Special Edition “Tale of the Tape”: Northeastern/Cold Weather Football


MetLife Stadium, the site of the upcoming Super Bowl, is making everyone talk about how a cold weather Super Bowl is going to look.

We interrupt this day of Jets’ previews for a special “Tale of the Tape”. I think it’s one that you guys are going to find interesting.

With the cold weather months coming up, we always talk about “Northeastern” football. Cold weather football is everyone’s favorite thing to say. If you play in the Northeast, you have to “build your team” to play in the Northeast. We must play “smashmouth” football in December.

If you follow football long enough, you know this is an annual topic that permeates the football landscape. That was BEFORE MetLife Stadium was named to host a Super Bowl. With that fact in place, the talk on this topic only increases. People talk about the style of football, and what it will look like when the Super Bowl comes along.

But what is the true effect? How much does the dip in weather really do to the performances? That is what we are looking at this afternoon, in our special “Tale of the Tape”.

Our friends from the “Road to MetLife Stadium” program have provided some interesting stats on this topic that are a little bit eye-opening. They tell us that the effect is not as great as all of us would expect. I know I didn’t expect these results.

Courtesy of STATS, LLC, a study was done taking into account all seasons for all teams since 1991. What they did was take a look at, in both 70 degrees and higher, and sub-40 degree weather, the following categories: Total team scoring, turnovers, passer rating, and kicker performance.

The change in weather had a very limited effect on total team scoring. In 70 degrees and warmer, the overall total team scoring (both teams combined) is 42.5 points, but in sub-40 degree weather, it only drops 1.5 points to 41. I for one thought the scoring would have been far different.

What about turnovers? You would think that the cold weather brings on sloppy play. The stats say not so much. Teams tend to protect the ball fairly equally across all temperature conditions. In fact, the turnover rate in sub-40 degree conditions is only five percent higher per game (1.90) than in 70-plus degree weather (1.81).

The passer rating faces similar numbers. The average passer rating is only slightly lower in colder weather than in higher temperatures. In sub-40 degree weather the average passer rating is 76.5, opposed to an average of 81.6 in 70-plus degree weather.

The biggest effect, however, is felt in the kicking game. In temperatures above 70 degrees, kickers are successful on two-thirds of their attempts (66.8 percent), as opposed to just a 58.1 percent success rate in sub-40 degree conditions.

So, for all of the talk about how terrible a cold weather Super Bowl will be, for how sloppy it will be. Maybe not. The numbers say no.

Now back to your regularly scheduled Jets’ talk, already in progress.