Jan 5, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) is tackled by San Diego Chargers linebacker Jarret Johnson (96) during the 2013 AFC wild card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. The Chargers defeated the Bengals 27-10. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Home Field Advantage: Does It Really Matter?

Throughout the year NFL teams compete and play in the regular season to obtain one goal. The playoffs start a new season for some along with the fans but does it really matter where you’re seeded? Whether you squeak in on the last day or if you claim your spot weeks earlier the same goal is in place. On many of occasions we have seen the least likely of teams win their games at hand and get the chance to play for the trophy. That being said did anyone really take a look to see how close it is record wise?

Looking back to 2010 the overall record isn’t that far off. Going through the wins and loses its looks to have the home team winning 20-14 (including this year so far). It kind of surprised me in how close it was seeing that everyone looks at the top teams to be just that. Some theories I thought about as to why the gap wasn’t farther apart may or may not be right but certainly plays a role in the outcome.

The first being a team that has their playoffs start within the regular season. What I mean by that is when a team doesn’t start off well it’s their job to get things in order to play as a team and get back into the hunt. This to me can make a team very dangerous as opposed to a team that holds back its starters in the latter part of the season or plays differently to just get by without injury. Just in that short time the top team has the tendency to get out of its regular habits because of the layoff. Now it’s definitely not always the case but in my opinion gaining that win on the road could just strengthen a team to make them believe they could win anywhere.

Next is just simply where a team stays prior to the game. When you’re the home team you will get to sleep in your own bed and make it to the stadium at whatever time is required. That is all fine and good nevertheless that lack of communication to some could be the meaning of getting the victory. Now on the other hand the visitors are at the hotel as a team and more than likely going over everything possible with little distractions. This may just be humorous to some but I believe the connection with your teammates before a big game truly helps your chances.

Lastly I believe  the home team the favorite in most cases may have a hard time dealing with the pressure and in the end results in the loss. Sure the fans will get behind their team from the beginning but what happens when it doesn’t go their way? The team may try to do too much and it just gets worse. Just take a look at Andy Dalton from this past weekend. Everybody knowing he has the skill but is unable to finish out the big games. I’d bet pretty highly those fans got to him and in turn he tried to do way more than he needed to. Untimely turnovers and just flat out bad plays caused the fans to really give it to him at times. Being a sports athlete at a high level is a lot of people’s dreams in this world but not when it’s going in the wrong direction. Having that away game in the end may just let a team play a little more freely and not worry about what their fans want or do during a game.

There you have some on why the home field advantage may not be all that important. So it may not really matter where you’re seeded when the regular season comes to an end but rather knowing you’re in and have a shot.

Tags: NFL Playoffs