FanPost

Prep Time & Game Outcomes: An Analysis By The Numbers

Sure it seems plausible that facing teams coming off a bye week is not the best of situations. Assuming your team is not coming off of a bye itself, the opposition has had both a greater chance to rest and heal, and to figure out strategy to deal with your team. But does this seeming advantage translate to extra wins? That's the main question this post tries to answer.

To answer this, and related questions I took a look at data representing the last 10 NFL seasons. The data was readily available at Pro-Football-Reference.com in CSV format, so a big shout out to this site for making this aspect of the job so convenient. Next, I pulled the data first into Microsoft Access for the initial transformations and cleanup, and then into Microsoft SQL Server where the heavy lifting, including calculations of the prep time for each team/game was done. In the IT world this type of activity is called an ETL (for extract, transform and load) routine, and the end result is a data warehouse or data mart.

There were 2 tie games in this 10 season time span. I eliminated these games from the data as they would have skewed the results.

In addition to the data mart I also built a front end page that will show detail on the actual games that the summary results for each section represent. You can click on the links to display the results.

Overall outcomes by prep time

I first looked at the set of all games where there was at least some disparity in prep time.

Overall Outcomes By Prep Time Summary
Advantaged Wins Advantaged Team Win Percentage Disadvantaged Wins Disadvantaged Team Win Percentage
417 51.040 400 48.960

There didn't seem to be too much advantage to having extra prep time, so I decided to dig a little deeper.

Outcomes by discrepancy in prep time

Next, I broke down the outcomes by discrepancy in prep time. I thought that it might be the case that as the disparity between the winner and loser's prep time grew, so might the win percentage of the advantaged teams.

Outcomes By Discrepancy In Prep Time Summary
Discrepancy (Days Of Prep Time) Count Of Advantaged Team Wins Count Of Disadvantaged Team Wins Advantaged Team Win %
1 165 192 46.218
2 8 10 44.444
3 59 57 50.862
4 4 3 57.143
6 22 14 61.111
7 153 115 57.090
8 6 9 40.000

There are some seemingly counter-intuitive results here. For instance, where there is a one day disparity in prep time, the disadvantaged teams won almost 54% of the games. This result might be explained by better teams being featured on Monday night football. Another seeming anomaly is that only 40% of games were won by a team with an 8 day advantage in prep time, but perhaps this can be explained by the relatively small number of games played with this disparity.

The results for 6 and 7 day disparities fall in line with my initial expectations. These larger disparities yield outcomes that favor the advantaged teams by larger margins then the smaller disparity categories. I'm not going to say these results are "statistically significant", because frankly I couldn't find a coherent explanation on the web as to what this means. Maybe some of you out there with Stat backgrounds can weigh in on this. Instead of heading down the academic path, I thought it might be useful to compare the 57.090 win percentage of the advantaged teams in 7 day disparity games with the win percentage of the home team over the same time period. As we all know, Vegas puts the home field advantage at 3 points. It should be interesting to see which win percentage is larger.

Outcomes by location

This is just a simple Home/Away breakdown:

Outcomes By Location Summary
Team Count Of Wins Count Of Losses Win %
Away 1133 1525 42.626
Home 1525 1133 57.374

What the seven day advantage in prep time is worth in terms of points

As we all can see the win percentage of the those teams enjoying a 7 day advantage in prep time over their opponents (57.090) is virtually identical to the win percentage of home teams(57.374). If the home field advantage is 3 points, then the "bye prep" advantage is 2.985 points to be exact. But c'mon man - I say call it a field goal and leave it at that.

Bye games - which teams have benefited or been hosed by the schedule makers

Assuming that the "bye prep" advantage is worth 3 points, to which teams have the NFL schedule makers been giving those field goals to? The answer can be found in the following table. Sorry about the big blast of data, I would have put the table in a containing element with scrollbars but the BGN fanpost tool wouldn't let me. This is a breakdown by team and year of seven day discrepancy prep time games. The Count Of Adverse Games column is the number of games that the team has the disadvantage in prep time, Count Of Favorable games shows the opposite. The Hose Factor column is Adverse Games minus Favorable Games. The higher this number the worse the hosing! As you can see, the Falcons and Cowboys have the highest Hose factor in the last 10 years - The Falcons in 2009, and the Cowboys in 2003. But note that the Eagles schedule this year, as both JimmyK and GreenInBaltimore have pointed out is equally as bad. (Note: The following table is reporting results for 2012 but does not include games for the 2012/2013 season, only the results from week 17 of the 2011/2012 season. Thanks to Udalango for bringing this to my attention.)

