Home field advantage in football refers to the benefit the home team has over the visiting team. Playing at home can have big implications in football especially when it comes to crowd noise.
Home-field advantage in football also plays a large role in the playoffs. The home team in the playoffs is going to be decided based on regular-season seeding.
Whichever team has a higher seed due to their play in the regular season will get to play at home.
The only game in which the higher seed doesn’t play at home in the playoffs is the Superbowl.
For example, a team that clinches their conference is going to play at their home field for the majority of the playoffs.
During the regular season, each team will play either eight or nine home games. Since there are seventeen games in a season teams are not able to play an equal amount of home and away games.
Why is playing at home an advantage in football?
Now that you know what home-field advantage means in football you may be wondering why playing at home is such a big deal.
Below we will break down some of the major reasons why playing at home is so important.
One of the main reasons why home-field advantage matter in football is because of crowd noise.
In football, the crowd can greatly affect the offensive player’s ability to communicate with each other.
On each offensive play, the quarterback is going to have to communicate with his teammates to tell them the play.
Quarterbacks will receive the play through a radio in their helmet that allows the coaching staff to speak to them. In loud environments, the crowd can affect the ability of the quarterback to hear these plays.
You will notice this during a game when a quarterback is placing his hands over the top of the ear holes in his helmet.
The quarterback will then relay this play to his teammates in the huddle. If his teammates cannot hear the play the offense will be forced to call a timeout.
The crowd noise from home field advantage can also affect the quarterback’s ability to call an audible. If the QB wants more pass protection or wants to change the play altogether he can usually do this via an audible.
But when playing away the fans will look to be as loud as possible when the offense on the field.
This makes verbal cues hard to hear meaning quarterbacks are sometimes forced to roll with the play that was called.
Another reason that playing at home is an advantage in football is due to travel.
NFL teams are located all over the United States meaning players are usually taking long flights in order to get to away games.
The flight itself can often throw players off making it difficult for them to reach their regular energy levels.
Teams will usually fly in a full day ahead of time but this is still not always enough time to get back to normal before the game.
Another reason why playing at home is an advantage for football players is due to the comfort it provides.
When playing a home football game you are going to wake up in your own bed and eat breakfast in your kitchen.
You will then take your usual commute to the stadium and start your game day routine.
For away players, this is a very different experience. You are going to wake up in a hotel room you are often sharing with another player.
Then you will eat at the hotel and take a team bus to get to the stadium.
At the stadium itself, the away locker rooms are going to be noticeably smaller than the home locker rooms.
All these little inconveniences add up and can make playing an away game much more difficult.
If you enjoyed this guide about home field advantage and want to learn more about football terminology check out our guide to how wide a football field is or learn what field position is.