The Bears Have The Best Home Field Advantage Statistically
The numbers don't lie. Soldier Field is an excellent place to call home.
Bear fans at Soldier Filed have gotten kind of a bad rap the past few years. A lot of it stemmed from this interview from Jay Cutler.
Jay is pleading with the fans to quiet down when the Bears are on offense. It might be the fact that before Jay Cutler, Bear fans had never really ever seen a professional quarterback so they didn't know the proper etiquette. Whatever the reason, I always thought that the "home field advantage" the Soldier Field afforded was negligible at best.
Well, according to this article from The Athletic, I was TOTALLY wrong.
Sheil Kapadia used a metric called DVOA to measure how much teams benefitted from playing at home. You can click on the link for the full description of DVOA but basically, it compares every play in a game to an "average" situation in an "average" NFL game. It's dorky and kind of math-heavy but it's a pretty reliable metric.
After they crunched the numbers where did the Bears rank?
Here's what they had to say about Soldier Field.
No team has seen a bigger difference (31.64 percent) in its home and road performance over the past three seasons. Even in 2016 and 2017, when the Bears were bad, they were significantly better at home than they were on the road. Last year, during their 12-4 campaign, they were the second-best performing team at home behind only the Patriots. As for their defense specifically, it wasn’t quite as impressive on the road but was still very good. The Bears ranked first in defensive DVOA at home and second in defensive DVOA on the road in 2018.
The Packers did alright, rounding out the top ten:
10. Green Bay
For Green Bay, the home-field advantage has been all about defense. Only the Bucs have experienced a bigger bump defensively at home than the Packers. But Green Bay has experienced no such advantage on offense. In fact, the Packers are one of seven teams that have posted a better offensive DVOA on the road.
The Vikings were right after that at 14:
The big difference for Minnesota has been on defense. The Vikings have gotten the fourth-biggest defensive bump at home over the past three seasons. Minnesota’s offense, however, has seen a different story. The Vikings have one of seven offenses that have been slightly better on the road than at home since 2016.
It's not all good news for the NFC North though. The Lions have only the Chiefs to thank for not landing at the bottom of the rankings:
Like the Colts and the Saints, they have been better on the road. The Lions rank 28th in home DVOA over the past three seasons. They are 13th in road DVOA over that span. The difference has been on offense; only the Chiefs have seen a wider gap in terms of their offensive performance on the road being better than at home. Last year, the Lions saw the biggest overall bump when playing on the road, improving their average DVOA by 32.38 percent when playing away from home. They ranked 31st in home DVOA and 10th in road DVOA.
The top ten looks like this:
Keep it up Bear fans. This could be a special year.