A bye week in football refers to the one week off each NFL team gets during the season. The bye allows teams to recover from injuries and regain stamina that they have spent throughout the season.
It is important to distinguish a bye week from a playoff bye. A bye week is something that each NFL team gets at some point during the regular season. A playoff bye is something that is awarded to the best performing regular season teams which allow them to skip the first round of the playoffs.
When Do Bye Weeks Start And End
The first week that teams can have their bye in the 2021 NFL season is week six. Previously week four used to be the start date for bye weeks but this year it has been moved forward.
This is a move that is appreciated by teams as a week four bye is considered too early. This is because the players prefer for their week of rest to come later in the year when injuries have piled up.
The last date of bye weeks in the 2021 season is week fourteen. Keep in mind their are eighteen weeks of football this year due to the extended schedule.
The Importance Of Bye Weeks
Bye weeks are an incredibly important time of the season for NFL teams. This not only allows teams to heal from injuries but also increases your odds of winning the next game.
The improved performance of an NFL team after a bye has much greater effect than most fans realize. The extra practice time to prepare for the upcoming game allows for the team to better prepared. And the extra rest of having a week off allows the players to play the next game with more energy.
This week has such a difference on the team that it greatly affects each team’s win percentage. In fact, NFL teams playing after a bye from 2007-2010 went 65-54-1. That is sixty-five wins fifty-four losses and one tie.
This means those NFL teams won 54.16% of their game when coming off a bye. This may not seem like a huge difference but it is bigger than you think. This percentage does not take into account the quality of the teams.
You can assume that these teams should win 50% of games so a bye should give you a roughly four percent better chance of winning the game. This doesn’t sound like a lot but football is a game of inches and every percentage counts.
Injury recovery is another huge portion of the bye weeks. Many fans do not realize that football players often are playing through injuries throughout the entire season. Even if a player is listed as healthy on the injury report there is likely a few nagging injuries they are carrying. It only takes one hospital pass from your quarterback to have you feeling sore for a month or two.
The bye week gives the players a chance to recover from all their smaller injuries by having some time without contact. This is why players prefer to have their byes later in the season.
How Bye Weeks Effect Fantasy Football
Bye weeks also cause quite an uproar in the fantasy football community. This is because each player on your fantasy team is going to have one bye week during the year.
Since their team is not playing in real life you will not be able to score any points with those players in fantasy football. If you have multiple players in the same position have a bye week at the same time it can cause some issues in your lineup.
Bye weeks also determine when the fantasy football playoffs start. Since playoffs are when teams are eliminated fantasy leagues typically wait until bye weeks are over. This allows both teams to play at full strength.
This meant the fantasy football playoffs started in week 13 when byes are completed. In the 2021 season bye weeks occur until week 14 so the fantasy football playoffs will have to work around this schedule change.
Where Does The Term “Bye” Come From?
The term “bye” in football is believed to have stemmed from cricket. When a player throws a wild pitch in cricket and allows someone to score it is referred to as bye. This is because the run is scored without a player having to hit the ball.
Essentially in cricket, a bye is a term used to represent a “free run”. When a team get a bye for playoffs it is essentially stating that they have a free pass to the next run.