November 17, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos fans hold up a sign for head coach John Fox (not pictured) during the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Chiefs 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Strong Home Field Advantage a Common Trait Amongst the NFL’s Best

 

Oct 13, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Fans enter AT

It has long been said playing in Dallas is almost like playing on neutral ground. I heard opposing players say it back in the 90’s and I’m hearing it now. It’s so known and accepted we hardly address the issue but once a year. Maybe this is my obligatory piece but I think now is the time to address it.

No one fears playing in Dallas. This troubling fact should upset us but frankly no one seems to care. When addressing the issue in the past I was told something like this:

The fans will start getting loud when the team starts playing well.

Most of us know that’s not really how it’s supposed to work but sadly that’s how many feel. Fans are supposed to take pride in the discomfort they inflict on opposing teams. Regardless if their team is winless or unbeaten, fans are supposed to have pride in themselves. Pride in their own abrasiveness.

Oct 28, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Seattle Seahawks fans celebrate after the game against the St. Louis Rams at Edward Jones Dome. Seahawks defeated the Rams 14-9. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Look at the top teams according to ESPN Week 12 Power Rankings:

  1. Denver Broncos
  2. Seattle Seahawks
  3. Kansas City Chiefs
  4. New Orleans Saints
  5. Carolina Panthers
  6. New England Patriots
  7. Indianapolis Colts

Six of the seven all offer superior home field advantage. Denver is always a nightmare. Seattle and Kansas City are perhaps the best home field advantage in all of domestic professional sports. New Orleans has recently become the madhouse it currently boasts. I can’t be sure if the revitalization was hurricane related or Drew Brees related but it’s crazy – and it looks like it’s here to stay.

New England is a typical Boston crowd. Much like New Yorkers they just enjoy being loud and find the behavior reinforcing in itself. Indy probably doesn’t get the credit they deserve because they live in a relatively benign location. Don’t let that mislead you. They are a loud and hostile crowd.

Carolina is the only example in the top seven that doesn’t jump out as a tough place to play. With Carolina I speak from perception and ignorance as this is one of the only locations listed that I haven’t personally been. Even without Carolina, I believe the point has been made.

Virtually all of the top NFL teams share a common trait: The have a dominant home field advantage.

This can be seen as a “Chicken Vs. the Egg” question to some. In  other words, “are the crowds loud because the team does well, or is the team good because the crowd is loud”?

While it would be foolish to say a team is solely good because they have a loud crowd, it must be acknowledged that the crowd offers considerable assistance to the team’s success.

The Truth

The Dallas Cowboy’s AT&T Stadium is not a good homefield advantage and we as fans must take the blame. It’s not a construction or design flaw in the structure. It’s a flaw in us.

No one should EVER be seated when the opposing team is trying to convert a third down. No one should EVER be quiet when the opposing team is trying to convert a third down. This is the absolute bare minimum required of us as fans and we can’t even accomplish that.

Yes, it’s time to spread the blame here in Big D. The team itself is pretty darn bad and we aren’t doing anything to help the situation.

Displaced anger on my part?

Possibly, but I think it’s still a point worth making. Cowboy’s fans need to check themselves and see how they can improve during this stretch run of the 2013 season. Because as things look right now, Dallas is on their way to missing the playoffs once again. It’d be nice if we could help.

Do you have questions or comments regarding Dallas area sports? Email Reid at [email protected]. You may be included in the next weekly mailbag. Follow Reid on twitter @ReidDHanson

Tags: Dallas Cowboys

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