The NFL and its Stadiums
We Asked Power Poll NFL.
John Facenda of NFL Films dubbed Green Bay’s Lambeau Field “the frozen tundra” back in the 1960s.
That acknowledged Green Bay’s unofficial standing as the best homefield in the NFL. Sixty years later, the frozen tundra remains king.
In this week’s NFL Power Poll, we asked our panel of former players, coaches, officials, talent evaluators, writers and broadcasters a two-pronged question regarding home fields. First, which team had the best homefield advantage in the NFL and offered up five options: Buffalo and Green Bay because of the weather, Kansas City and Seattle because of the noise and Philadelphia because of the fans. In our second question, we asked if the Super Bowl should be assigned a permanent home and, if so, offered up several options: Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans or Tampa.
There were 223 respondents and in the first question, Green Bay received 63 votes, followed by Kansas City (59), Seattle (55), Buffalo (30 and Philadelphia (8).
The voting was oh so close.
“I surprised myself by picking Kansas City,” said Jim Alexander of the Southern California News Group, “because being out here on the West Coast, I’ve seen too many instances of teams from here going into the bitter cold there and not being able to function. The noise level in KC, not to mention Mahomes and Kelce -- that’s a big edge.”
But some of the voters remembered those white Januarys of Buffalo in the 1990s.
“I’ll always argue that Buffalo does not get an opportunity to go to four straight Super Bowls if not for all those AFC championship games at home during the early 1990s,” said Nick Pugliese, the sports editor of the Palm Beach Post.
And the whiteness remains today – this time as much white noise as white snow.
“It’s not just weather for Buffalo,” said Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio. “Stadium optics are such that crowd noise truly is a factor.”
The stadium that once snow-balled Santa Claus also had its supporters.
“I thought Philadelphia gained its edge back as a dangerous place to play in the playoffs thanks to the 2017 run,” said Jeffrey Kerr of CBSSports.com. “The fan base was as loud as ever and the weather is nothing to mess with in January. When the Eagles played in the Vet, you just had a good feeling the team was going to win a playoff game there based on the fans and the elements. That’s the true definition of home=field advantage.”
Kansas City’s loud crowd isn’t always a plus for the Chiefs noted an observer from the field.
“Being here in Kansas City,” said Josh Klingler the radio sideline reporter of the Chiefs, “we’ve always felt there’s a massive home-field advantage. But I’ve heard from enough visiting players that have relished coming to Arrowhead because of the atmosphere. I’ve often wondered if it’s more energizing than intimidating for the road team.”
The Chiefs have lost recent home playoff games. So have the Packers. Which led a few of the voters to conclude homefield advantage is a myth.
“The only advantages are talent, health and coaching,” said Josh Alper of NBCSports.com. “They mitigate weather, noise and anything else that might come from playing in a specific stadium.”
In our second question, the overwhelming number of voters – 183 -- said don’t change a thing. Keep the game rotating among countless cities. The strongest support for a permanent venuey was New Orleans with 22 votes, followed by Los Angeles with four, Tampa with three and Dallas and Miami with two apiece.
“Part of the lure of the Super Bowl is the annual appearance in a different city,” said Dave Klein of e-Giants. “I wouldn’t change that.”
But some voters would like to see the rotation tightened up.
“Rotate the Super Bowl between Miami, New Orleans and Los Angeles,” said Dave Hyde, a columnist for the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
Some new cities outside of the scope of the options were offered up.
“Although I voted for no permanent home of those choices,” said Willie Ramre of the Associated Press, “but Las Vegas should be an option.”
Some voters even wanted to take the game off the mainland.
“How about the NFL build a fancy stadium in Honolulu for a permanent Super Bowl,” said Bill Huber of Packers Central. “And every beat writer with a spouse and kids who has been covering their team for, say, 16 years, gets an all-expenses-paid trip. Just a thought.”
No stadium has hosted more Super Bowls than the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans – seven. The city of New Orleans has hosted 10 Super Bowls in all, one fewer than Miami.
“The ideal home for the annual Lombardi Trophy hunt? That’s, ahem, easy,” said Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News. “It’s New Orleans, which offers the perfect cocktail of centralized area with enough hotels, tasty food and drink and unmatched culture, Southern hospitality and a grand enough venue…as long as they can avoid an in-game blackout.”
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About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of significant key players in American sports today. It's member list draws on people from media, team management, and league management. It is not a scientific survey, but the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those who know most about the sport.