No truth to 'Monday Night Football' issue

December, 24, 2013
12/24/13
10:00
AM ET
Teams that play on "Monday Night Football" face a disadvantage the following Sunday, and there's no way to argue against it. They lose a day in preparation as well as recovery time compared to their upcoming opponent who played Sunday.

The numbers, though, say you can't use it as an excuse. Teams who play on Monday night are 16-15 the following week this season.

The issue was brought up Monday, when a reporter asked Ravens coach John Harbaugh if it was a factor in Sunday's 41-7 loss to the New England Patriots. Six days after an emotional win on "Monday Night Football" in Detroit, the Ravens suffered their largest margin of defeat under Harbaugh.

"We felt it. We fought through it all week as best we could," Harbaugh said. "Our guys were excited to play, and I thought the effort was there. They fought like crazy, but we just didn’t have enough juice to pull it off. It’s a legitimate factor. If you go back and look at the numbers and those kinds of things, it’s true. But, you’ve got to overcome it. It’s part of the deal. Everybody has scheduling issues that they’ve got to deal with in the National Football League, and that was one of ours.”

The teams who face the biggest disadvantage are the ones who play on the road on Monday night because they don't get back home until Tuesday morning. But the visiting teams on Monday night are 7-9 in their next games this season, which isn't an awful record.

Some suggest recovering from Monday night games is tougher to do later in the season, but there's no evidence to support that. In 2011 and 2012, teams who played on "Monday Night Football" in December were 8-4 the following week.

From the Ravens' perspective, the only record that matters is their own and it's not a stellar one in this situation. Sunday's loss dropped the Ravens to 3-5 under Harbaugh following "Monday Night Football" games.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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