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Why do some NFL stadiums give their home team an edge?

Sports Reports
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15min read
Unique Nfl Stadiums Dallas Cowboys

As the NFL’s 102nd season kicks off, we wanted to know if and why home-field advantage really exists. So we examined interesting features of 12 of the NFL’s most unique stadiums to see what sets them apart from the competition.

Now, let’s see the results:

  • $5.5 billion SoFi Stadium ranks as world’s most expensive sports venue
  • Green Bay Packers fans face a 30 year wait for season tickets, the longest in the NFL
  • Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium holds the Guinness World Record for loudest stadium
  • Attending home games at Las Vegas Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium costs more than any other NFL venue
  • Beast Quake: Seattle Seahawks’ 12th Man fan base registers magnitude-2 earthquake
  • Rocky mountain high: Denver Broncos play at the league’s highest altitude
  • Teams visiting New England’s Gillette Stadium face the NFL’s winningest squad at home
  • Steelers sell over 1 million Terrible Towels at riverfront Heinz Field on the road to a Super Bowl win
  • New York’s MetLife stadium seats the most in the NFL
  • Cincinnati Bengals offer fans the cheapest gameday experience in NFL
  • Not so fun in the sun: With temperatures reaching over 90 degrees, Miami Dolphins play in league’s hottest stadium
  • Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium sets record for NFL game attendance

$5.5 billion SoFi Stadium ranks as world’s most expensive sports venue

With an eye-watering price tag of $5.5 billion, you could build 649 Lambeau Fields for the cost of one SoFi stadium when adjusted for inflation. Opening in 2020, the new shared home of the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams is the world’s most expensive stadium – and it’s not even close. Second place goes to Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium which also opened in 2020, costing a mere $1.9 billion. Among a slew of outlandish features, SoFi Stadium sports an ovular, double-sided 4K HDR video board named “the Oculus.” The first of its kind, this jumbotron weighs in at a staggering 2.2 million pounds with a colossal viewing area of 70,000 square feet. 

A victim of the COVID-19 pandemic, SoFi stadium went without fans in the stands for the 2020 season. Still, its Rams finished the season 6-2 (.750) at home, including impressive wins over the Eagles and Patriots. Their stadium-mates, the Chargers, finished 2020 with a less stellar 4-4 (.500) home record. Both teams hope that young talent and a new stadium will help propel them back into the playoffs. When fans return to the stadium for the 2021 campaigns, they’ll enjoy the luxury of cheering for their favorite team in the most over-the-top sports venue on earth.

Stadiums Image Half Sofi
Stadiums Image Half Lambeaufield

Green Bay packers fans face 30 year wait for season tickets, longest in NFL

Despite occupying one of the league’s largest stadiums, diehard Cheeseheads face the league’s longest wait to get their hands on season tickets. The hallowed grounds of Lambeau Field have a waiting list for season tickets that’s filled with the names of over 137,000 eager fans. That means if you were to sign up today, it could be 30 years or more until you have the chance to buy your own season tickets. 

Of course, having such a fiercely loyal fanbase does have its advantages. Despite often playing in temperatures well below freezing, the Packers boast one of the league’s best home records over the last decade. Since 2011, a home record of 61-17-2 (.705) ranks Green Bay among the league’s elite franchises. With future hall-of-famer Aaron Rodgers back under center, it seems likely the Pack can continue their winning ways in 2021 and beyond.

Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium holds the Guinness World Record for loudest stadium

No stadium in sports is more deafening than Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs. In fact, Broncos quarterback John Elway once complained about the noise to a referee right in the middle of a game. Elway claimed the exuberant fans were too loud and that he couldn’t call a play. The referee warned the crowd that if they didn’t quiet down, Kansas City would be charged a timeout. To which the loyal fans responded by reigning boos even louder than before. 

Since 2011, the Chiefs have laid claim to an impressive home record of 51-29 (.638) with seven playoff appearances. Led by star quarterback Patrick Mahomes and veteran coach Andy Reid, Kansas City has enjoyed recent success both at home and on the road. In 2019, Mahomes led the franchise to its first Super Bowl victory since 1969. After signing a 10-year contract extension worth up to $503 million in 2020, Mahomes led the Chiefs to a second straight Super Bowl appearance.

Stadiums Image Half Arrowhead Stadium
Stadiums Image Half At&t Stadium

Attending home games at Las Vegas Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium costs more than any other NFL venue

Brand new in 2020, Allegiant Stadium offers fans a unique gameday experience just steps from the famed Las Vegas Strip. But the glitz and glamour of Vegas come at a price. According to the Fan Cost Index, attending a game at the Raiders’ new home field will set a family of four back a whopping $783.86. This includes four tickets ($153.47), parking ($50), two draft beers ($13), two soft drinks ($6), four hotdogs ($7.50), and two team hats ($19.99).

