Lets be realistic. Flying to Seattle, then back to Philadelphia, then to Los Angeles, then back to Philadelphia all within the space of about eight days is kind of stupid.
And the Eagles agree.
When they fly to the west coast in a few days ahead of their Sunday Night Football date with the Seahawks, they won’t be getting as many frequent flier miles as they can. Instead they will get themselves on Pacific Standard Time and get ready to try and clinch the NFC East with a win in Week 13. And then a week later face the Rams in Los Angeles.
“I’ve never done anything like that as a player or coach,” Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich, who played quarterback in the NFL for 14 years before coaching for the last nine, said. “I think all it is is a business decision. It’s a business trip. It’s how do we put ourselves in the best environment to succeed on a business trip to get ourselves mentally and physically ready to play? I think there’s a lot of trust in the leadership of the team and the players to say, ‘That’s what it’s going to be.’”
This is a good idea, as sleeping patterns really do have an impact on success of teams.
According to a study conductied by Genevieve Forest of the University of Quebec, West Coast teams have a circadian advantage over East Coast teams. The study looked at NFL, NHL and NBA teams and concluded that “if a team from the East Coast has an early-morning practice and a late evening game on the West Coast, the time zone differences would negatively affect their performance.”
Seattle in particular will be a challenge — as usual — with the 12th man in full force as the Seahawks and Russell Wilson look to propell themselves into a playoff spot. But perhaps the wall of sound isn’t as big a deal as many make it out to be. Afterall, Philly is a road favorite at CenturyLink Field, a feat not seen in years.
“Loud is loud, and once you’re using the silent count, you’re using a silent count.,” Reich said. “I think at this time of year, you never take anything for granted. I think we’ve gotten into a good rhythm. I think we feel comfortable.”
And Wentz has done it before, playing in a 26-15 loss in Seattle last year. A fact that will be key in their success as they try to buck last year’s setback.
“We went in there last year, obviously we’re a better team this year than we were last year,” the coach said. “They’re still a very good football team. We didn’t play our best there, but we weren’t terrible, either.”