If several teams on the West Coast get their way, a slight change could be coming to the NFL's regular-season schedule in 2018.
According to MMQB.com, three teams have proposed a bylaw that would limit the amount of early games a western team can play during the regular season. Under the proposal, no team would be scheduled "to play more than three away games with a scheduled kickoff time prior to 1:00 p.m. in the time zone of their home stadium (without consent)."
Basically, this means that a team like the 49ers would rarely be scheduled to play in away games that kickoff at 1 p.m. ET. During the 2017 season, the 49ers played five away games that kicked off at 1 p.m. ET, which feels like a 10 a.m. game to them. In those five games, the 49ers went 2-3. Instead, the western teams would play more of their away games in the 4:05 p.m. ET or 4:25 p.m. ET slots.
The 49ers are one of three teams -- along with the Chargers and Cardinals -- that are trying to get the proposal passed. Overall, those three teams combined to go 5-10 in games that kicked off at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT last year.
It's actually somewhat surprising the Raiders didn't get in on the proposal, and that's because, not only did they go 1-2 in 1 p.m. ET games last season, but there was a period from 2009 to 2015 where they lost 15 straight games played in the eastern time zone. In both 2012 and 2014, they went 0-5 playing in games that kicked off at 1 p.m. ET. (Those 0-5 records include both Eastern and Central time zone games).
It's also surprising that the Seahawks didn't get in on the proposal because they've been known to struggle in games that kick off at 1 p.m. ET, especially in the postseason. Since Pete Carroll was hired in 2010, the Seahawks have been outscored 75-0 during the first half of 1 p.m. ET playoff games.
The Seahawks went 1-1 in 1 p.m. ET regular season games in 2016, but played zero of those games last season. The Rams (4-1) were the only western team to have a winning record in 1 p.m. ET games last season. At 0-4, the Broncos were the worst.
Although it's tough to gauge how much the time change has during the regular season -- because you could have a really bad west coast team playing a good east coast team or vice versa -- the stats still hold up in the postseason, when theoretically the teams should be more evenly matched.
Since 2002, Pacific and Mountain time zone teams202-56 in the first half of all 1 p.m. ET playoff games, which means they've almost always got off to a rough start. However, things generally change in the second half, with the Western team outscoring its opponents 189-87.
Of course, if the rule passes as it's written, it would apply only to regular season games. For the bylaw to make it into the NFL rulebook, 24 of 32 owners would have to approve it at the league meetings in Orlando next week (March 25-28).