NFL Week 14 Power Rankings: How The Dallas Cowboys Stack Up In Attendance

Matt TruebloodSenior Analyst IDecember 10, 2010

NFL Week 14 Power Rankings: How The Dallas Cowboys Stack Up In Attendance

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    Even after a 3-1 stretch under Jason Garrett, the Dallas Cowboys are just 4-8 on the season and long ago surrendered any hope of a playoff berth. In one respect, though, the rest of the league is light-years behind the Cowboys: Dallas has the highest average attendance in the entire NFL.

    Obviously, home-field advantage is huge in the NFL. Crowd noise can disrupt the opponent's offense, and the added intensity of a key rivalry game before a rabid home crowd can help lift the team to victory. Some teams always have this advantage, while for others, it is a constant fight to keep their fan base interested.

    Read on for power rankings of all 32 teams by average attendance, with slight adjustments made for the team's ability to feed off the crowd and for the percentage of full capacity at which each team operates.

32. Oakland Raiders

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 45,772
    apacity: 72.6 percent
    Home record: 4-2

    Despite their hard-core reputation, Raiders fans have lost a bit of their old edge. In fact, Oakland has been the worst place to play this season for both the Raiders and their opponents, with baseball-sized average crowds and no special or unique energy. The Raiders are 4-2 at home and just 2-4 on the road, but that is not nearly enough to redeem the Raiders or their fans.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 50,040
    Capacity: 76.2 percent
    Home record: 3-3

    Okay, so it isn't quite as bad as that picture makes it look. Still, the Bucs are feeling the vicious effects of what might be called Rays syndrome: Being unexpectedly good and exciting has not been enough to draw the Tampa fans out of their homes to watch them live.

    Perhaps because of the team's inability to draw strength from its fans, they are actually better this year when they play on the road: 4-2, against 3-3 in Tampa Bay. Raheem Morris and Josh Freeman have enough energy to offset some of that disparity, but the people of western Florida are bad sports fans.

30. St. Louis Rams

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    Average attendance: 52,482
    Capacity: 80.3 percent
    Home record: 4-2

    St. Louis cannot blame their home folks for not coming out quite as effectively as can Tampa Bay: Even during their six wins this year, they have not looked all that good. The offense doesn't do much well, and their defense rarely makes big plays.

    Somehow, they remain very much in contention for the least deserved playoff spot in NFL history. They likely need only two wins over the final four games to get there. Since two of the four are at home, where they are 4-2, that seems entirely possible.

29. Buffalo Bills

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    Karl Walter/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 64,644
    Capacity: 88.4 percent
    Home record: 1-5

    The Bills get penalized for two things: First of all, they stink on ice, and it has been especially apparent during their 1-5 stretch at home. Secondly, visitors tend to invade Buffalo with crowds that at least match the number of actual Bills fans in the stadium. In the NFL, it is rare to see this inability to defend the home field even against opposing fans.

28. Detroit Lions

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 55,935
    Capacity: 86.7 percent
    Home record: 2-4

    Detroit does not even seem to belong on the field when they head out on the road, where they are 0-6 and have not played anyone (except division foes Green Bay and Chicago) especially closely. At home, though, they are 2-4 and have just missed wins against Philadelphia and the Jets.

    Of course, the fans do not hesitate to show their disappointment with the near misses and the continued incompetence. At least they show up, though, and the Lions seem desperate to impress their home supporters.

27. Cincinnati Bengals

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 62,063
    Capacity: 94.7 percent
    Home record: 1-5

    Is there anything the Bengals have done well this season? Not really, no. That goes as far as drawing crowds, as the Bengals simply cannot find enough masochists to come to Paul Brown Stadium and watch their favorite team give a half-hearted losing effort each week. It's hard to fault Cincy fans for staying home, though they do look a bit fair-weather for their ardent support of the team when it wins and their near desertion of the team when it does not.

26. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 63,037
    Capacity: 93.9 percent
    Home record: 4-2

    The Jags remains the NFL's greatest frauds, a seemingly sturdy 7-5 despite being outscored by 43 points and never looking all that good in winning. Still, their home win over the Colts was impressive and may ultimately be the springboard to an NFC South title. The Jacksonville crowd has found trusting this team difficult, but those who show up have been rowdy and have kept opponents on edge.

25. Arizona Cardinals

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 62,167
    Capacity: 98.1 percent
    Home record: 2-4

    Arizona has a real gem of a stadium to its credit, as evidenced by its constant use for other games. Unfortunately, almost all of the big events and other contests that come through offer a higher quality of football than the Cardinals themselves do. Phoenix fans are notoriously fickle, so the Cards should not expect to draw substantially better than they do until they find a way to field an NFL-quality product.

