The Best Home-Field Advantages in the NFL
Home-field advantage has become an enormous deal in the NFL—and rightly so. With massive stadiums and passionate fans, a home game can be a spectacle like any other.
It can also give a team a major advantage over its opponent. It's no surprise that some of the best teams over the past decade have also been extremely successful in their home stadiums.
That advantage can be especially crucial in the playoffs, when teams want anything that can help the game go their way.
This list (not a ranking) takes into account a number of factors, including player polls, attendance records, home wins-loss records and general reputation. It's also focused on recent data. For instance, Pittsburgh is a historically tough stadium, but its recent home record and attendance haven't been all that inspiring.
With that said, let's take a look at the five best home-field advantages in the NFL.
Seattle Seahawks, CenturyLink Field
The Seattle Seahawks fans have probably become the most famous sports fans in the country over the past year or two—and for good reason.
They are 15-1 while playing at home over the past two seasons, and a big reason for that is the insanely loud crowd, which seems even louder because of the unique stadium design.
This Sport Science clip helps explain why the stadium itself can help it seem even louder down on the field. The "12th man" set a Guinness World Record for the loudest stadium ever in 2013, registering 136.6 decibels, according to The Seattle Times.
Seattle fans caused an actual earthquake (via ESPN.com) during one of Marshawn Lynch's touchdown runs in this past season's playoffs. Pretty unbelievable stuff, and it all makes CenturyLink Field arguably the most imposing stadium in the nation.
Baltimore Ravens, M&T Stadium
The Baltimore Ravens fanbase doesn't get nearly the credit it deserves for its dedication and ability to make M&T Stadium a daunting place to play.
Greg Garber at ESPN.com ranked Baltimore as the best home-field advantage in 2012, and it continues to be one of the hardest places for opponents to play. Garber pointed out that the Ravens had enjoyed a ridiculous 19-1 home record in the two-plus years before his article was released.
And since 2010, the Ravens have continued on and amassed a 27-5 record at home during the regular season. Their menacing defense is even more terrifying in their building, and all of those factors combined to help them ride their home-field success to winning the Super Bowl in 2012.
Denver Broncos, Mile High Stadium
The stadium name may seem like hyperbole, but the Denver Broncos play their games literally an entire mile above sea level, giving them an undeniable advantage over opponents.
Champ Bailey told ESPN.com that "[in] an up-tempo game, the altitude wears you out. Nobody coming in here is used to it."
On top of that, the Broncos have had the seventh-best attendance in the league in both 2013 and 2012 and have gone 7-1 at home in each of those seasons as well.
It also gets mighty cold there later in the year, which can be a double-whammy for opponents. Peyton Manning and company will undoubtedly try to use their big advantage to get back to the Super Bowl this upcoming season.
Green Bay Packers, Lambeau Field
The most historic stadium in the United States also doubles as one of the most intimidating for opposing NFL teams.
The Green Bay Packers have played at Lambeau since 1957 (then called City Field), and they've enjoyed a ton of success at home in recent years.
From 2008-2012, the Packers went an incredible 28-4 at home, helping them reach the playoffs in each of those campaigns, including a Super Bowl win in 2010.
Their attendance was, predictably, the second-best in the NFL by percentage this past season. Oh, and temperatures below freezing for half the season don't hurt either. Definitely a major advantage for the Packers.
Philadelphia Eagles, Lincoln Financial Field
It's hard to say what constitutes the "best" fans, and I'm definitely not going to go there. But this Sports Illustrated NFL players poll reveals what I would wholeheartedly argue: Philadelphia fans are the most intimidating in sports.
Eagles fans know what they are talking about, and they are more than happy to share their feelings with the players on the field (for both teams, in most cases). Many of those fans are also Flyers fans, and we know how that worked out at the NHL draft a couple weeks ago.
They've been in the top four for attendance by percentage every single season since 2006, when ESPN began tracking the entire league, which is a pretty remarkable feat.
Combine those raucous fans with a packed house and some cold November and December games, and you've got a recipe for a heck of a home-field advantage.