Commentary

Whether the weather

The cold-weather vs. warm-weather quarterback debate isn't a debate at all

Updated: June 8, 2010, 1:55 PM ET
By Bill Barnwell | Football Outsiders
Getty ImagesTrent Edwards' struggles have less to do with weather, and more to do with sheer aptitude.

Back in November, Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly bemoaned the detritus that had followed him with the Buffalo Bills: namely, recently deposed starter Trent Edwards. Unlike the Emmitt Smiths of the world, though, Kelly saw the Edwards problem as a player personnel issue that simply didn't compute:

"Whether it's Tim Tebow, whether they'll have a shot at him when draft time comes, you have to look at the top three quarterbacks in the draft, really study them. And you look for a guy with good character, good leadership ability and good arm strength -- and a guy who doesn't come from California."

Edwards responded by calling Kelly naive and suggesting that there were plenty of great quarterbacks from California. Naturally, Kelly is an invested party in the logic of cold-weather quarterbacks being suited for cold-weather games; he was born in Pennsylvania, and spent his entire professional career excelling in the land of snowdrifts.

Today, though, Kelly's theory must face the facts. We've got a game-by-game database stretching back through 1993 and a whole lot of biographical information on the quarterbacks of that time frame. Do warm-weather quarterbacks actually play worse in cold weather than their freeze-tempered brethren? Let's crunch the numbers and find out.


Can a QB can be elite in the cold if he's from a warm-weather state? Jim Kelly doesn't think so, but what does the evidence prove? You must be an ESPN Insider to find out.

Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) is a staff writer for Grantland.