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C-Mac
10-20-2005, 08:44 AM
RAND: Let's not get carried away
Oct 20, 2005, 7:05:39 AM by Jonathan Rand - FAQ

You might’ve noticed that the Chiefs are going into Miami as underdogs on Sunday. If you look at the teams’ records, that might surprise you. If you believe in the absolute power of home field advantage, that shouldn’t surprise you at all.

By the time the Chiefs, 3-2, and Dolphins, 2-3, kick off Sunday, we’ll all know that the Chiefs have lost their last six games in Miami. And that the Dolphins have won both home games, including a demolition of the Broncos. And if you check the national weather, you’ll see that it’s still summer in Miami, which traditionally makes the Dolphins extra tough at home early in the season.

You’d be crazy to dismiss the importance of home field advantage. Only five NFL teams boast winning road records over the past 10 regular seasons, with the Titans’ .563 winning percentage leading the pack. But 26 teams have .500 or better home records during that stretch, with the Packers tops at .813.

Moreover, road teams are getting waxed this season. They’ve won just 32 of 88 games, a .364 winning percentage. So it’s no secret that travel, unfamiliar surroundings and hostile crowd noise can cause problems for visiting teams. But there really is a limit to the power of home field advantage, so let’s not get carried away.

The Chiefs’ six-game losing streak in Miami is even longer than their five-game losing streak at Denver. The Chiefs’ problems in Denver are undeniably relevant because they play there every year. But they haven’t played in Miami for eight years, which, in the era of free agency, represents a couple of NFL generations.

Since 1997, the Chiefs have had three head coaches and the Dolphins have had four. So this streak lacks relevance now. Besides, it’s not as if the Chiefs were losing to shabby teams. The Dolphins made four playoff trips and were no worse than 9-7 during the five seasons in which they put together six straight home wins over the Chiefs. In the only matchup involving Dick Vermeil, the Chiefs beat the Dolphins 48-30 three years ago.

The Dolphins’ 53-27 regular-season home record over the past decade is the league’s eighth best. But the Chiefs home record, 58-22, ranks third, behind Green Bay, 65-15, and Denver, 62-18. Yet do we expect every opponent to walk in to Arrowhead, look at all the red shirts, listen to the crowd noise and meekly curl up into a ball? Obviously not.

The Chiefs’ recent home successes didn’t stop the Eagles from roaring back from a 24-6 deficit to embarrass the Chiefs 18 days ago. The Chiefs’ 8-0 home records were devalued by home playoff games to the Colts in 1995, the Broncos in 1997 and the Colts in 2003. The moral of this story is that good teams don’t wilt on the road.

Teams that develop a home field mystique often take a perceived advantage — like the altitude in Denver, wind chill of Green Bay and domed stadium in Minnesota – and turn them into huge advantages by putting a lot of talent on the field. Take away the talent and you take away most of the advantage.

Remember the supposed advantage of “Bears Weather,” when Mike Ditka’s teams were riding high in Chicago? With their talent dropping off, the Bears stand just 40-40 at home over the past decade. And we won’t hear much moaning and groaning this season from opponents headed for Green Bay and Minnesota, where the home teams stand 1-4.

Which brings us back to Miami. The Dolphins are fighting to regain their feet under first-year coach Nick Saban. The Chiefs are trying to make a playoff run in what’s supposed to be the climactic year of the Vermeil regime. If they’re as good as they expect they are, the Chiefs must be good enough to beat these Dolphins any time and any place.

Rain Man
10-20-2005, 09:14 AM
Home field or not, I can't believe that we're underdogs in this game. Their QB is Gus Frerotte, for crying out loud. Can anyone even name one of their offensive linemen?

shakesthecat
10-20-2005, 09:18 AM
Vern Den Herder?

Rain Man
10-20-2005, 09:20 AM
I think he plays defense. He's probably lost a step or two by now, too.

TEX
10-20-2005, 10:16 AM
Home field or not, I can't believe that we're underdogs in this game. Their QB is Gus Frerotte, for crying out loud. Can anyone even name one of their offensive linemen?

Shoot, I can. WE absolutely $UCK on the road. :shake:

MichaelH
10-20-2005, 11:07 AM
Home field or not, I can't believe that we're underdogs in this game. Their QB is Gus Frerotte, for crying out loud. Can anyone even name one of their offensive linemen?


Gus Frerotte and whatever WR they have will look like Montana and Rice whenever and wherever the game is played. :deevee:

HemiEd
10-20-2005, 11:41 AM
Can anyone even name one of their offensive linemen?


Norm Evans, Bob Kuechenberg, Jim Langer, Larry Little and Wayne Moore

go bowe
10-20-2005, 11:55 AM
did you look that up, or do you just have the rosters of every nfl team in your head?

HemiEd
10-20-2005, 01:00 PM
did you look that up, or do you just have the rosters of every nfl team in your head?

That was the undefeated team of 72, they beat the Chiefs the first game of the season 20-10. :D

Oh, and I did look it up, I could not remember how to spell Kuechenberg and had forgotton about Wayne Moore. :p