Are the Buffalo Bills even good in cold weather? - The Buffalo News

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Are the Buffalo Bills even good in cold weather?

The Buffalo Bills are known for playing in the cold. After last week's game in near-blizzard conditions, even The Weather Channel saluted the city for having the "NFL's worst and most awesome weather."

The local thought is that frigid temperatures should give the Bills some sort of edge. One of coach Marv Levy's famed slogans during the Super Bowl era was, "When it's too tough for them, it's just right for us," and that's still applied to the weather today.

And when discussion arises of building a domed stadium in the future, one of the first responses is usually something to the effect of: No way, playing indoors would give up one of Buffalo's biggest advantages. 

But rarely is the question asked, are the Bills even good in cold weather?

A look at the data says ... not exactly. At least not at home.

(Link here if chart doesn't load.)

Filtering the Bills' all-time results by game-time temperature, cold weather has not seemed to help the team at all. They have won virtually the same percentage of home games at or above 40 degrees than at 40 or below, with warmer weather having the slight edge.

Including playoff games, the Bills have an all-time winning percentage of .549 in home games when the temperature is 40 degrees or above, according to an analysis of Pro Football Reference data, but that drops slightly to .541 when the temperature is 40 or below and to .524 when it is 30 degrees or below. Their home winning percentage shoots up in extremely cold games of 20 degrees or below, though that's only a sample size of five games.

The Bills have a better winning percentage in all games when the temperature is below 40 degrees than above, but most of that is due to their increased success on the road. The Bills' all-time winning percentage is only .386 in road games at 40 degrees or above, but the team improves as it gets colder.

Interestingly, the Bills are an even .500 all-time when the temperature is 40 or below. All indoor games, including home games at the Rogers Centre, are included in the "40 or above" category.

If wins and losses don't feel like a true representation of how the Bills "performed" at home, record against the point spread is sometimes used as a proxy for a team's performance versus expectations. Pro Football Reference has data for game lines back to 1978.

But even against the spread, the Bills have done slightly worse at home when it's cold. The Bills are 52-46-1 ATS (.530) at home when the temperature is 40 degrees or below, and 121-96-9 ATS (.555) at home at 40 degrees or above.

So while Bills fans may get credit for braving the cold to attend the game, the team doesn't perform quite as well.

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