Black and Gold X's and O's | Home Sweet Dome?

Will Osgood@@BRwillosgoodAnalyst IMay 1, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 28:  Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints waits during a timeout against the Carolina Panthers 33-31 on December 28, 2008 at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The New Orleans Saints and the State of Louisiana yesterday agreed to an agreement to keep the Saints in the Superdome until at least the year 2025.

This is great news for Saints fans for many reasons, not the least of which is knowing the Saints will remain in New Orleans and be their team. Of course, it should also help the local economy and bring stability to the organization.

But being the coach I am, I always want to know how this will help the Saints on the football field, or if it will at all.

To determine whether playing in a dome is an advantage, I took the home records of all dome teams (retractable roofs included) from 2006 to 2008.

Houston's 2008 season was not included, since they played the entire season with an open roof. And although Dallas technically had an open roof at Texas Stadium, it played like a dome stadium. 

Over the three-year period, dome teams won 114 of the 208 home games they played. The percentage is 54.8 percent.

That seems pretty low to me. But you have to remember, this includes St. Louis and Detroit, who have been really atrocious over the course of the study.

Considering those two teams combined for a home record of 13 wins and 35 losses over that span, you see the numbers obviously improve.

What does this tell us?

Even if you're horrible, a dome will not help you be any more successful than you should be.

But let's adjust the percentages for the other seven teams over that span and see how that affects percentages. Now seven teams combined for 101 wins over three seasons (doesn't count Houston's 2008 home record).

And they only had 59 losses. That is a 63.1 winning percentage.

Even within that group of teams, there are still five three-win seasons. Two of those are by Atlanta and one by New Orleans.

The Saints' home record over that time span is 13-11. Surprisingly, their best home season only led to an 8-8 record, while their .500 home record took place in the best season in franchise history.

What do all these numbers tell us?

If you compare the home records of dome teams to non-dome teams, you see the percentages are pretty similar.

The biggest point then is that teams build their rosters and style of play to where they play the majority of their home games. I say majority, because New Orleans did have to play a "home game" in London, England last season. They were able to win that game in spite of not having the "dome advantage."

From the Saints' perspective, let's hope they continue, if not improve on their 2008 home record success, and can just manage to get to about .500 on the road. If they can do that, there's a very good chance they will be able to make the playoffs.

2009 Dome Games

Week One vs. Detroit

*Week Four vs. New York Jets

Week Six vs. New York Giants

*Week Eight vs. Atlanta

*Week Nine vs. Carolina

Week 10 @ St. Louis

*Week 12 vs. New England

Week 14 @ Atlanta

*Week 15 vs. Dallas

Week 16 vs. Tampa Bay

The * is used for prime time games, since we all know the people of New Orleans are more riled up and loud as the day goes on. The fact that the Saints play five of their 10 dome games in prime time, and at home, has to be a huge advantage.

The fact that neither of the other two dome games the team plays is in prime time is also an advantage. Since the Saints really are built for the dome, it has to be an advantage that the team will only play outdoors six times during the regular season.

Next time, I hope to give you scouting reports on some of the Saints' undrafted free agents. I know I said I would do that before, but this time I really mean it.

Until then, Geaux Saints!


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