Pilot data from a recent study suggest that NFL teams have better performance during night games versus afternoon games due to advantages from circadian rhythms.
It is well established that NFL teams on the West Coast win more night games, dating back to the 1970s. Recent data conclude that the night game advantage for West Coast teams is due to fewer regular season injuries to linemen. This study expanded upon these historical data sets to determine additional factors producing a circadian advantage in performance due to season schedules.
Results show that winning teams had a circadian-dependent advantage of fewer turnovers. Winning teams had fewer turnovers during late evening games starting at 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. Eastern time, representing an upswing of circadian-regulated alertness, compared to afternoon games starting at 1 p.m. or 4 p.m. Eastern time, representing a downswing of circadian-regulated alertness.