Avoiding kickers in poor weather locations
Posted Nov. 17 at 11:26 AM
Somebody asked about a question about weather and kickers a few weeks back. I thought it was a good one. He asked, in essence, whether he should look to get rid of a kicker from Green Bay or Buffalo at midseason because of weather concerns?
I’ve now had a chance to research that a little bit. My answer is no.
I have looked at data from the 1999-2010 season – over 6,000 games. From the numbers I’ve looked at, I don’t see much difference caused by the seasons.
The worst weather teams include the Steelers, Bills, Bears, Packers, Patriots, Browns. All of those teams tend to run into weather issues, and five of them also play on a natural grass surface. Yet that hasn’t had much of an impact on their overall production. Those teams, in their first five games of the season in the last 12 years, have averaged 6.75 kicking points per game; they’ve averaged 6.56 in their last five games, on average. Not a huge difference. (In their middle seven games, they were up at 6.95).
There’s a bigger difference for the dome-based teams. They averaged 6.92 points in those first five games, then dropped to 6.66 (insert devil joke if you want) in those final five. They were at 6.72 in their middle seven.
Warm-weather based teams were pretty similar: 6.58 in first five, dropping down to 6.48 in final five.
I’ve also got numbers for what I call “intermediate” cities. Seattle, Baltimore, Kansas City, the two New Yorks, etc. I’m not a meteorologist, but those teams to have some weather issues, but not as much as those teams I put in the first class. Their numbers are also unremarkable. They went for 5.42 points per game in Weeks 1-5, dipping down to 5.33 in their final five.
My conclusion: It doesn’t, at the start of the year, make a lot of sense to intentionally avoid selecting kickers from teams like Chicago, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, etc. Of the four groups I looked at, those kickers were the 2nd-highest scoring.
Now the study I did was brief. I don’t have access to as much info as I would like. To really get a focused look at weather, I would like to have all 6,000 of those games, with a temperature and wind speed for each. For the numbers I cited, sometimes the “bad weather” team was actually kicking in a dome. And the numbers of the sunny/dome teams include what they did while trying on the road in adverse weather conditions.
I would still be nervous about starting any kicker if the weather forecast indicated it would be 13 degrees, with winds over 30 miles per hour.
But in a big-picture sense, it doesn’t make sense to avoid selecting kickers because you’re concerned about the weather in their part of the country.
Posted by EDWARD BECKER | Nov. 17 at 03:22 PM
The NFL kickers are so skilled that rain and snow have very little impact. The only weather condition that I have seen cause some kicking issues are swirling winds, and those can be an issue at any of the outdoor stadiums.
Posted by JEFF FOSTER | Nov. 19 at 09:19 PM
really, you have never seen kickers struggle in drenching rain??? (pitt-mia- 3yrs back), never see the snow plow game?....never seen a kicker slip in deep sloppy mudd?..most significantly, some leagues give more bonus points for longer kicks--over 40 yd is more, over 50 yds even more..so a frozen football definitely isnt gonna travel as far as a warm one...vinateri had a great 47 yarder against the raiders years ago, but that's why the kick was considered so great---it was far, and in the snow, and yes a little breezy... so i guess you could say that I do not concur
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