24. Chicago Bears

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 62,150
    Capacity: 101.1 percent
    Home record: 4-2

    Soldier Field is simply too small for the Bears to have an elite level of attendance, but the football-crazy people of Chicago do their best. The stadium is probably a bit outmoded in the modern era, and the enhancements and renovations done to the field last decade did not entirely close the gap. Still, this is among the most rabid fan bases in the NFL.

23. San Diego Chargers

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    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 64,940
    Capacity: 91.1 percent
    Home record: 4-2

    The Chargers have not drawn especially well this season, perhaps because San Diego fans have little patience for the immaturity that so pervades the organization. It is also hard to watch a team that so dominates the game statistically so often lose, so one can hardly fault the Chargers' fans for showing some reticence at coming out to see the games in person, where the disappointment can be even sharper.

22. Cleveland Browns

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    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 65,933
    Capacity: 90.1 percent
    Home record: 3-3

    The Dog Pound has had to watch this year's Browns team exceed expectations, but lose key players to injuries en route to a 5-7 record. All things considered, though, things could be worse in Cleveland: The Browns got a thrilling and convincing win over New England at home in Week 9 and have clawed their way to respectability in the AFC North. Getting past Pittsburgh and Baltimore, though, is a tall order and will not be filled for a while.

21. Minnesota Vikings

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 63,932
    Capacity: 99.7 percent
    Home record: 4-2

    Brett Favre used to hate visiting the Metrodome when he played for the Green Bay Packers, but these days, he wishes he could play there every week. The Vikings feed off the energy of an inexplicably undeterred crowd, even in a season when the Vikes have no remaining playoff hopes. Minnesota fans are loud, and the noise they make has nowhere to go but down.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Average attendance: 64,570
    Capacity: 99.3 percent
    Home record: 3-2

    The Steelers' big win over Baltimore last week looms even bigger in light of the team's three remaining home games: They could very feasibly finish the season at 13-3. The crowd at Heinz Field has lacked a bit of its usual electricity this season, but with one of the franchise's most trying off-seasons ever now fully behind them, the fans might just pick up the slack during the next three weeks.

19. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 68,121
    Capacity: 88.7 percent
    Home record: 6-0

    The Sea of Red still holds sway over visitors to Arrowhead, as evidenced by the inability of any club to win in Kansas City this season. Matt Cassel and company look like entirely legitimate Super Bowl contenders when they take the field at home. On the road, of course, it is a different story.

18. Miami Dolphins

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 68,286
    Capacity: 90.6 percent
    Home record: 1-5

    The Dolphins used to be able to fill their home stadium (by whatever name) to bursting, but lately, the upper reaches of their cavernous accommodations often remain empty at game time. Perhaps because of the somewhat lacking fan support they have received, the Dolphins are just 1-5 at home this year, compared with a sparkling 5-1 record on the road.

17. Atlanta Falcons

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 67,551
    Capacity: 94.8 percent
    Home record: 6-0

    The Falcons have the advantage of playing under a dome, where the noise of their home crowds echoes right back down onto the field as it rises. They have used that energy to soar to a 6-0 home record so far, while looking much more human on the road. No team may need home-field advantage more than Matt Ryan and Atlanta.

16. Seattle Seahawks

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    Average attendance: 66,919
    Capacity: 99.9 percent
    Home record: 4-2

    Do not doubt the power of the 12th man. The Seahawks still draw a raucous, often ear-splitting crowd, even in lean years. They are 4-2 at home this season and just 2-4 on the road, and the reason is apparent: Opponents still have not figured out how best to combat an environment that seems to have been acoustically tuned for maximum sound every time the opposing offense lines up.

15. Tennessee Titans

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    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 69,143
    Capacity: 100.0
    Home record: 2-5

    Packing LP Field each week might seem a tall task in a small market like Nashville, but the Titans have no problem doing it. They have developed a strong and loyal following across the region since they arrived from Houston, and games in Tennessee are always fun to watch.

14. New England Patriots

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    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 68,756
    Capacity: 100.0
    Home record: 6-0

    Foxboro is the most difficult road test in football, but that tends to have more to do with the elements—and the dominant team that calls it home—than the crowd size. The stadium is relatively small, by new NFL standards, and the team does not allow many extra tickets for standing-room and the like. Still, the crowds are loud and make opposing teams work a bit harder to keep focus.

13. Indianapolis Colts

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 66,911
    Capacity: 106.2 percent
    Home record: 4-2

    The RCA Dome was once the toughest place in the NFL to get a road win, and Lucas Oil Stadium may someday reach the same level of infamy. For now, though, Indianapolis is a bit less intimidating because of the Colts' all-around struggles. The crowds remain loud and enthusiastic, but it remains to be seen whether that will be enough to avoid the team's first season without a playoff berth in nearly a decade.

