Home field advantage. It’s so critical in the NFL that you see teams fighting to get it for the playoffs till the bitter end. Over the years the title of “best” home field advantage has changed quite a bit, but today we take a look at who we feel has the Top 10 Homefield Advantages around the NFL.
10. New York Giants – The New Giants Stadium hasn’t been around all that long, but the G-Men have had a nice homefield edge since it was built and their fans are some of the toughest in sports. It’s New York, Giants fans have always dominated the Jets in that city, and they won’t be going away anytime soon after winning the Super Bowl this season.
9. New Orleans Saints – The fans are great at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, but let’s be real, this team wasn’t very good until Sean Payton came in and took them to the promise land in winning the Super Bowl three years ago. Drew Brees also has a lot to do with that, and the club right now enjoys a great home field edge. Overall though, we will see this year without their coach and a number of issues if the fans are as rabid as ever.
8. Philadelphia Eagles – The new Lincoln Financial Field has been kind to the Eagles since they moved in after the 2003 season, and the team has flown to winning 24 of their 40 home games since 2006 and are 1-1 in home playoff games. Fans in Philly are what makes the Linc great, and their treatment of opposing players is one huge reason why they are ranked eight.
7. Kansas City Chiefs - The brass in KC have always said that Arrowhead Stadium is a great place to play, and they always seem to have rabid fans that make it more like a college atmosphere than the sometimes stale feel of a bad NFL game. If the Chiefs can continue to get better like the end of 2011, there’s no doubt Arrowhead will be rocking again in 2012.
6. Chicago Bears – Soldier Field is no picnic for other teams, and the field which isn’t very good and the fans that make it tough on other teams make it that way. The Bears have always had great fans like the Chiefs and Eagles, and they sell out every game no matter what. The Bears usually pay their fans back with wins, as they have been historically very good at home.
5. Seattle Seahawks – No other team seems to embrace their fans like that in Seattle, as they call them the 12th Man, and have raised a flag honoring their fans. Qwest Field was rocking when the team made it to the Super Bowl in the 2005 season, and while they haven’t been as good since then, it’s still not an easy place for other teams to roll into and get a win.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers – Hinez Field was built in 2001, and the Steelers have been very good at home and their fans with their “Terrible Towels” always make it tough for opposing teams. The club has a 29-11 home record since 2006 and have won four of their five home playoff games in that same time span. They use to blow AFC Title games at Hinez on a regular basis (Pats twice), but have won their last two against the Ravens and Jets.
3. Denver Broncos - The old Mile High may have been #1 on this list, but since they have moved to the new Sports Authority Field at Mile High, they have dropped a bit, but are still very high on the list. It all has to do with that thin air up in Denver, and the fact opposing players always seem to be sucking wind by halftime. The Broncos have always been the comeback kids (Elway, Tebow), and the air and the fact players tire out is a big reason why.
2. New England Patriots – The best team in the AFC over the past 12 years enjoys a great homefield playing in Gillette Stadium. The weather at times has been as brutal as any in the NFL, and the fan base loves their team and knows their football with the best of them. Sure going 34-6 at home hasn’t hurt, but this team enjoys a great advantage when they are playing at home.
1. Green Bay Packers – Is there any doubt? The “Frozen Tundra” of Lambeau Field has always been a tough place to play, just ask the other teams in the NFC North. Sure the Giants were able to score the huge upset in the NFC Divisional Playoffs over the Pack at Lambeau, but there’s no doubt that going back to the 1960′s, the Pack have the biggest advantage of all-time at home, and that won’t change heading into 2012.