Does Green Bay have the best home-field advantage?
Playing at home is a comfortable, familiar environment. The players have their own parking spaces and personal lockers, not to mention the hoards of ferocious fans making opponents uncomfortable as they fill the stadium with cheers and jeers.
Also, no matter how long the journey—whether it is from Jacksonville to Tampa Bay, or New York City to Seattle—road teams have to expend time and energy to get to the game.
Home records, point differentials and graphs, like this one from Sports Data LLC, can tell us some things about home-field advantage, but there are some intangible qualities in stadiums around the nation that make them notoriously tough places to play.
Here are the power rankings for every NFL team's home-field advantage.
The Jaguars have been bad for quite some time now and things do not look to be turning around anytime soon.
Jacksonville has an 0-3 record at home, but have not really been winning games anywhere this year. Their minus-75 net points at home is by far an NFL-worst.
Only four NFL teams have losing home records going back 30 years. Despite housing the “Greatest Show on Turf” from 1999-2001, the Rams are one of them.
St. Louis is also one of the bottom three teams in terms of attendance this year, with 56,546 fans per game.
It was hard to rank the Rams considering all three of their wins have come at Edward Jones Dome, but their long-term futility on home turf and negative net point total was enough to land them here.
The Browns' 31 home wins in the last 10 years are second to last in the league, leading only to the Oakland Raiders.
The Browns have the worst home record going back one decade (.378), two decades (.391) or even three (.453).
The Browns’ fans haven’t had much to cheer about lately, but bruising rookie back Trent Richardson should get the Dawg Pound on their feet for years to come.
The Bengals have not been better than .500 at home since 2009. On top of that, the team ranked dead last in attendance last year despite the fact that they went to the playoffs.
I guess the stripes aren't for everyone.
The Dolphins are 2-1 this year at home, but over the past decade have only scored a net plus-11 points more at home than on the road—easily the league's worst differential.
Miami is by far the worst at filling its stadium. Their 74.2 percent attendance rate is seven percent worse than the next closest team.
The Fins need to find a way to get fans into Sun Life Stadium.
The only team worse than Miami in terms of attendance has been the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Wide receiver Mike Williams recently commented on how the crowd makes a difference, saying to The Captain's Blog,
You notice a difference. You start seeing offsides, people making mistakes on the other team. You notice a difference right away. When they fill those stands up, we see it all the time. We’ve got to keep winning so we can pack the stadium. We’re basically trying to go out and do our job. We know if we get wins it will fill out the stadium.
After a 3-5 season at home last year, the Bucs are 2-2 in 2012.
While Qualcomm Stadium has certainly rocked at times over the years, it has also seemed like a neutral site for a number of games. This is especially true when AFC West rivals come to town—most notably the Oakland Raiders.
San Diego is a city of transplants. Tons of people call the city home because of the wonderful weather and there is also a large military population.
The Chargers have posted a winning record at home since 2005. Could that change this year?
The Panthers have a loyal fanbase, but they are not known for getting too loud.
Carolina has not had a whole lot to cheer about since going to the Super Bowl in 2004, but the human highlight reel, Cam Newton, looks like he can change that. The QB is currently suffering a sophomore slump, but is one of the best athletes in the league.
The Panthers are 1-3 at home this season.
For the people of Detroit, the Lions are more than a football team. They are a symbol of the city itself and they show this through their passion for the team on game days.
The team did go through their struggles in the past decade, including a 0-16 season, but the Lions have hit a new era of prosperity with the emergence of Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh.
To their credit, the Lions have had more than twice the amount of wins at home (32) than on the road (15) from 2002-2011.
The Bills have seen a huge swing in home attendance this year, moving up nearly 7,000 fans per game from 2011. However, the NFL's sixth-oldest stadium does not give the Bills an overwhelming advantage.
The Bills have not had a winning record at home since 2005, but they have also toiled in obscurity for quite some time.
Their 39 home wins in the last decade coming into the 2012 season was tied for fourth-worst in the AFC.
When Jerry Jones built Cowboys Stadium it came with some unintended consequences.
The games are more of a social event than anything, and opposing team’s fans are able to take over the stadium. The Cowboys may be America’s team, but the circus tent of Cowboys Stadium has sapped away Dallas’ home-field advantage.
