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Does it matter when your bye week is?

Posted by Doug on April 11, 2006

One more quick schedule thought:

I have often wondered whether the NFL could, either intentionally or inadvertantly, give a team an advantage by putting their bye week later in the year. Wouldn't you rather your team have a week 10 bye than a week 3 bye? Who needs a week 3 bye?

First let's just check to see if the bye week itself is an advantage. Since 1995, all teams combined have a 174-164 record in the week following a bye. That's 51.5%, which is not significantly different (in the official statistical sense) from 50%.

Now let's break that down by week:

Bye week Rec. after bye
1 1- 2
2 2- 3
3 19-18
4 21-20
5 23-20
6 27-18
7 20-23
8 23-20
9 17-16
10 12-13
11 2- 3
12 0- 3
13 1- 2
14 2- 1
15 1- 2
16 3- 0

Just to make sure that's clear, the '8' line means that teams who had a week 8 bye were a collective 23-20 in week 9.

Again, nothing to see here. If I were more ambitious I would check to see if the the teams who have historically been given early byes were, as a whole, significantly stronger or weaker than those given late byes. I would also throw out the games in which both teams were coming off a bye.

But at least at first glance, what you should take from this post is that Doug likes playing with his database and is a little bit paranoid. If the NFL is rigging the bye weeks, it is at least not being too obvious about it.