Let’s assume there will be no crowds when the NFL starts back up again. Let’s also play out the hypothetical of all the stadiums being without fans for the entire season. Essentially eliminating the home field advantage for every team. Let’s look at this for a minute.
NFL fields all have the exact same dimensions. All teams have practice facilities they use during the week. So teams essentially use their home stadiums only on game days. That means you can basically throw the advantage of familiarity out the door as well. The only element left to consider from an advantage standpoint is the cold weather teams playing in outdoor stadiums. Teams like Green Bay, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh immediately come to mind, but even so, the advantage is minimal without capacity crowds.
Here are some teams that will be affected the most (one way or another) by having home games with no fans:
Seattle Seahawks: There’s a reason they call it the 12th man. Having witnessed CenturyLink Field in person, rooting for the other side, I know it’s a daunting task for any visiting team to fight through that crowd noise. The Seahawks are 60-28 at home since 2010. Thanks 6th best in the league during that stretch. There’s no doubt they will be one of the teams hurt the most by having limited or no fans in the stadium.
Green Bay Packers: Green Bay is a city that literally shuts down during games and crams its entire population into Lambeau Field to throw their support toward their team. And the Packers are the only professional sports franchise in America where the city actually owns the team. It’s a very passionate, and often idiotic, fan base. You can’t tell me when all those fans are suddenly forced to watch the games from home that it won’t have an effect on the team’s performance. Combine that with the relief opponents who play there every year (Lions, Vikings, Bears) will feel after stepping on the field without having to deal with all that congested hostility this time around, and it all puts the Packers at an extreme disadvantage this season.
Denver Broncos: I don’t care about the Broncos. Not since Kolter ‘K-dog Knut’ and his foofusness have I given a shit about anything they’ve done. They’ve only been relevant in season’s where they have had QB’s named Manning and Elway taking the snaps. Any other year with any other QB they’ve been irrelevant, and sometimes a laughing stock. Regardless, they’ll still have a slight home field advantage with all that altitude other teams have to come in and adjust to.
Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins: Both of these teams will have huge home field advantages this year not having crowds show up. They both have fan bases that’ve been disgusted with their owners for decades, and stadiums that have sold at least half of their capacity tickets to the visiting team fans for several years now. In short, their home field advantage has been none existent. For these two teams an empty stadium will a welcome site.
Dome Teams: Similar to the Packers, the New Orleans community loves their Saints. They pack that dome stadium to the max on game days and get loud. The Vikings fans do the SKOL chant. In general, dome stadiums channel noise and get louder than outdoor facilities. Take that away from the teams that have dome stadiums, in general, they loose that advantage. No more standing crowds filling up the dome vocally on a big 3rd down. No more causing visiting teams to false start or use their timeouts. The too much noise, causing confusion at the line of scrimmage and not allowing opposing QB’s to audible, is no longer a factor.
Philadelphia Eagles: If you’re an Eagles fan, go fuck yourself. Next Sentence…Go fuck yourself again. Can’t wait to see how these mother fucking Philly fans react to Black Lives Matter. The reaction from the public to all these asshole fans used to be ‘oh that’s just Philly fans, it’s okay, they’re just crazy, they once booed Santa Claus’…Fuck You. It’s not cute. It’s not mystical. It’s not funny. They literally chant “WE HATE N*****s!” in the parking lot. Are we gonna give all these mother fuckers a pass now? I fucking hope not. Fuck You. I remember when I was in college, I was visiting a house in Bozeman, Montana, where four or five of my friends lived at the time. It must have been around October of 2004 when the Red Sox had just come back from being down 3-0 in a series to beat the Yankees 4-3. There was a Yankees fan in the house that night. We were all drinking and having a good time. Then all of a sudden people started giving him shit about the Yankees blowing a 3-0 lead. He listened in good spirits and took his verbal beating for a while, then the young man, who was getting shit from everyone for an hour or so, finally stood up and said “If you take a 27 question test, miss the first 26 but get the 27th right, does that mean you’re smart”? Nope. Not at all. Thanks for putting that in perspective. And that sums up the Philadelphia Eagles and their fans. They’ve won one super bowl. One. In a million fucking years. The rest of the time these Philly fans sit out in the parking lot ‘tailgating’. That’s if the definition of tailgating includes verbally abusing and physically assaulting fans of opposing teams. Both teams playing in Philadelphia on game day figure to have an advantage with all those fans removed. And I hope after all this is over and things go back to normal they figure out a way to keep most of those asshole fans out for good.