According to the NY Daily News, the Cowboys sent an email out to season-ticket holders less than a week ago, begging them to cheer louder:
When you see the video graphic playing on the video board, get on your feet and get LOUD!. Together, we can make opposing teams dread coming to Cowboys Stadium. . . . If we all play our part, we can help give our Dallas Cowboys a true home-field advantage.
At least you can go visit the Victoria’s Secret store at halftime though, right?
Though having Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman and John Beck on the payroll has to hurt, how has Mike Shanahan gone just 5-14 at FedExField?
How is that even remotely possible for a man with two Super Bowl wins on his resume?
In the last decade the Redskins have the least amount of home wins in the NFC East.
While Washington ranks in the top-five teams in terms of attendance (76,921), FedExField has the highest capacity in the league.
You never hear of LP Field being somewhere teams don’t want to travel to.
The Titans have a .500 record at home over the last three seasons and every game has been a sellout since the stadium opened in 1999, but the Titans are missing something special to give them an edge.
MetLife Stadium is the only stadium in the league to house two teams, as both the Giants and Jets call the stadium home.
The teams have very similar statistics at home. Since moving into the building last year the Jets are 8-5 while the Giants have a 7-5 record.
The two New York franchises are No. 2 and No. 3 in attendance, with the Giants having the edge by less than 1,000 fans.
New York is a tough town to play in, whether you're the home team or not. The fans will let the players hear it if they are playing poorly. However, the outdoor conditions can play to the team's favor later in the year against warmer-climate teams.
The Raiders have won just as many games at home as they have on the road in the past 10 seasons. Fans around the league have heard stories of “The Black Hole” and there are plenty of colorful fans in Oakland, but it has not done much for the team's winning percentage on home turf.
Going back 20 years, Oakland has the league's third-worst home winning percentage at .475, and in the last decade, they are a miserable .390. Oakland is also among the bottom five teams in terms of attendance at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
The Cardinals had reeled off eight home wins in a row until losing to the Buffalo Bills earlier this season.
The University of Phoenix Stadium is a state-of-the-art facility, boasting a retractable roof and the first retractable natural glass playing surface in the country. On Phoenix's hot summer days, they usually keep the roof closed, and the stadium rocks with noise.
The Cardinals have been fairly successful since moving to the stadium in 2006, even making the Super Bowl one year.
Arizona is 9-4 over the last two seasons in the desert.
The Texans were founded just a decade ago, but in recent years have been major playoff contenders.
The team got their first playoff berth and win last year and are threatening to gain home-field advantage through the playoffs with their 6-1 record at the halfway mark of the season.
Despite sharing the same division as Peyton Manning's Colts for the better part of the last decade, the fresh-faced Texans franchise still managed 39 home wins since 2002.
Home-field advantage could pay off big time for the Texans in the playoffs, as they could avoid traveling to colder, snowy climates.
The Bears are 4-0 this season at home and boast one of the league's best defenses. One thing that always motivates a hungry and talented defense is crowd noise. While not among the loudest stadiums in the league, Soldier Field provides ample sound.
However, there have been notable on-field issues in Chicago. "It's a joke," Brian Urlacher told ESPNChicago.com in 2011 about the poor conditions at Soldier Field.
Lucas Oil Stadium was rocking under its dome when Peyton Manning was propelling the team to multiple playoff appearances. The Colts' 59 victories at home over the last decade was third best in the NFL to only the Patriots and Ravens.
The team was expected to be in rebuilding mode this year after drafting Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick in April's draft. However, Luck has the stadium rocking like it's 2007 again.
Three of the Colts four wins this season have come at home this season.
The 49ers have one of the rowdiest and loudest outdoor crowds in the NFL. It also helps that they have the league's best defense—one that is fueled by a rowdy Candlestick crowd.
San Francisco has gotten even better at home in the Jim Harbaugh era, mostly because the fans have had something to cheer about.
The 49ers have a 10-2 record at home since the former Stanford coach took over.
The Georgia Dome is known for being loud and painted red during the Falcons' games.
