Effects of Age and Travel on National Football League Quarterback Performance: A Correlational Study

Brett A. Morvant, Elizabeth C. Heintz, Jeremy J. Foreman

Abstract


Background: Long-distance travel is common for professional athletes; thus, the impact of jet-lag on athletic performance is a relevant topic. Additionally, older individuals take longer to recover from exercise and post-travel fatigue; therefore, it is likely that age and travel affect performance. Objective: The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of age and travel on NFL quarterback performance. Method: A correlational research design is used to examine the effects of age and travel on NFL quarterback performance. Data were collected from pro-football-reference.com. Quarterback ratings from the 2018 NFL season are analyzed with age, distance traveled, season week, and weeks since the team’s bye week. The interaction of age and distance is also included to examine the impact of the age-distance relationship on performance. Regression analysis is used to predict quarterback ratings. Results: Season week (p = 0.04), weeks since a bye week (p = 0.041), and distance traveled (p = 0.031) have negative effects on quarterback ratings. The age-performance relationship in NFL quarterbacks is non-linear (p = 0.018), with quarterback performance decreasing during an athlete’s 20s and then increasing during an athlete’s 30s. Additionally, ratings of younger quarterbacks decrease with farther distances traveled, while the ratings of older quarterbacks increase with farther distances traveled (p = 0.072). Conclusions: Differences in performance by age with travel may be the result of different severities of jet-lag symptoms experienced by younger and older quarterbacks, as well differences in strategies for managing post-travel fatigue by athletes of different ages.

Keywords


Athletic Performance, Fatigue, Football, Jet Lag Syndrome

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijkss.v.9n.1p.45

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