Three of the four home teams lost in the NFL’s opening round of the playoffs, leading one to wonder what’s so special about “home field advantage” anyway. Well, not much. The late Bill Walsh used to check his teams into hotel rooms on the nights before home games, realizing that his teams would be less distracted if they could get away from their families and friends for a night. In a sport where there’s little difference between a 10-6 team and a 6-10 team, every advantage matters.
Winning at home in the NFL makes up for a lot of shortcomings, and probably masks a few as well. Green Bay, Indianapolis and Seattle were playoff teams that all failed to post winning road records this season. Only Green Bay was on the road this past weekend. Like the two other road teams advancing to next weekend’s divisional round, theirs was a happy trip home.