Outcomes By Seven Day Discrepancy In Prep Time Summary
Team Year Count Of Adverse Games Count Of Favorable Games HoseFactor
Atlanta Falcons 2009 4 1 3
Dallas Cowboys 2003 3 0 3
Atlanta Falcons 2003 3 1 2
Baltimore Ravens 2009 2 0 2
Baltimore Ravens 2006 2 0 2
Buffalo Bills 2005 3 1 2
Buffalo Bills 2007 2 0 2
Cincinnati Bengals 2008 2 0 2
Cincinnati Bengals 2002 2 0 2
Dallas Cowboys 2006 3 1 2
Denver Broncos 2009 2 0 2
Green Bay Packers 2011 2 0 2
Jacksonville Jaguars 2009 2 0 2
Miami Dolphins 2010 2 0 2
New England Patriots 2004 2 0 2
New Orleans Saints 2007 2 0 2
Pittsburgh Steelers 2007 2 0 2
Pittsburgh Steelers 2011 2 0 2
Tennessee Titans 2002 2 0 2
Tennessee Titans 2009 2 0 2
Washington Redskins 2006 3 1 2
Washington Redskins 2005 2 0 2
Atlanta Falcons 2004 2 1 1
Atlanta Falcons 2008 1 0 1
Buffalo Bills 2004 1 0 1
Buffalo Bills 2003 2 1 1
Carolina Panthers 2002 1 0 1
Chicago Bears 2005 1 0 1
Chicago Bears 2004 2 1 1
Chicago Bears 2006 1 0 1
Cleveland Browns 2008 2 1 1
Cleveland Browns 2003 1 0 1
Cleveland Browns 2011 2 1 1
Denver Broncos 2011 1 0 1
Denver Broncos 2003 1 0 1
Denver Broncos 2002 2 1 1
Denver Broncos 2007 1 0 1
Detroit Lions 2004 2 1 1
Green Bay Packers 2004 1 0 1
Green Bay Packers 2009 1 0 1
Houston Texans 2009 2 1 1
Houston Texans 2006 2 1 1
Houston Texans 2010 1 0 1
Houston Texans 2008 2 1 1
Houston Texans 2011 2 1 1
Indianapolis Colts 2011 2 1 1
Indianapolis Colts 2010 1 0 1
Jacksonville Jaguars 2004 2 1 1
Kansas City Chiefs 2004 1 0 1
Kansas City Chiefs 2007 1 0 1
Kansas City Chiefs 2008 1 0 1
Miami Dolphins 2003 1 0 1
Miami Dolphins 2009 1 0 1
Minnesota Vikings 2002 1 0 1
Minnesota Vikings 2005 2 1 1
New England Patriots 2010 1 0 1
New England Patriots 2005 2 1 1
New Orleans Saints 2006 1 0 1
New York Giants 2008 1 0 1
New York Jets 2005 1 0 1
New York Jets 2002 2 1 1
Oakland Raiders 2011 2 1 1
Oakland Raiders 2005 1 0 1
Oakland Raiders 2008 1 0 1
Philadelphia Eagles 2010 1 0 1
Philadelphia Eagles 2011 2 1 1
San Diego Chargers 2005 2 1 1
San Diego Chargers 2004 1 0 1
San Diego Chargers 2008 2 1 1
San Diego Chargers 2006 2 1 1
San Francisco 49ers 2006 1 0 1
San Francisco 49ers 2007 1 0 1
San Francisco 49ers 2010 1 0 1
San Francisco 49ers 2002 2 1 1
Seattle Seahawks 2010 2 1 1
Seattle Seahawks 2004 2 1 1
St. Louis Rams 2009 2 1 1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2006 2 1 1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2007 2 1 1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2002 2 1 1
Tennessee Titans 2003 2 1 1
Tennessee Titans 2008 1 0 1
Washington Redskins 2008 1 0 1
Arizona Cardinals 2008 1 1 0
Arizona Cardinals 2003 1 1 0
Arizona Cardinals 2005 1 1 0
Arizona Cardinals 2002 1 1 0
Arizona Cardinals 2012 0 0 0
Atlanta Falcons 2006 1 1 0
Atlanta Falcons 2005 0 0 0
Atlanta Falcons 2012 0 0 0
Atlanta Falcons 2007 1 1 0
Atlanta Falcons 2010 1 1 0
Baltimore Ravens 2010 1 1 0
Baltimore Ravens 2004 1 1 0
