What is Home Field Advantage in Football?
Home field advantage in football refers to a stadium atmosphere that benefits the home team while making it more difficult for the visiting team to succeed. There are many factors that contribute to a hostile environment for the away team, all of which make it hard to maintain focus and perform well.
Listed below are some factors that contribute to the home team having a competitive advantage over the visiting team:
- Crowd Noise - this makes it difficult for the visiting team to stay focused, as well as communicate verbally in the huddle and before each snap
- High levels of crowd noise tend to makes it seem as though the visiting team is battling an extra obstacle in addition to the opposing team
- Preferential Treatment from Referees - officials subconsciously call penalties favoring the home team to comply with the crowd's desires
- Fan influence - hecklers can get into visiting players' heads, causing them to make costly mental mistakes
- Lack of Familiarity - some players find comfort in the friendly confines of their own city, making it difficult to perform well when traveling to another venue.
- Environmental Conditions - teams accustomed to playing in warm-weather climates may find it difficult to adjust to harsh, cold weather
Influence on Win-Loss Records
Numerical evidence suggests that home field advantage helps the host team win more games. Since the NFL began gathering data in 1966, the home team has emerged victorious in 57.3% of all games played. While this figure fails to account for instances in which the home team was simply more talented than the away team and likely would've won regardless of where the game was being played, it nonetheless shows that home field advantage does impact win-loss records.