HOUSTON -- Sunday's Super Bowl is being played in a stadium with a retractable roof, so weather could have been a factor when the Patriots and Falcons met in Houston. But the NFL has decided to take the risk out of it and leave the roof closed during Super Bowl LI, thanks in large part to concerns about showers later in the evening.
Eric Finkelstein, the NFL's director of events, pushed back the decision on the roof until Sunday afternoon about 4 p.m. ET.
"If the weather cooperates with us -- which we hope it does -- the roof will be open," Finkelstein told the Associated Press earlier on Sunday.
The weather could easily cooperate, but there's the matter of whether or not it's worth the risk. Playing the game with the roof open is problematic if it starts raining, obviously. And there's a 10-15 percent chance of rain for later in the evening.
That's right, the NFL didn't make a decision on the status of the roof until just hours before the game. And it is closed.
Tom Brady or Matt Ryan: Who benefits more from the roof decision?
When it comes to playing indoors or outdoors, there might not be two more contrasting quarterbacks in the league than Tom Brady and Matt Ryan. Ryan played nine indoor games in 2017 while Brady played in zero. That's right, Brady didn't play a single game inside of a dome all season.
Coincidentally enough, the last time Brady played indoors came in Houston when the Patriots beat the Texans 27-6 in December 2015. In that game, Brady finished 22 of 30 for 226 yards with two touchdowns.
As for Ryan, the Falcons went 5-2 in outdoor games this year and 6-3 in indoor games.
The Falcons have been wildly more successful playing indoors throughout Ryan's career with the Falcons going 58-30. In those 88 games, Ryan has averaged 266.6 yards passing (23,461 total). In those 88 games, Ryan has thrown 150 touchdown passes and 67 interceptions.
In outdoor games, Ryan has a career record of just 27-27. In those 54 games, he has averaged 263.7 yards, which is very similar to his indoor number. However, Ryan has thrown 90 touchdown passes and 47 interceptions, which means his TD-to-INT ratio of 1.91 touchdowns for every interception isn't quite as impressive as his indoor TD-to-INT ratio of 2.24 to 1.
On Brady's end, the Patriots quarterback has been dominant indoors, going 16-4. Brady has averaged 269 yards per game indoors while averaging just 259 yards in outdoor games. Brady has thrown 42 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions indoors for a TD-to-INT ratio of 2.47-to-1, which is nowhere near his astronomical outdoor ratio of 3.07-to-1.
Basically, both quarterbacks have been good whether they're playing indoors or outdoors. However, the Falcons' 27-27 record outdoors suggests that the team as a whole struggles when it moves outside.
One other note, both quarterbacks have played fewer than 10 games in a retractable-roof stadium like NRG. We lumped those in with the dome games, since the roof was closed when they played each game.
However, if we look at those individually, here's what you get:
- Tom Brady: 6-2 record, 188 of 280 for 2,370 yards, 67.1 completion percentage, 16 touchdowns, eight interceptions.
- Matt Ryan: 2-3 record, 111 of 203 for 1,326 yards, 54.7 completion percentage, nine touchdowns, nine interceptions.
Well, it looks like Brady does have one advantage: He seems to be considerably better than Ryan when playing in a stadium with a retractable roof.
(Indoor/outdoor stats via ProFootballReference.com)