Road teams are 33-31 this season, continuing the disappearance of home-field advantage

Las Vegas Raiders v Los Angeles Chargers
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Home-field advantage no longer exists in the NFL.

Road teams have a winning record this season, going 33-31 through four weeks.

And that’s no mere blip. Last year, for the first time in NFL history, home teams had a losing record: Of the 256 games in the 2020 regular season, home teams won 127, lost 128, and one was tied. And in 2019, home teams went just 132-123-1, which was the worst cumulative record for home teams since the advent of the 16-game schedule — until home teams did even worse in 2020 and are now on pace to do worse still in 2021.

Gamblers and sports books were among the first to notice the decline in home-field advantage. For decades, the rule of thumb was that home-field advantage was worth about three points on the Vegas line. In the last couple years, that shifted to two points. It’s now around one point.

NFL teams seem to be getting better at silent counts to negate crowd noise, and better at finding ways to travel comfortably and achieve peak performance whether they’re at home or on the road. In today’s NFL, there’s no real difference to playing at home.

9 responses to “Road teams are 33-31 this season, continuing the disappearance of home-field advantage

  1. Many years ago Psychology Today magazine did a study of the postseason results for four major professional sports; football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. Their study concluded the home team won 51% of the time. It’s not a huge difference, but a difference.

  2. So does this take into account poor teams versus good teams? It would seem that good teams win at home and on the road versus poor teams who lose both. It’s a truly poor stat by itself. Show home records for teams that have a winning record. Putting this stupid stat out there cart blanche is meaningless as another posted suggested. Home field is real always has been always will be. But poor teams are also real which screws the stats.

  3. Beefed up security for refs
    In the past they would lean towards home team calls to ensure safety as they left the game

  4. It may be true across the league – and I know every fan is going to think that their stadium is the exception – but I think there are some exceptions. E.g.

    Minnesota
    Seattle
    Arizona

    I think some other teams claim heritage to a home field advantage that no longer exists. E.g. Detroit, Cleveland, Green Bay, Pittsburgh.

    Some new stadiums are designed to amplify crowd noise and it absolutely can be distracting. Even if we assume that the silent count is 100% effective 100% of the time, there’s all sorts of communications between snaps that can be encumbered by a loud stadium.

    So overall it may be true, but some places still enjoy a significant home-field bump, IMHO.

  5. Does this include Denver? Decades ago a study showed that teams at the Mile High City had the greatest home field advantage of any city in the country in the major sports, baseball, basketball and football.

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