Largely a tourist destination, Las Vegas has never been a city to house a loyal sports fanbase. But the Raiders hoped to change that with their 2020 move from Oakland. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic derailed those plans and the team was forced to play its inaugural Las Vegas season without fans in attendance. The storied Raiders franchise hopes to improve its 2-6 2020 home record when Raider Nation is finally allowed through doors.

Beast quake: Seattle Seahawks’ 12th Man fanbase registers magnitude-2 earthquake

Although no longer the record holder for loudest stadium, Seattle’s Lumen Field is so loud that it once caused a magnitude-2 earthquake to register on nearby equipment. In 2013, an official from Guinness World Records registered the crowd noise at an ear-shattering 137.6 decibels – a record at the time. The electric cheering from the Seattle faithful is enhanced by the stadium’s unique design. A partial roof and well-positioned seating decks trap and amplify the crowd noise, then project it back onto the field.

The raucous crowds, however, are more than just a mere novelty. The 12s have actually given their Seahawks a measured advantage over visiting opponents. Throughout the years, visitors to Lumen Field have committed false-start and delay of game penalties at a rate among the highest anywhere in the league.

Despite a Super Bowl win in 2013 and appearance in 2014, the Seahawks have struggled in recent years. Even with winning records in the regular season, Seattle has exited early in the playoffs five of the last six seasons. Following a 2020 season without fans in attendance, the team hopes the 12s will return refreshed and ready to make some noise!

Stadiums Image Half Lumen Field
Stadiums Image Half Empower Field At Mile High

Rocky mountain high: Denver Broncos play at league’s highest altitude

We know that elite athletes often rely on high altitude training to take their stamina to the next level. It’s proven that regular training at such high elevations causes the body to produce more red blood cells, which can lead to improved heart function, higher muscle performance, and shorter recovery times. So, does training in these conditions give the Denver Broncos an advantage when playing on their home turf?

When visiting a destination high above sea level, those of us who live back down here on earth will often notice a shortness of breath we wouldn’t normally experience. But since the opening of Empower Field at Mile High in 2001, the Broncos have posted a home record of 101-59 (.631). While impressive, it doesn’t reflect the massive advantage one might assume Denver would enjoy at home. 

Questionable roster moves and changes in management have left the future of Broncos in a state of uncertainty. We’ll have to watch and see if coach Vic Fangio can turn around last season’s poor 5-11 (.313) record and lead the Broncos back to the postseason. 

Teams visiting New England’s Gillette Stadium face the NFL’s winningest squad at home

Guests of Foxboro’s Gillette Stadium are welcomed by a 12-story high lighthouse commemorating the maritime heritage of the New England coast. But getting a seat in this football haven is no easy task. The hometown New England Patriots have sold out every home game since the stadium opened in 2002. If you are able to count yourself among the lucky few visiting fans to score tickets to a game at Gillette, be sure to bundle up. Depending on the time of year, you may find yourself exposed to the elements right in the middle of a New England winter. The cold, however, may work to the advantage of the home team.

It’s no secret the Patriot Way has been a success. Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots have won a record six Super Bowls since the stadium opened. In the same time, they’ve amassed a league best 228-76 (.750) overall record and an even more impressive 126-26 (.829) resume at home. But with the departure of star quarterback Tom Brady at the end of the 2019 season, the Patriots finished 2020 an underwhelming 7-9 (.438). However, this season marks a fresh start for the boys from Boston. Under the tutelage of coach Belichick, rookie quarterback Mac Jones hopes to lead the Pats back to their former glory.

Stadiums Image Half Gillette Stadium
Stadiums Image Half Heinz Field

Steelers sell over 1 million Terrible Towels at riverfront Heinz Field on the road to a Super Bowl win

At the confluence of the mighty Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela rivers sits the home of the six-time Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Famous for its appearance in 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises, Heinz Field has been home to some of the most memorable football battles in NFL history. Faithful fans of the Steelers wave rally towels, dubbed “Terrible Towels”, above their heads to show support during crucial moments. On their way to a Super Bowl championship in 2005, the Steelers sold over 1 million towels in just one season. 

