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Chargers not fazed by coast-to-coast travel


Picture this: It is 10 a.m. on Sunday morning. What are you doing? Just waking up? Making coffee? Still sleeping? One of these three is probably what most of us are doing.

Save for the San Diego Chargers (and of course, the Bills faithful).

Since the analytics movement made its way to the NFL, a curious topic has been how west coast teams fare when traveling to the east coast and playing a 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time game. The idea being that the internal clock of the west coast team is still on Pacific Standard Time (i.e. the players feel like they're playing football at 10 a.m.) and the long travel tires the players out.

When asked about whether he thinks it's been a factor for his team over the years, Chargers QB Philip Rivers admitted he wasn't sure, which is understandable when you look at the numbers.

Since the 2009 season, the Chargers are 10-8 when playing at 10 a.m. Pacific time. Last year they were 3-2 when playing on the road against Eastern time zone clubs, including their AFC Wild Card win at Cincinnati. A .600 winning percentage on the road in the NFL is rare, let alone when traveling across three time zones.

As well as San Diego has fared in recent years there are multiple studies that confirm the advantage that east coast teams have when hosting west coast opponents. East coast teams win close to 70 percent of the time in those matchups.

So not only do the Chargers win more games than expected at the 10 a.m. hour, but they play better at that time than in their other away game time slots. Asking the Chargers about the travels they must make every year to the Eastern time zone however, won't illicit any self-pity.

"In our building, it's a nonissue. It's not brought up, there's nothing to talk about," said Rivers. "We practice every day at the 10 o'clock hour every day of the week. We're in here at seven o'clock, and we've got a lot of guys getting here way before then. It really is a non-issue. We've got to go there and get ready to play and go kick it off."

Head coach Mike McCoy echoed these words in saying that they start every day of the week at 7:20 a.m., and that it's just another football game.

So is the Chargers travel east to play in Orchard Park an advantage for the Bills? It's certainly better than playing them in San Diego, but as far as Buffalo is concerned it's business as usual.

The players recognize Rivers' abilities to complete passes and do not plan to take him lightly. Rivers even praised the Bills' secondary by saying they are a super-fast group of guys that he is not too familiar with. Whether it shows in the stat-line come Sunday remains to be seen.

San Diego W-L record in Eastern time zone since 2009

Year W-L Win Pct.

2013 3-2 .600
2012 2-2 .500
2011 1-3 .250
2010 1-1 .500
2009 3-0 1.000

Totals 10-8 .555

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