One of the proposed rules changes of for the 2018 NFL season was brought up by the San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, and Los Angeles Chargers. It calls for teams to play no more than three games a season in which the time at their home stadium is 10 a.m., something that clearly impacts West Coast teams.
Ben Volin of the Boston Globe shared the official justification that the teams used for the proposal.
“Current scheduling rules can result in a single team playing up to 6 away games with an inherent disadvantage while their divisional opponents may only have 1 such game. Playing in the early Sunday time slot after long travel reduces the win rate for the road team from 45.2% to 33.5%.”
This is an obvious concern for West Coast teams.
What’s mildly surprising is that the Oakland Raiders didn’t join forces with the 49ers, Cardinals, and Chargers. Like the Chargers, the Raiders share a division with the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs, teams that are not in the Pacific Time Zone and never have to play games at 10 a.m. local time. That will not change after the pending move to Las Vegas, either, as Vegas is always in the Pacific time zone.
We’d also guess that the Cardinals, in particular, felt especially targeted here. In 2017, Daylight Savings time ended on November 5. But since Arizona doesn’t change times in either the fall or spring, none of the Cardinals games after that day kicked off at 10 a.m. Arizona time. Still, four of the seven games that the Cardinals played before November 5 were played at 1 p.m. Eastern, or 10 a.m. in Arizona. The Cardinals were 2-2 in that stretch. The 49ers, meanwhile were 2-3 in those kind of games, while the Chargers were 2-2.
Given that the NFL has teams in four time zones on the Continental U.S., there’s never going to be a perfect solution when it comes to scheduling. But this is certainly a reasonable argument from these teams.