Baltimore Ravens 2012 0 0 0
Baltimore Ravens 2003 1 1 0
Buffalo Bills 2002 1 1 0
Buffalo Bills 2012 0 0 0
Buffalo Bills 2011 1 1 0
Buffalo Bills 2010 1 1 0
Buffalo Bills 2006 1 1 0
Carolina Panthers 2009 0 0 0
Carolina Panthers 2007 0 0 0
Carolina Panthers 2004 1 1 0
Carolina Panthers 2008 1 1 0
Carolina Panthers 2011 1 1 0
Carolina Panthers 2012 0 0 0
Chicago Bears 2012 0 0 0
Chicago Bears 2002 0 0 0
Chicago Bears 2007 1 1 0
Chicago Bears 2008 1 1 0
Chicago Bears 2010 1 1 0
Cincinnati Bengals 2010 1 1 0
Cincinnati Bengals 2007 0 0 0
Cincinnati Bengals 2005 1 1 0
Cincinnati Bengals 2012 0 0 0
Cleveland Browns 2006 1 1 0
Cleveland Browns 2002 1 1 0
Cleveland Browns 2012 0 0 0
Cleveland Browns 2005 0 0 0
Cleveland Browns 2007 1 1 0
Cleveland Browns 2004 1 1 0
Cleveland Browns 2010 1 1 0
Dallas Cowboys 2004 0 0 0
Dallas Cowboys 2008 0 0 0
Dallas Cowboys 2007 1 1 0
Dallas Cowboys 2012 0 0 0
Dallas Cowboys 2011 1 1 0
Dallas Cowboys 2005 1 1 0
Dallas Cowboys 2002 1 1 0
Dallas Cowboys 2009 1 1 0
Denver Broncos 2006 1 1 0
Denver Broncos 2012 0 0 0
Denver Broncos 2008 0 0 0
Denver Broncos 2010 1 1 0
Detroit Lions 2007 1 1 0
Detroit Lions 2008 1 1 0
Detroit Lions 2012 0 0 0
Detroit Lions 2011 0 0 0
Detroit Lions 2002 0 0 0
Detroit Lions 2009 1 1 0
Green Bay Packers 2006 1 1 0
Green Bay Packers 2002 0 0 0
Green Bay Packers 2003 1 1 0
Green Bay Packers 2012 0 0 0
Green Bay Packers 2008 0 0 0
Green Bay Packers 2010 1 1 0
Houston Texans 2004 1 1 0
Houston Texans 2007 1 1 0
Houston Texans 2012 0 0 0
Houston Texans 2003 1 1 0
Indianapolis Colts 2003 1 1 0
Indianapolis Colts 2002 1 1 0
Indianapolis Colts 2012 0 0 0
Indianapolis Colts 2005 1 1 0
Jacksonville Jaguars 2007 1 1 0
Jacksonville Jaguars 2012 0 0 0
Jacksonville Jaguars 2011 1 1 0
Jacksonville Jaguars 2005 1 1 0
Kansas City Chiefs 2002 1 1 0
Kansas City Chiefs 2003 0 0 0
Kansas City Chiefs 2012 0 0 0
Kansas City Chiefs 2005 1 1 0
Kansas City Chiefs 2010 1 1 0
Kansas City Chiefs 2009 1 1 0
Miami Dolphins 2006 1 1 0
Miami Dolphins 2004 1 1 0
Miami Dolphins 2012 0 0 0
Miami Dolphins 2011 1 1 0
Miami Dolphins 2002 0 0 0
Minnesota Vikings 2003 1 1 0
Minnesota Vikings 2012 0 0 0
Minnesota Vikings 2010 1 1 0
Minnesota Vikings 2008 1 1 0
New England Patriots 2012 0 0 0
New England Patriots 2003 0 0 0
New England Patriots 2011 1 1 0
New England Patriots 2006 1 1 0
New Orleans Saints 2012 0 0 0
New Orleans Saints 2009 1 1 0
New Orleans Saints 2011 1 1 0
New Orleans Saints 2002 0 0 0
New Orleans Saints 2004 1 1 0
New York Giants 2010 0 0 0
New York Giants 2011 1 1 0
New York Giants 2003 0 0 0
New York Giants 2009 1 1 0
New York Giants 2012 0 0 0
New York Giants 2006 1 1 0
New York Jets 2011 1 1 0
New York Jets 2012 0 0 0
New York Jets 2010 1 1 0
New York Jets 2007 1 1 0
Oakland Raiders 2007 1 1 0
Oakland Raiders 2004 0 0 0
Oakland Raiders 2012 0 0 0
Oakland Raiders 2003 0 0 0
Oakland Raiders 2002 1 1 0
Philadelphia Eagles 2005 1 1 0
