons. There’s still some talent in the west, and that’s why 0-14 is significant, regardless of the region’s current failures.
The fact that a West Coast team has yet to win on the East Coast, the fact that West Coast teams have a 0.133 winning percentage in games starting at 1 PM ET, clearly reveals the five west coast teams are at a competitive disadvantage when compared to the other NFL franchises.
The NFL needs to address this problem. Franchises shouldn’t be punished because they operate in Arizona, California or Washington state. Besides, the NFL would have changed the schedule yesterday if East Coast teams were 0-14 on the West Coast.
The solution is easy: Start all games featuring West Coast teams at 4 PM ET. While that won’t alleviate the problems associated with travel, it will allow West Coast teams to operate on Pacific Time.
Obviously, I’m a supporter of one of these West Coast teams, the Seahawks. While I’m not using their four loses on the East Coast as an excuse for their poor season, I do view their cross-continental trips as a contributing factor to their 2-8 record.
After all, the two divisions in which the West Coast teams plays are very weak. One additional win by any of the five teams and they are right back in playoff contention.
That’s why 0-14 is significant and that’s why the miles matter.
Author’s note: While Arizona is located in the Mountain Time Zone, the state doesn't recognize daylight savings time. Up until Nov. 2, the Cardinals were effectively in the same time zone as the four other West Coast teams.