PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When fans sit around and discuss playoff football, the inevitable conversation comes up of what kind of weather do we want for game time.
There are bar room arguments all the time about how the cold favors a team from the north and how a dome team just can’t win in January when they play outside, or will the windy conditions affect the QB with the weaker arm more than the one with the stronger one. The discussions go on for days on end sometimes.
These playoffs, in particular for the Eagles, it seems like that the thought of the weather and how it will change the game have been on display even more than recently, thanks to the injury to Carson Wentz and the insertion of Nick Foles into the starting role. The majority of people around the region seem to have the same sentiment when it comes to the weather and this coming Sunday’s football game: “We want the cold weather!” While that may be the sentiment of the fan base, I am here to tell you that cold weather does not spell certain victory for the Eagles on Sunday and the warmer temperatures that we might have this weekend, could actually favor the Birds more than most people think.
Over the course of the entire lifetime of the Eagles franchise they have hosted 21 total playoff games and four NFC Championship games.
The very first home playoff game held in 1948 was a cold weather victory over the then Chicago Cardinals at the locally famous Shibe Park. Over 7 inches of snow fell that day and the game time temperature was down into the low 30s, and when it was all said and done, the Eagles came away with a 7-0 victory.
Of the first five home playoff games held here in Philly, only one of them had a game time temperature warmer than 32 degrees. That game came in 1979, when the temperature was a balmy 42 and the Eagles defeated the Chicago Bears 27-17.
Also, in those first five games, the Eagles were 5-0, including winning the 1960 NFL Championship Game. Maybe it was this early success that created the idea that cold weather could help the Eagles win games.
Now let’s jump ahead to present day. As of this week the Eagles have hosted 21 total home playoff games, with a record of 14-7, pretty good. Of these 21 games, 14 have been played with temperatures 32 degrees or lower and seven played with temperatures above 32 degrees; that’s a little over half of the games played with game time temperatures below freezing.
In those 14 games the Eagles have gone 10-4, that’s a winning percentage of 71 percent! In the seven games that were played with a temperatures above freezing, the Birds are 4-3, good for a winning percentage of 57 percent.
You might think to yourself, “Well there it is!” The winning percentage of the cold weather games is 14 points better than the warmer weather games. While that is true, let’s break it down even further to accommodate the conditions that are going to be going on down at the Linc this Sunday.
The current forecast for Sunday evening calls for temperatures at kickoff to be at 44 degrees. Did you know that of the seven games played above 32, that three of them had temperatures at kickoff that were 40 degrees or warmer, like this weekend? It’s true!
The Eagles have hosted three playoff games where the temperature was 40 or more at kickoff: 1979, 2002, and once more in 2007. In these three games the Eagles went 3-0, scoring an average of 27 points and only giving up 15.
When you dig deeper into the numbers, the breakdown of how the points are distributed in all cold vs. warm games favors the warmer temperatures even more.
The Eagles, give up less points per game, 11, in games warmer than freezing, than they do in games at or below freezing when they give up 13 points per game. When you look at the weather conditions this way, while the difference is very close, a slight edge has to go to the warmer weather favoring an Eagles win by at least a small amount. That is how the stats break down for all playoff games, but since this is a NFC Championship game, let’s see how the numbers break down for those games.
The Eagles have hosted four NFC Championship games over the course of the franchise and in those games the Eagles are 2-2. We know the Eagles have hosted three playoff games where the temperature was above 40, but none of them came in an NFC Championship game. The warmest game time temperature for an NFC Championship game in Philly was 33 degrees in 2004. That will make this week’s game temperature of 44 the warmest NFC Championship game ever played in Philly. The stats don’t help the Eagles when it comes to temperatures above freezing in championship games either as they lost that 2004 game to the Carolina Panthers 14-3.
As you can see, the stats when it comes to weather work both ways when trying to decide how it affects the teams on the field. In this case I am going to give the slight edge to the warmer temperatures helping the Eagles win on Sunday and make their record 4-0 in home playoff games played in temperatures above 40 degrees! Eagles win on Sunday 14-10 and march on to Minneapolis to play in the Super Bowl!!! E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES! Fly Eagles Fly!