Breaking Down the Competitive Advantage of the Seahawks' Home-Field Advantage

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Breaking Down the Competitive Advantage of the Seahawks' Home-Field Advantage
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

From start to finish, 2013 was the Seattle Seahawks' year.

They won a playoff game in early January over the Washington Redskins, they traded for an All-Pro wide receiver (Percy Harvin) during the offseason, they matched their best record in team history (13-3), quarterback Russell Wilson set an NFL record by recording 24 wins in his first two seasons and the “12th Man” recorded a Guinness World Record for crowd noise.

Sure, the Guinness World Record is viewed as a tad bit cheesy by some, yet it’s a good indicator as to why the Seahawks have a competitive advantage when they play in front of their home crowd.

Since 2005, opposing offenses have been flagged for false start penalties on 130 separate occasions at CenturyLink Field. That is by far the highest total in the league over the course of the last eight years.

The only stadium that rivaled CenturyLink Field was Mall of America Field. Minnesota Vikings fans cheered loud enough to force 115 false start penalties during that same eight-year span.

However, Seahawks fans don’t deserve all the credit for Seattle’s noisy ways. Architect James Poulson warrants praise for his “happy accident.” Poulson calls his design of the stadium a “happy accident” because he didn’t design the stadium so noise would be enhanced, it happened unexpectedly.

Here’s what Poulson told Paula Wissel of KPLUWonders.org: “When choosing between sound absorbing materials and hard surfaces they went with hard surfaces. Those hard surfaces are positioned perfectly to deflect the crowd noise back onto the field.”

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Obviously, there isn’t a way to scientifically prove whether or not the fans directly affect the outcome of a Seahawks game at CenturyLink Field, yet Seattle’s record at home stands for itself.

Since the stadium’s inception in 2002, the ‘Hawks have amassed a 66-30 record in the Pacific Northwest. That is the second-best home record in the NFL during that time period. Only the Green Bay Packers have a better mark at home. They are 66-29-1 in 96 games.

Yet, Seattle’s overall win percentage of 68.7 pales in comparison to the team’s win percentage at CenturyLink Field under head coach Pete Carroll. From the beginning of the 2010 season until now, Carroll’s club has garnered a 24-8 record at the CLink.

This, in turn, means the Seahawks have won 75 percent of their home games under Carroll’s guidance. There’s no question that is an impressive feat. Nevertheless, Seattle’s competitive advantage at home goes beyond wins and losses.

It’s a proven fact that the Seahawks put up better numbers at home as well. When you go back to the start of the 2012 season (for the sake of relevancy), the ‘Hawks dominance in the Emerald City shines through.

Home vs. Away Statistics Since the Beginning of 2012
Passing Yards Rushing Yards Total Yards Turnovers
Home 3,184 2,487 5,671 16
Away 3,083 2,280 5,363 21
Total 6,267 4,767 11,034 37

Pro Football Reference

In 16 home games, over the course of the last two years, the Seahawks have tallied 3,184 yards passing, 2,487 yards rushing and 16 turnovers. Those numbers, on a per game basis, average out to 199 yards through the air, 155.4 yards on the ground and one turnover.

Away from home, the Seahawks have accumulated 3,083 yards passing, 2,280 yards rushing and 21 turnovers. On a per game basis, the figures mentioned above equate out to 192.6 yards through the air, 142.5 yards on the ground and 1.3 turnovers.

It’s easy to see why the ‘Hawks are winners of 15 of their last 16 contests at home. Averaging 354.4 yards of total offense on a consistent basis is hard to beat. Not to mention, opposing offenses have a hard time keeping pace with Darrell Bevell’s offense, thanks in large part to Dan Quinn’s defense.

The only team to break through and secure a “W” against Quinn’s defense, at the CLink, was the Arizona Cardinals. The Gridbirds ended the Seahawks' 14-game home winning streak. Based on the fact Seattle has looked invincible at home for the latter part of two years, Arizona’s accomplishment was pretty magnificent.

Nonetheless, the Cardinals will be watching the playoffs from the comfort of their own homes.

As far as the postseason teams in the NFC go, the last time the Seahawks lost in front of their home crowd to either the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles or Packers was on December 24, 2011. The 49ers squeaked out a victory 19-17.

Which team has the best shot at beating the Seahawks in Seattle?

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Regardless of Seattle’s upcoming opponent(s), it’s evident that the odds of a Super Bowl run are in the Seahawks' favor. They have home-field advantage all throughout the playoffs, they have the No. 1 defense in the NFL and they have already beat the 49ers and Saints at CenturyLink this season.

Furthermore, they defeated the Packers at home in 2012, the Eagles at home in 2011 and the Panthers at home in 2010. This means the Seahawks have beaten every NFC playoff team in Seattle since Carroll came aboard.

Yes, rosters have evolved, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Seahawks are practically unbeatable at the CLink.

There has never been a more exciting time to be a ‘Hawks fan. With a successful regular season in the books and home-field advantage all throughout the playoffs, Seattle’s time to bring home its first Vince Lombardi Trophy is now.

 

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