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Numerous physiologic processes follow a 24-hour circadian rhythm. The human circadian rhythm is a key element in determining the sleep/wake cycle which directly impacts fatigue and performance.
West Coast Teams Have an Advantage
In 1997, researchers at Stanford University studied the results from all Monday Night Football (MNF) games from 1970 to 19946. They found that when a west coast team hosted an east coast team they won significantly more games and by a greater margin than the east coast teams ever did. They even outperformed the predicted point spread from Las Vegas.
Over the 25 seasons, the hosting west coast teams won 63.5% of the time and won by over 14 points per game on average. East coast teams won only 36.5% of the time by an average of 9 points. The west coast teams won 59.3% of all their home games and 71% of the MNF home games.
Kick-Off Time Rules
Monday Night Football kick off time is 9:00pm EST or 6:00pm Pacific. The authors suggest that a circadian time advantage for west coast teams exists. Although this study was not designed to determine the cause for the observed advantage, it does suggest that along with extended hours of sleep, the timing of the contest may also enhance athletic performance.
6. Smith, R.S. et al. (1997). Circadian Rhythms and Enhanced Athletic Performance in the National Football League. Sleep, Vol. 20(5); 362-365.