July 2, 2024   4 MIN READ

Late Bloomers?

Birds Week 5 Bye Not Ideal, History Suggests


The Eagles have a Week 5 bye for the 2024 NFL season.

This is the earliest bye the NFL has for this season.

Coaches and players emphasize that the bye is an important time for a team to rest, soul-search, recover, and make adjustments for the rest of the season.

It’s generally perceived as beneficial to have a bye week that comes later during the season, to keep personnel fresh for a playoff run.

But this study, using playoff teams from 2003-2023, examined if early bye weeks have impacted playoff teams and if there truly is a favorable part of the schedule to have a bye week.

It also looks at the composition of the 260 teams that appeared in the playoffs during that time.

This graph appears to create a “Downward V” shape, which supports the notion that teams are generally in better shape if they’re off in the middle of the season, rather than earlier or later. 

In fact, the most prevalent bye week for playoff teams during this time frame has been Weeks 7 and 9 – with Weeks 8 and 10 fairly close behind. 

This could be due to the fact that the bye week windows have consistently changed each year, yet Weeks 7-9 have remained a staple week for the league.

The numbers could also be skewed because the highest volume of teams are generally on bye in the middle of the season. 

However, 15% of playoff teams in this 20-year span tended to have a Week 7 or 9 bye.

Nick Sirianni

GETTY IMAGES: The Eagles’ Week 5 bye wasn’t ideal for HC Nick Sirianni, as teams with midseason bye weeks statistically go deeper in the postseason.

Interestingly, teams with a Week 5 bye have composed 8.8% of the total playoff teams – a surprisingly higher percentage than teams that have had bye weeks in Weeks 6, 11, 12, 13 and 14. 

This data appears to indicate that the Eagles’ Week 5 bye isn’t as detrimental to playoff hopes – key term: playoff hopes – as it’s perceived to be.

What about deep postseason runs?

More specifically, when we narrow the lens from playoff appearances to Super Bowl appearances, the data tells a similar story about the advantage of bye weeks in the middle of the season.

The graph generally retains the “Downward V” shape described earlier and appears to reinforce the notion that middle bye weeks (7, 9 and 10 especially) are the optimal outcome, as teams with early and late bye weeks received much less representation in the Super Bowl.

Only four conference champions since 2003 had a bye week in Week 5, which presents more of a concern for the Eagles, who have sights set on more than just a playoff appearance.

Even more specifically, the bye week frequency of a Super Bowl champion appears much more uniform than strictly playoff teams or conference champs.

Fom 2003-2023, there’s really only one data point with a high frequency – Week 10 bye weeks, which occurred six times, or 28.6% of the time.

But the frequency of Super Bowl champions for every other bye week is unremarkable by comparison.

The 2009 Saints were the only team with a Week 5 bye to win the Super Bowl during this time span.

If the Eagles win the Super Bowl this season, they’ll be just the second time since 2003 with a Week 5 bye to accomplish the feat.


The data suggests that it’s beneficial to have a bye week that isn’t too early, or too late, in the season.

A mid-season bye represents the best shot – from a bye week-only standpoint, at competing for a Super Bowl. But it doesn’t necessarily represent the best chance to win the Super Bowl.

It’s also worth remembering that most NFL teams in that 20-year span – and even today – have their bye week sometime in the middle of the calendar, which can skew the percentages.

The Eagles’ bye week – Week 5 – is the earliest bye week for the 2024 NFL season. Four teams since the start of 2003 with a Week 5 bye have made the Super Bowl (9.5%).

The Eagles play two postseason teams from last year that have bye weeks in Week 10, the week that has overwhelmingly produced the most Super Bowl champions – the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns.

Their game against the Packers is the 2024 season opener, to be played in Sao Paolo, Brazil, on Sept. 6.

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