Ever wonder why your fingers, toes, ears and other extremities get especially cold in frigid weather?
The body adjusts to extremely cold weather by adjusting the flow of blood. Crucial organs, such as the heart and liver, get more blood which is redirected away from the extremities, such as the fingers, toes and ears. Blood vessels in the extremities constrict, almost shutting off, leaving the skin at higher risk of frostbite.
That is the medical definition, but anybody who’s ever laced on skates in an outdoor rink, hit the slopes, or perhaps engaged in a friendly snowball fight can tell you that your motor abilities decrease in frigid weather. Throwing a football with numb fingers is not only tricky, it can be debilitating. In actuality, playing any position with numb fingers increases the odds of”finger jams”, which is only when tingling prevents you from squeezing the ball the way you normally would and increases the chance of an accident on impact with the ball or an opposing player. It’s only one of the many tiny inconveniences of playing in cold weather. Everything constricts in cold weather, for example, pigskin, leaving the ball using an entirely different sense – throwing a cold football is completely different than throwing a warm soccer with an expanded hide.
Playing in the cold is perfected through practice, so teams who are forced to practice in the cold are invariably going to perform better in that situation. Pay particular attention in cold weather games to the quarterback, and his expertise in the situation. Teams that practice at the cold primarily include Green Bay, Chicago, Denver, The Giants, Jets, Eagles, Steelers, Bills, Ravens, Patriots, Browns, Bengals, Redskins and to a lesser degree – The Chiefs and Titans. Players who exercise in chilly weather changes year to year; Brett Farvre is among the all time best – in any weather.
There were 10 regular season games in 1998 (our test season) in which the game time temperature was recorded at less than 40 degrees.
Week 10 – San Diego @ Denver – 37 degrees
Week 14 – Kansas City @ Denver – 35 levels
Week 16 – Baltimore @ Chicago – 36 degrees
Week 16 – Tennessee @ Green Bay – 29 degrees – snow
Week 17 – Minnesota @ Tennessee – 35 levels
Week 17 – Tampa Bay @ Cincinnati – 39 degrees
Week 17 – Detroit @ Baltimore – 39 degrees
Week 17 – Chicago @ Green Bay – 39 degrees
Week 17 – NY Giants @ Philadelphia – 37 degrees
Week 17 – New England @ NY Jets – 37 degrees
Do you know what the 10 coldest games of this year have in common, other than the fact that they were the 10 coldest games of the year? In each of the 10 games, the favorite won the game, usually by a landslide. In fact, the favorite had an ATS mark of 8-2 in the 10 coldest games of the year.
Not only did the favorites from these cold wars win the match, like their hot air cousins, the favorites dominated. In fact, of all the underdogs in these 10 contests, only two did the underdog score more than 16 points, Kansas City in their 35-31 loss to Denver, and Tennessee in their 30-22 loss at Green Bay. In the other eight matches, the underdogs scored only 72 points combined, or, nine points per game normally. The favorites scored 263 points combined, for better than 26 ppg on average. Again, UNDER THE TOTAL dominated the sportsbooks in these games, as the Under performed to a tune of 7-2-1 in these 10 games.
It is interesting to note that the NFL was pretty fair in the scheduling of the cold wars, as only San Diego & Tampa Bay were asked to go”out of their element” with respect to playing in cold weather. San Diego was wasted in Denver, managing just 10 points, but Tampa Bay shocked many in a 35-0 rout of the Bengals in Synergy Field in 39 degree weather.
In other words, it certainly appears that favorites in a cold weather game are preferred for good reason.