And it does seem there could be a bit of magic in those yellow towels. Since 2011, the Steelers have finished 58-22 (.725) at home, ranking them fourth in the NFL. In the same time period, Pittsburgh can also claim a healthy 6 playoff appearances. The Steelers started 2020 an impressive 11-0, but finished slow and fell in the first round of the playoffs. Veteran QB Ben Roethlisberger is in the Twilight of his career, but has still shown glimpses of the Super Bowl champion he is.

New York’s MetLife Stadium seats most in NFL

The home to both the New York Giants and New York Jets isn’t in New York at all. It’s just across the Hudson River in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Part of the historic Meadowlands Sports Complex, Giants and Jets fans flock to MetLife Stadium every Sunday during football season. But it’s not only football fans who fill these seats. MetLife played host to Super Bowl XLVII and has multiple WrestleManias on its resume. But seating the most fans in the NFL doesn’t necessarily equal success. 

Neither the Jets, nor the Giants have enjoyed winning records at home since the opening of MetLife Stadium in 2010. The Jets have posted a home record of 42-46 (.477) and the Giants 41-47 (.466). Despite poor showings at home in the regular season since the opening of the stadium, the Giants have enjoyed moments of success including a Super Bowl win at the end of the 2011 season behind MVP Eli Manning. Unfortunately for fans, questionable draft choices and recent changes in leadership have left the future success of New York’s football teams in doubt.

Stadiums Image Half Metlife Stadium
Stadiums Image Half Paul Brown Stadium

Cincinnati Bengals offer fans cheapest gameday experience in NFL

Families looking to attend an NFL game on a budget should look no further than Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium. According to the Fan Cost Index, a family of four can attend a game at the home of the Bengals for a league low $424.28. This includes four tickets ($79.37), parking ($10.82), two draft beers ($5), two soft drinks ($6), four hotdogs ($5.50), and two team hats ($19.99). That’s a bit more than half the price it would cost at the league’s most expensive venue.

However, there is some bad news for budget-conscious fans. In the case of the Bengals, the old adage “You get what you pay for” holds true. Although the team has achieved a winning home record of 44-34-2 (.563) since 2011, their last playoff win was way back in 1991. A mid-season injury to quarterback Joe Burrow left the Bengals’ 2020 season in shambles. We’ll see if he can return to his previous form when he makes his debut in the season opener against the Vikings

Not so fun in the sun: with temperatures reaching over 90 degrees, Miami Dolphins play in the league’s hottest stadium

When most of us think of Miami, we imagine sun, sand, and a cold drink in our hand. We don’t picture running around a football field in full gear. But that’s exactly what the Miami Dolphins do starting each July at training camp and continuing throughout the season. Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium measures as the hottest in the league and the home team has figured out a clever advantage. Although the Dolphins will never admit it, Hard Rock Stadium was designed to keep things a bit more comfortable for the home team. The positioning of the team sidelines is such that the Dolphins are under the shade for daytime games, while the visiting team is subject to the oppressive Florida sun. 

Being adjusted to the heat and humidity of south Florida hasn’t given the Dolphins the statistical advantage one might assume. Since 2011, the Fins are just 44-36 (.550) at home with their last playoff win coming in 2000. The Dolphins turned around a lackluster 2019 season record of 5-11 (.313) in 2020 with a much improved 10-6 (.625) showing. With first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa taking the snaps, it looks like the Dolphins may have a bright future ahead.

Stadiums Image Half Hard Rock Stadium
Stadiums Image Half At&t Stadium

Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium sets record for NFL game attendance

The long-time vision of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones finally came to fruition with the 2009 opening of AT&T Stadium. With seating for 80,000, the stadium features additional standing room for an additional 25,000 fans. This unique setup allowed the Cowboys to set the NFL record for attendance at a regular season game with 105,121 fans in the stadium during a 2009 game against the New York Giants. Jerry World, as it’s nicknamed, also features an HDTV screen which was the largest on earth at the time of its installation in 2009. 

Unfortunately for America’s Team, having over 100,000 fans in attendance each week hasn’t led to success on the field. Since the inaugural 2009 season at AT&T Stadium, the Cowboys have posted a modest home record of 53-43 (.552) with just two playoff wins. As talented players like Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot grow older, many argue owner Jerry Jones, 78, should leave the daily operation of the team to a younger general manager with a new vision. However, Jones remains the team’s owner, president, and general manager.

So what do you think? 

Does a multi-billion dollar stadium intimidate the visiting team? Does playing at home in front of the league’s biggest crowd give you an edge? Or does practicing an entire mile above sea level mean you can outplay your opponent? We’ll all have to watch and see as the NFL’s 102nd season plays on. Until then, you can make your bets at the best online gambling sites or check out our US gambling statistics

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