12. San Francisco 49ers

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 69,732
    Capacity: 99.3 percent
    Home record: 3-3

    San Francisco fans have stood by the team with impressive persistence through some lean years, since the end of the 49ers' great run in the 1980s and 1990s. They have little to cheer about these days, but they show up every week and root earnestly.

11. New Orleans Saints

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 70,036
    Capacity: 96.0 percent
    Home record: 4-2

    The Superdome has not always been such a tough place to play: When the Saints stink, the fans stay home or redirect their considerable passion toward booing their own side. With Sean Payton's squad rolling the way it is, though, the crowds in New Orleans now turn every Sunday into a mini-Mardi Gras. It is a wild environment, and it is no fun for opponents.

10. Philadelphia Eagles

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 69,144
    Capacity: 102.3 percent
    Home record: 4-2

    To get a reputation for being the nastiest fans in sports, you have to show up every week. The Eagles' fans do that and then some, filling Lincoln Financial Field to its gills and getting louder than all but a handful of crowds in the NFL when the time is right.

9. Green Bay Packers

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 70,813
    Capacity: 97.1 percent
    Home record: 5-1

    The love affair between the Packers and the entire state of Wisconsin is so strong that traffic on Highway 41 on game days can occasionally back up all the way to Appleton, 30 miles down the road from Green Bay. The fans live, eat and breathe the Packers, and the renovations to Lambeau Field some five or ten years ago give them even more reason to turn out en masse each week.

8. Carolina Panthers

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    Average attendance: 72,980
    Capacity: 98.1 percent
    Home record: 1-5

    The figures we work with here are paid attendance, and there have definitely been a couple contests this season where the disparity between the Panthers' ticket sales and their actual crowd size was conspicuous. Still, Carolina fans had to know before the season that this team would be dreadful, so they get some credit for buying the tickets in the first place.

7. Houston Texans

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 71,034
    Capacity: 100.0
    Home record: 3-3

    How much does football mean in Texas? Even the Texans, perennial losers, draw better than almost any non-Texas team in the league. The fans are rowdy and can get surprisingly loud in a stadium that does not scream intimacy, and the Texans feed off their energy in a very noticeable way.

6. Baltimore Ravens

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    Average attendance: 71,216
    Capacity: 100.3 percent
    Home record: 5-1

    It cannot possibly be fun to go into Baltimore, where the entire stadium seems to be bent on intimidating opponents into sloppy mistakes and playing scared. The crowd, which is always a complete sellout, goes insane when Ray Lewis is introduced each week, a ritual that makes opponents mad but gets the heart rates of everyone who watches up in a hurry.

5. Denver Broncos

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    Average attendance: 75,236
    Capacity: 98.8 percent
    Home record: 2-4

    Football means a great deal to the people of Denver: In fact, Denver is one of the great underrated sports towns in America. Fans come out in tidal waves to see the Broncos play, even when (as is the case this year) there is not much good reason to do so. 

4. New York Jets

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 78,466
    Capacity: 95.1 percent
    Home record: 4-2

    The Jets' palatial new digs help them get closer to their fans than ever before. The occasion that led to this photo (Santonio Holmes' game-winning touchdown catch against the Texans) is one of many thrilling moments the Jets have given their fans already this season. The New York teams have each drawn well in the new stadium, and each has rewarded their hometown fans with good football all season.

3. New York Giants

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    Average attendance: 78,704
    Capacity: 95.4 percent
    Home record: 5-2

    The Giants have a narrow edge in the battle to draw better in year one of the New Meadowlands Stadium. They have also played seven home games, though, so the Jets' playoff push could help them surpass the G-men in their two remaining home games. Both teams are so good that the stadium itself is hardly an advantage, but the crowds are energetic and voluminous.

2. Washinton Redskins

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    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 87,177
    Capacity: 95.1 percent
    Home record: 2-4

    Redskins fans continue to turn out in droves to watch Dan Snyder's mistakes blow up in his face. This year, though they do not technically fill FedEx Field to its preposterous capacity, they remain loud and proud of a team that gives them very little in which to take pride.

1. Dallas Cowboys

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Average attendance: 87,300
    Capacity: 109.1 percent
    Home record: 1-5

    Yes, the Cowboys reign supreme. They pack their stadium with more people, and so by selling more tickets above their official capacity, than any other team in the league. Dallas is a tough place to play, even when Dallas is not good: You have crowd noise, the general feeling of playing in a cavern and the mystique of the franchise to contend with before you even take the field.