The NFL — Mother Nature, and the journey to find out how much weather has affected the game of football over the past 50 years.

From the beginning I have always wanted to know how the weather affected the total score in a game of football. As luck would have it, a dataset existed that would give me all the information that I needed. What happens next is where the story begins. I will post a link to the notebook at the end so you are able to read along.

NFL Dataset on weather conditions from 1960 -2013

This is the dataset that I exported from an excel spreadsheet and was able to save in the necessary file type. The unnoticeable is the almost 12,000 rows that this dataset holds. To start off I had to make sure that dataset was read in correctly, so that I was able to read, clean and create some visual stimulation.

While there aren’t as many columns as there are rows, I ended up removing ‘wind_chill’ and ‘weather’. I would rename those columns using all capital letters, and at the end added an additional column titled ‘TOTAL_SCORE’.

Updated columns plus addition of ‘TOTAL_SCORE’

Once I was able to remove the columns and rename them, I checked for missing values. I replaced those missing values with 0, so that I was able to create the visualization at the end of my notebook. After double checking my work and with insight from my peers, the following three graphs were the culmination of my work.

  • With Temperature, the effect of the total score of the game is not as drastic as I would have imagined. Looking closer you find that as the temperature increases between 40* and 70*, the score is significantly higher. As it approaches 80* plus, you will find that the total score of the game is significantly lower, with it dropping off completely as it hits 95*.
  • With Humidity, again it’s not as extreme as one would think. Look close and you will see that the total score peaks between the ranges of 60% and 80%. As the humidity approaches 100%, you see a gradual decline in the total score.
  • With WMPH(wind miles per hour), you most certainly cannot disregard it. This is the one graph that has the most consistent data. At 8 mph, there is a peak of almost 100 total points scored in a game. As it reaches 15 mph, the score drops off as the wind increases.

The game of football is just like a game of risk, it has its normal everyday challenges. Whether you are talking about it being too hot or too cold, verses the level of humidity from the rain or just living right on the ocean, weather will ALWAYS have an affect on the total score of the game.

As promised, I will post a link to the notebook with the work I created.