Head coach Mike Smith knows how important a loud dome with raucous fans can be. In an interview with the official Atlanta Falcons website, Smith said:
Our home crowd has been a big part of the success that we've had. It's really nice to go in there and know that we're probably good for one or two procedural penalties a game and hopefully it's in the most crucial time of the ball game. Our fans are very smart in terms of knowing when to cheer and when not to cheer.
The Metrodome can get loud—very, very loud.
The dome echoes the noise of the nearly 60,000 on hand for every game, making it so loud players can barely hear themselves think on the field.
The Vikings are 4-1 this season at home, including notable wins over San Francisco and Arizona.
The inmates run the asylum at Lincoln Financial Field.
In a 2011 Sports Illustrated poll, the Eagles fans were voted by the players as the hardest fans to play in front of. Philly fans know their football and are not scared to bark out their opinions at the top of their lungs.
The stadium may not hold the most noise, but the Eagles' 50 home wins over the last decade are behind only Green Bay and Seattle in the NFC.
Arrowhead Stadium is loud all game long.
However, in the 35 years the Chiefs have played at Arrowhead Stadium, they have hosted five playoff games and lost three of them.
Another incident that pushed the Chiefs back on this list was when the home crowd booed an injured Matt Cassel as he lay writhing in pain on the ground.
Passion is one thing, but that took it over the edge.
Since 2002, New England has won 69 regular-season games and eight postseason contests at home—both tops in the NFL.
This could have something to do with the Patriots being a perennial contender for the Super Bowl, however, having a rock-solid fanbase helps too.
Not many of the West Coast teams do well when they travel east to play the Patriots in the chilly conditions of Gillette Stadium.
There may not have been a more touching scene than when the Saints took the field in their first post-Katrina home game in an emotionally-charged game versus the division rival Atlanta Falcons. Just a year prior, the Superdome was being used as a shelter for displaced residents.
The fans in New Orleans have an attachment to their team and their stadium. Last season, the Saints were one of only three teams (Baltimore, Green Bay) to finish with a perfect home record.
Last December, a Sports Illustrated poll revealed that Steelers fans were the second toughest to play in front of. On top of the fans, Heinz Field has notoriously strange winds and dicey grass that has a history of flustering opponents.
When "Steelers weather" comes to town and snow covers the grounds of Heinz Field, no one is more comfortable at home than the black and yellow squad, with their passionate fans swinging the Terrible Towels.
Just the elevation (5,280 feet above sea level) at the Denver Broncos’ home stadium gives them an advantage. It has even prevented Steelers safety Ryan Clark from playing there due to a health risk.
"Oh, yeah," Bailey said (h/t ESPN). "In an up-tempo game, the altitude wears you out. Nobody coming in here is used to it."
With Peyton Manning coming in and making the Broncos a playoff contender, expect the sea of orange at Mile High to get louder as the season wears on.
The Ravens have a home winning percentage of .771 since 2002, compared to a .415 mark on the road. The difference (.356) is the highest in the league. Also, during the John Harbaugh era, the Ravens have averaged a victory margin of 14.3 points.
Baltimore is not traditionally this high on the list of home-field advantages, but its win percentage at home and passionate fans make them worthy of the No. 2 spot. Not to mention the Ravens are 4-0 this season at home with a plus-41 net point total.
M&T Bank Stadium may not be the biggest or loudest stadium in the league, but the Ravens are very hard to beat at home.
Lambeau Field is an NFL landmark. It housed some of the league's greatest teams ever.
Reggie White and Brett Favre played on the frozen tundra and Vince Lombardi used to roam the sidelines.
A.J. Hawk addressed playing on the hallowed ground of Lambeau in an ESPN interview, saying:
Lambeau, it's a college stadium, really. At Ohio State, they'd get 105,000 in there. In Green Bay, they make a lot of noise even though it's not as big. Everyone knows about Lambeau Field. The mystique, the great teams, the players. The Bart Starrs, the Ray Nitschkes—they live on through Lambeau.
The loudest stadium in the NFL provides the Seahawks with the best home-field advantage. According to the Seahawks official website, the loudest decibel level that has been recorded at CenturyLink Field is a whopping 112 dB.
Further evidence that the Seahawks have the best home advantage is that opponents have the most false start penalties while playing in front of the Seahawks “12th man" since 2005.
Seattle is 3-0 at home this season.