Philadelphia Eagles 2002 1 1 0
Philadelphia Eagles 2003 1 1 0
Philadelphia Eagles 2012 0 0 0
Philadelphia Eagles 2007 1 1 0
Philadelphia Eagles 2008 0 0 0
Pittsburgh Steelers 2010 1 1 0
Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 0 0 0
Pittsburgh Steelers 2003 1 1 0
San Diego Chargers 2011 0 0 0
San Diego Chargers 2007 1 1 0
San Diego Chargers 2012 0 0 0
San Francisco 49ers 2009 1 1 0
San Francisco 49ers 2008 1 1 0
San Francisco 49ers 2012 0 0 0
San Francisco 49ers 2003 1 1 0
San Francisco 49ers 2005 1 1 0
Seattle Seahawks 2005 1 1 0
Seattle Seahawks 2012 0 0 0
Seattle Seahawks 2011 1 1 0
Seattle Seahawks 2003 0 0 0
Seattle Seahawks 2008 0 0 0
Seattle Seahawks 2006 1 1 0
St. Louis Rams 2006 1 1 0
St. Louis Rams 2005 1 1 0
St. Louis Rams 2007 1 1 0
St. Louis Rams 2010 0 0 0
St. Louis Rams 2004 1 1 0
St. Louis Rams 2012 0 0 0
St. Louis Rams 2002 1 1 0
St. Louis Rams 2003 1 1 0
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2012 0 0 0
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2004 1 1 0
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2010 1 1 0
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2005 1 1 0
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2009 1 1 0
Tennessee Titans 2006 1 1 0
Tennessee Titans 2007 0 0 0
Tennessee Titans 2010 1 1 0
Tennessee Titans 2012 0 0 0
Tennessee Titans 2011 1 1 0
Tennessee Titans 2005 1 1 0
Washington Redskins 2011 1 1 0
Washington Redskins 2012 0 0 0
Washington Redskins 2010 1 1 0
Washington Redskins 2004 1 1 0
Arizona Cardinals 2007 0 1 -1
Arizona Cardinals 2010 0 1 -1
Arizona Cardinals 2004 0 1 -1
Arizona Cardinals 2011 0 1 -1
Arizona Cardinals 2006 0 1 -1
Arizona Cardinals 2009 0 1 -1
Atlanta Falcons 2011 0 1 -1
Atlanta Falcons 2002 0 1 -1
Baltimore Ravens 2002 0 1 -1
Baltimore Ravens 2011 0 1 -1
Baltimore Ravens 2007 0 1 -1
Baltimore Ravens 2005 0 1 -1
Baltimore Ravens 2008 0 1 -1
Buffalo Bills 2008 0 1 -1
Buffalo Bills 2009 0 1 -1
Carolina Panthers 2006 0 1 -1
Carolina Panthers 2005 0 1 -1
Carolina Panthers 2010 0 1 -1
Carolina Panthers 2003 0 1 -1
Chicago Bears 2003 0 1 -1
Chicago Bears 2011 0 1 -1
Chicago Bears 2009 0 1 -1
Cincinnati Bengals 2009 0 1 -1
Cincinnati Bengals 2006 0 1 -1
Cincinnati Bengals 2003 0 1 -1
Cincinnati Bengals 2011 0 1 -1
Cincinnati Bengals 2004 0 1 -1
Cleveland Browns 2009 0 1 -1
Dallas Cowboys 2010 0 1 -1
Denver Broncos 2004 0 1 -1
Denver Broncos 2005 0 1 -1
Detroit Lions 2005 0 1 -1
Detroit Lions 2010 0 1 -1
Detroit Lions 2003 0 1 -1
Detroit Lions 2006 0 1 -1
Green Bay Packers 2007 0 1 -1
Green Bay Packers 2005 0 1 -1
Houston Texans 2005 0 1 -1
Houston Texans 2002 0 1 -1
Indianapolis Colts 2008 0 1 -1
Indianapolis Colts 2007 0 1 -1
Indianapolis Colts 2004 0 1 -1
Indianapolis Colts 2006 0 1 -1
Indianapolis Colts 2009 0 1 -1
Jacksonville Jaguars 2006 0 1 -1
Jacksonville Jaguars 2010 0 1 -1
Jacksonville Jaguars 2008 0 1 -1
