Sporting Charts

Power of Home Field Advantage in the NFL

Home field advantage is well known in the world of sports, where teams benefit from playing on a field they know and in front of a supportive fan base. But how much of a benefit is this to teams? 

We decided to look at the impact of home field advantage on Regular Season NFL games since 1990 and how this trend has evolved.

Below is a table of each NFL Regular Season since 1990, with the total number of games, total number of games won by the home team and the resulting winning percentage of home teams:
 

Year Games Home Wins Home Win %
1990 224 131 0.585
1991 224 132 0.589
1992 224 136 0.607
1993 224 123 0.549
1994 224 128 0.571
1995 240 144 0.600
1996 240 149 0.621
1997 240 145 0.604
1998 240 151 0.629
1999 248 148 0.597
2000 248 138 0.556
2001 248 136 0.548
2002 256 148 0.578
2003 256 157 0.613
2004 256 145 0.566
2005 256 151 0.590
2006 256 136 0.531
2007 256 147 0.574
2008 256 146 0.570
2009 256 146 0.570
2010 256 143 0.559
2011 256 145 0.566
Total 5,384 3,125 0.580


A total of 5,384 regular season games have been since 1990. Over these games, the home team has won a total of 3,125 games, which equates to a home winning percentage of 58.0%. It's clear that in the NFL that there is something to home field advantage.

The peak season for home games won occurred in 1998, when home teams won 62.9% of their games. The weakest season for home games won occurred in 2006, when home teams only won 53.1% of their games.

Here is the trend over the last 22 seasons in chart format:
 


Prior to 2007, there were some significant fluctuations in the Home Win % from one year to the next. Over the past five seasons, the variation has decreased with the win % fluctuating between 55.9% and 57.4%, a 1.5% band - this could be a result of a settling in by teams to the eight division format.

Do the results surprise you? Have an explanation for the last five year trend? Let us know in the comments below!


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