The truth about Bills weather

NFL Buffalo

ORCHARD PARK, NY – DECEMBER 10: Kelvin Benjamin #13 of the Buffalo Bills catches the ball as Kenny Moore #42 of the Indianapolis Colts attempts to defend him during the second quarter on December 10, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

The Bills needed Josh Allen because he’s got a big body and a strong arm to cut through the constant snow and cold. 

There was no more popular zero effort NFL Draft analysis. 

But, are Bills games the coldest in the NFL? 

Nope. Not even close. 

We went back through 20 years of NFL weather. Seemed like a nice round number that didn’t go too far beyond the history of the Texans (began play in 2002) and the Browns (1999). 

Playoffs were excluded because it’s always colder in January and it would skew successful teams more frigid. 

From 1998 to 2017, the Bills played in 51 games below 40 degrees–the temperature most often used as the Mendoza line for “cold”. 

That’s not number one in the league. (Cue Lebron James) It’s not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6. 

The Bills rank 7th. Actually, tied for 7th. They aren’t even close to first. 

That spot would, unsurprisingly, belong to the Packers at 78 cold games since 1998. The Bills also trail the Steelers (67), Browns (63), Bears (59), Patriots (53) and Broncos (52). They’re even with Cincy. 

The colder it gets, the more the Bills fall. 

Buffalo is 9th in games played below 30 degrees with 14. The (Nashville) Titans, hardly synonymous with boots and parkas, have played in just one less at 13. 

The Bills have only kicked off three games in the last 20 years under 20 degrees. That’s tied for ninth with the Titans. There are nine teams even for tenth with two sub-20 degree games, including such well known ski vacation spots as Dallas, Atlanta (they play in a dome!) and Houston (them, too!). 

There have been a total of seven NFL regular season games in the single digits or below. Green Bay has played in three of them. None involve the Bills. 

This doesn’t mean Buffalo isn’t cold. Remember… the Bills don’t play all their games at home.

The Steelers, Browns and Bengals rank higher in cold games, in part, because they have to play in each other’s similarly icy climate every season. Buffalo’s weekend in New Jersey is warm and toasty by comparison, let alone Miami. 

Division road trips account for only five Buffalo cold weather games. The three AFC North teams have all played at least twice that. 

The other difference involves something the Bills have participated in almost as rarely as the playoffs over the last 20 years. 

Night games. 

Buffalo has appeared in five prime time cold weather games since 1998. The Packers have played 24, the Broncos 18 and the Steelers 17. 

Most of those games would have been cold even at 1pm, but Green Bay (8), Pittsburgh (7) and Denver (7) all picked up a few extra cold games with a night time start. Buffalo had just three that missed out on “warm” afternoons. 

The Bills are fifth in cold weather games played at home with 39, though the totals are much closer beyond Green Bay. The Packers have totaled 59 cold games at Lambeau (nearly three of eight per year). After that, it’s Pittsburgh with 42. The Bears and Browns follow at 40 apiece. 

While the Bills may rank unexpectedly low in cold weather games, they are unexpectedly high in windy games. 

The threshold when point totals and play calling begins to be noticeably affected by the wind is 15 miles per hour. The Bills have played in 65 such games since 1998, the most in the league. 

No one circles the windmills like the Buffalo Bills.

Again, the company you keep makes a big difference. The Patriots, Dolphins and Jets all rank among the top eight teams in high wind home games.

Yep, you read that right. The Dolphins match the Pats in fifth place with 30 wind affected home games. In fact, since the significantly calmer MetLife Stadium opened in 2010, Miami has hosted nearly as many 15 mph+ games (22) as the Giants and Jets COMBINED (26). 

The Browns actually nip the Bills for the top spot in home high wind games (39 to 38). 

Chicago, you ask… aren’t they the so-called “Windy” City? You wouldn’t know it at Bears games. Their 26 home high wind games are ninth and they’ve only played in 33 overall since 1998 (two dome teams in the division don’t help). Jacksonville has played more high wind games. 

Snow in Buffalo is legend, but maybe because it’s still semi-rare. The Bills have played only 23 games with significant rain or snow in 20 years, with 18 in Orchard Park. 

A decent Bills fan could probably name half of them off hand (The Ricky Williams game, the 8-0 Browns game, last year’s Indy game). There have been 11 snow games, or just more than one every other season. 

Nineteen Bills games have featured winds over 15 miles per hour AND temps below 40. That still leaves 97 in 20 seasons with one or the other, which works out to nearly five a year and only trails Green Bay’s 99 such games.

Brandon Beane would never admit to basing the franchise altering decision of selecting Allen on the Buffalo climate alone, but having to deal with some weather issue for more than a quarter of every season certainly gets your attention.

Maybe Armchair Mel had a point, even if he really didn’t know why. 

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