Jacksonville Jaguars 2003 0 1 -1
Jacksonville Jaguars 2002 0 1 -1
Kansas City Chiefs 2011 0 1 -1
Kansas City Chiefs 2006 0 1 -1
Miami Dolphins 2005 0 1 -1
Miami Dolphins 2008 0 1 -1
Miami Dolphins 2007 0 1 -1
Minnesota Vikings 2007 0 1 -1
Minnesota Vikings 2004 0 1 -1
Minnesota Vikings 2011 0 1 -1
Minnesota Vikings 2006 0 1 -1
Minnesota Vikings 2009 0 1 -1
New England Patriots 2009 0 1 -1
New England Patriots 2002 0 1 -1
New England Patriots 2007 0 1 -1
New England Patriots 2008 0 1 -1
New Orleans Saints 2008 0 1 -1
New Orleans Saints 2010 0 1 -1
New Orleans Saints 2005 0 1 -1
New Orleans Saints 2003 0 1 -1
New York Giants 2005 0 1 -1
New York Giants 2002 0 1 -1
New York Giants 2004 0 1 -1
New York Giants 2007 0 1 -1
New York Jets 2008 0 1 -1
New York Jets 2004 0 1 -1
New York Jets 2003 0 1 -1
New York Jets 2009 0 1 -1
New York Jets 2006 0 1 -1
Oakland Raiders 2006 0 1 -1
Oakland Raiders 2009 0 1 -1
Oakland Raiders 2010 0 1 -1
Philadelphia Eagles 2004 0 1 -1
Philadelphia Eagles 2009 0 1 -1
Philadelphia Eagles 2006 0 1 -1
Pittsburgh Steelers 2006 0 1 -1
Pittsburgh Steelers 2009 0 1 -1
Pittsburgh Steelers 2004 0 1 -1
Pittsburgh Steelers 2005 0 1 -1
Pittsburgh Steelers 2008 0 1 -1
Pittsburgh Steelers 2002 0 1 -1
San Diego Chargers 2002 0 1 -1
San Diego Chargers 2003 0 1 -1
San Diego Chargers 2010 0 1 -1
San Diego Chargers 2009 0 1 -1
San Francisco 49ers 2004 0 1 -1
San Francisco 49ers 2011 0 1 -1
Seattle Seahawks 2002 0 1 -1
Seattle Seahawks 2007 0 1 -1
Seattle Seahawks 2009 0 1 -1
St. Louis Rams 2008 0 1 -1
St. Louis Rams 2011 0 1 -1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2011 0 1 -1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2003 0 1 -1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2008 0 1 -1
Tennessee Titans 2004 0 1 -1
Washington Redskins 2007 0 1 -1
Washington Redskins 2003 0 1 -1
Washington Redskins 2002 0 1 -1
Washington Redskins 2009 0 1 -1

Conclusion

The "bye prep" advantage, at least when looking at the last 10 seasons of data turned out to be bigger then I thought. An article linked to by JimmyK's second post on this topic states that "Since 1990, when the bye was first introduced, 52.6% of teams have followed up the bye with a victory." It is possible that outcomes of bye games in earlier years turned out a little differently. However it might also be true that the set of data that I chose to work this is a more accurate representation of the situation now, since it is more recent. Also the author of this article doesn't cite his source for where he got the data from. Let him show me his data warehouse :).

I guess that's it for now. I suppose I could go into further detail regarding the success of individual teams when they're in the bye situation, but maybe I'll save that for another post. Please let me know if you see any issues or problems with anything I've posted.

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