Cleveland Browns coach Kevin Stefanski wanted fans to be in their seats by kickoff for Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans. “You make a difference, and I really believe that,” Stefanski said Friday. “Home-field advantage in the NFL is just such a big deal.”
But is home-field advantage really a big deal?
Players and coaches would say yes. The endless cliches we hear in interviews almost always mention something about the fans. How the fans gave the team energy. How players are out there for the fans. How the crowd really helped through some adversity.
While NFL players aren’t quite as mechanical as NASCAR drivers rattling off sponsors, the fans get a positive mention from the home team and even sometimes from the road team. Home-field advantage seems to matter because the players and coaches say it matters.
We’re not between the lines on Sundays. We’re in the book, on the couch, on the go or simply somewhere else watching the game as opposed to playing in it. It has been standard operating procedure to just slap three points on the home team when making numbers and call it a day.