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Sports Psychology And Football: Cold Weather And Its Impact On NFL Games

Posted by: Dr. Granat on January 24, 2011

Twenty Four Issues Which Require More Research
To Help Players, Coaches, Athletic Directors And Owners

    Football coaches, team owners, fans and pundits pay attention to the ways that weather

can impact the outcome of a football game.

    Because I counsel many athletes, teams and coaches on ways to perform their best,

I am very interested in the ways that weather impacts football games and football

players at the professional level. 

     Most experts believe that a frozen field, snow and wind make it hard to for most teams

to play to their potential.  However, some ideas which players and coaches believe

need some more research to support them or to disprove them.

      For example, some believe that cold weather games are lower scoring games.

       However, data reported by Brian Burke of NFL Stats indicate that winners in cold

games may actually score slightly more points in cold weather games than in games

played during the regular season.  His data suggest that cold weather does significantly

 reduce the amount of points scored in these game cold weather games.

        In my view, there is a need for more research which will explore these questions and



  1. Does cold weather really produce more fumbles or turnovers?
  2. Does cold weather produce more interceptions?

      3.   Is running yardage reduced or increased when teams play in weather below

            twenty degrees?

  1. Do players who grew up playing in cold weather have an advantage when

they compete in cold weather games?

  1. What are the best kinds of shoes and gloves for cold weather play?
  2. Does the average run per carry go up or down in cold weather games?
  3. Do injuries go up significantly in these kinds of games?  If so, what kinds of injuries are more common and what can be done to prevent them?
  4. Does the size of a quarterback’s hands have any impact on their accuracy in

      cold weather games?

  1. Who has the advantage in cold weather games? Is it the offense or the defense?
  2.  Should teams rely on their running games in cold weather games?
  3. Do teams that play more games in cold weather conditions have an advantage  over dome teams and warm weather teams?
  4.  Should teams rely on shorter and lower passes on very windy and cold days?
  5.   How much distance, if any, do punters really lose in cold weather?
  6.   How much distance do field goal kickers lose, if any, due to temperature changes?
  7. Some players, like O.J. Simpson have had some great games on icy fields.  What enabled him and others to do this?
  8.  What allows some players to manage the cold better than others?  Is it something     physical?  is it mental toughness?  Is it training? Or is it some combination of all of these factors?
  9.  What should coaches do to prepare teams for cold weather games?
  10. At what point does whether become a factor?  Is it below twenty degrees with winds of twenty miles an hour or is it something different?
  11.   Is the total number points scored and allowed really different in cold weather games when compared with other games?
  12.   Does cold weather impact yards per carry, length of drive or time of possession?
  13.    Do players and coaches prefer to play in domes?
  14.    Would fan attendance change if more games were played in domes?
  15.    What happens when a cold weather team plays at home against a dome team?
  16.    At what point does weather really become a factor? Is it under 20 degress or is it  at a different point?


  Sport psychologists, mathematicians, physicians, trainers, league officials,

coaches and athletic directors should gather accurate data on these issues and



  My colleague and co-author of one of my books, Carlton Chin, an MIT

trained quant and I are beginning to study these issues now, so we can show

coaches and team owners how to better prepare their teams for cold weather



Jay P. Granat, Ph.D., Psychotherapist, Author, Founder,







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