Early last season Tom Brady got into trouble with the Patriots front office by asking fans to get “lubed up” before New England’s game against San Diego.
“Start drinking early and get rowdy,” Brady implored, hoping to morph the notoriously quiet Gillette Stadium into a boiling cauldron of noise. Within an hour, the Pats’ frantic P.R. Dept. preposterously claimed that Brady was actually imploring fans to drink water and stay hydrated on a 60-degree day at the park.
Brady’s point was made, though. He knew that the often morgue-like Gillette is nowhere near as rowdy as some other stadiums.
Here are what we feel are the top four home-field edges, based on value to the spread more than the traditional three points that books give.
CENTURYLINK FIELD, Seattle (Extra 2 points) – Who knew that the granola-chewing fans in the Northwest could make so much noise?
“The Seahawks have one of the strongest home-field edges in the league,” notes Covers Expert Sean Murphy. “They haven’t won recently, but that looks like it’s changing this year.”
Covers Expert Art Aronson says that the former Qwest Field “can feel like an earthquake” when the Seahawks score. Aronson points to Seattle’s ability to nail the number at home (13 covers in the last 19 home games, including four in a row) as evidence. Visiting teams almost always have more false start penalties.
LINCOLN FINANCIAL FIELD, Philadelphia (Extra 1 point) – Fans run this place. For some reason bosses there wanted to ban cheesesteaks when the stadium opened, but that lasted just one week after a fan rebellion.
The crowds haven’t been as intimidating since Philly lost its final three home games in 2010 and went just 3-5 at the Linc last season, but a good start this season has the place jumping again.
SPORTS AUTHORITY FIELD AT MILE HIGH (Extra 1 point) – Formerly Invesco, formerly Mile High, this place has more names than the guy who made that anti-Muslim movie.
Whether playing one mile above sea level is a disadvantage for teams not used to it is either significant or BS, but the Broncos love to say that they have an oxygen advantage. Now that Peyton Manning is on board, they do.
LAMBEAU FIELD, Green Bay (Extra 1/2 point) – So authorities in Wisconsin are trying to figure out if a new Wisconsin law actually allows fans to go to Packers games while packing heat. Replacements refs, tanked fans with weapons. The ultimate home-field advantage, no?
Aronson cautions that Green Bay’s frigid weather makes the Pack a better bet later in the year than in September and October.