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Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Air and Space: Cold-weather starts

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

In this ESPN Insider piece Insider, Bill Barnwell suggests that quarterbacks from warm-weather hometowns have historically excelled in cold-weather NFL games. That conclusion got me thinking about our Air and Space collection of quarterbacks, three of whom hail from far sunnier environments.

Cold-weather performance is a limited factor for the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions, who play more than half of every season indoors. But it's not uncommon for the division to be determined outdoors in December, be it in Chicago or Green Bay.

To that end, I looked up the career cold-weather performances of all four (presumed) NFC starters. It was an especially interesting exercise when considering that the Packers' Aaron Rodgers (California), the Lions' Matthew Stafford (Dallas) and the Vikings' Brett Favre (Mississippi) all hail from what I would consider warm-weather locales.

Check out the chart below, which compares each quarterback's cold-weather stats (defined as less than 40 degrees) to their career passer rating. Based on information compiled by STATS Inc., we see that Rodgers has matched his career performance -- exactly -- when playing in cold weather. Chicago's Jay Cutler, the only quarterback among the four who hails from a Midwest state, has a slightly better rating in such conditions.

Favre hasn't hidden his distaste for cold-weather games, but on the whole, his play hasn't fallen considerably in those instances. Finally, we shouldn't read too much into Stafford's one-game history in weather less than 40 degrees. That miserable performance came last December in Cincinnati, the final game Stafford played before succumbing to his separated left shoulder.