Athletics News
Home Court Advantage?



Jan. 25, 2011

Home-court Advantage?
 
Here we are… in the heart of college hoops conference play and NFL playoff football and one underlying theme has stood out to me and I am wondering if you have noticed the same. What I am referring is the astonishing amount of “key” wins for road teams.
 
As I sit here watching the Steelers/Jets match up, I reflect on the path in which the Jets had to take to put them in this situation… They had to beat Indy at Indy and defeat the Patriots in New England.  Manning and Brady – beating those two future hall of famers in the same post-season let alone on the road???  I am sure at one point or another this situation was deemed statistically impossible. Guess not.
 
Same holds true for the Super Bowl bound Packers, winning last week at Atlanta and then today at Chicago.
 
Each day on my walk to the metro as I mentally prepare for another day’s work, I religiously listen to the Podcast of Colin Cowherd’s ESPN radio program The Herd.  This past Wednesday, Colin brought up this very topic about the lack of home-field advantage in the NFL.  He asked the question, “Does home field advantage mean anything in the NFL?” He noted that Tampa Bay, New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears, Pittsburgh Steelers, Eagles, Dallas, Jets, Washington and Miami ALL had better winning percentages on the road this year in the NFL.  Interestingly enough, Super Bowl bound Steelers have lost 4 AFC championship titles games at home since 1994.
 
After doing some quick Google browsing, I found an article by Berry Tramel which he states:
 
NFL road teams in the playoffs won just 26.7 percent of the time in the 1950s, 35.5 percent in the 1960s, 32.8 percent in the 1970s, 31.4 percent in the 1980s and 27 percent in the 1990s. But in the last four NFL postseasons, road teams are 18-20, almost .500. And in 2005, the Steelers won three road games to reach the Super Bowl, which they won.”
 
Oddly enough, college basketball was eerily similar this weekend…
 
We saw Louisville lose to Providence at the Duncan Donuts center, Syracuse getting routed by Villanova at the Carrier Dome, Cincinnati winning at MSG vs St. John’s and Rutgers winning at Seton Hall.  Outside of the Big East, Texas beat then undefeated Kansas at home to snap the 69 home game winning streak. 
 
Georgetown ended their Big East losing by winning two challenging ROAD games, defeating Rutgers and Seton Hall.
 
Regardless if these road wins listed above are just a coincidence when comparing them to the NFL road victories, it is interesting to think that home-court/home-field advantage has begun to relinquish over time.  Especially this year in the Big East as parody among teams is more noticeable than ever.
 
Colin believes that in the NFL, road victories have become “easier” because of these factors.
 
- Technology and shrinking of stadium sizes have made fans in the NFL less relevant
 
- New stadiums are driven by corporate dollars, meaning corporate people in the seats, not your regular “Joes” who aren’t at the game to impress clients or customers
 
Now, I am not saying that Colin’s belief translates to the college hoops scene, however, with the evidence that the year of 2011 seems to favor the road team, it is even more evident all DC Hoyas fans to come out to the Verizon Center on Wednesday to ensure we do not fall victim to this “2011 home-court curse” (okay – that’s a little drastic… I know). 
 
Georgetown will need its 6th man – local DC fans and fans around the nation– to come out strong in support of the Hoyas in this classic Big East rematch against St. John’s. 
 
Wear the blue and grey proudly on Wednesday and help lead Georgetown to its 3rd straight conference victory!
 
Hoya Saxa!
 
Leslie ~ MSB 2006

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